27 July 2011

The Incredible String Band - 1968 - The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter

Quality: 4.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

The Incredible String Band and their producer, Joe Boyd, managed to bottle up everything that was groovy about their previous album and lace it with some prime Supercool. The sound of the recording is notably beefier and more nuanced, and both Robin Williamson and Mike Heron's songwriting and actual singing voices seem to blend together a bit better here. Although the album cover can't touch "5000 Layers of the Onion," this is arguably the sonic apex of acid folk in general.

With the musical synergy seemingly in full effect, this album lacks the ping-ponging song credits of the last album. Instead, we start off with a clutch of Williamson's songs. "Koeeoaddi There" is likely the group at its catchiest (although I doubt this could manage much radio play), although Williamson does amusingly randomly bounce around from one theme to the next, but it's balanced by the great trancey guitar work. There's some really entertaining vocal affectations and call-and-response on "The Minotaur's Song," and it ends up sounding like something the villagers from "the Wicker Man" (the Christopher Lee one, not the Nick Cage one) would have rocked through in the pub on a Saturday night. Heron clocks in with the first of the band's epic length tracks, "A Very Cellular Song" (unfortunately, I can't help but think of mobile phones here in the future). I'm not sure it really justifies its 13 minute length, but the various, droning sections and oddball sound effects remain entertaining. Personally, I dig Heron's percussive and concise "Mercy I Cry City." Williamson is a little more tentative with his epic track only clocking in at eight minutes, but his sitar infused "Three is a Green Crown" ranks as one of my favorite tracks here. "The Water Song" provides some very groovy pads of woodwinds, but do they really fit with the Incredible STRING Band?...... yes, they do.

If you have any need for some acid folk in your life, this very well be the best place to go. This is the ISB at their best as an acoustic unit. After this, they'd start mucking around with a few electric instruments, and eventually end up as more folk-rock sort of band. They never really did the electric thing as well as Dylan, however, and this album stands tall as their masterpiece.


Anonymous said...


Remus Silva said...

Magnifico Post, realmente uma obscura banda de rock.
Continue assim, abr├žos do Brasil.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention Witches Hat and Nightfall. The last one being one of my top 5 songs in the history of music. It is the feeling it transmits, amazing. Having a soft spot for sitar in my psychedelia/folk this is the one for me. Dreamy and deep lyrics at the same time with stripped but engulfing(?) music.
Another of my favorite bands that I havent seen on your site is Country Joe & The Fish, why don't run a list of their albums with comentaries, it would interest me to see what you think.
Keep up the good work, you have great taste in music!

dream blur said...

listen to easter jam by country joe n fish u will just forget everythin else .....specially the lead part ..really gets u high ....another band i wud like to mention is spirit ,,,best art rock band ever ,,,its sad tat not too many people remember them,,,,listen to tauras n compare this to stairway to heaven ,,,,

Martin said...

Working link:


Anonymous said...

New link exhausted.