Wednesday, October 04, 2006

109. The Incredible String Band - The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (1968)

Track Listing

1. Koeeoaddi There
2. Minotaur's Song
3. Witches Hat
4. Very Cellular Song
5. Mercy I Cry City
6. Waltz of the New Moon
7. Water Song
8. Three Is a Green Crown
9. Swift as the Wind
10. Nightfall


Ahhh, the British folk revival. Here we are in 1968 and Joe Boyd produced this album, like he would do with Fairport Convention and Nick Drake among others. This album is something else, quite literally, it is like nothing heard before or after. The Incredible String Band are a mix of folk, great orchestrations with all kinds of instruments and extremely weird lyrics. Copious amounts of drugs were surely used.

It is a good album, in fact each track is not composed of a single song, but sounds much more like a suite, where the song changes while staying in the same theme. The best example of this is A Very Cellular Song, which as the name says is composed by several small cells, and as the lyrics state: "An amoeba is very small".

It is an album which is extremely impressive at an intellectual level. You will hear all the changes, instruments, weird lyrics and so on and it will fascinate you. And it is great music, it is not earth-shattering however. The String Band seems to be more interested in experimentation and innovation that actual technical capacity or music itself, that doesn't however make it a bad album, not at all. It's merits are big enough to eclipse its faults. But it is not perfect.

Napster doesn't have it, so buy it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Mercy I Cry City
2. Three Is a Green Crown
3. Witche's Hat
4. Swift As The Wind

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

[The Album] It is regarded by many critics as a quintessential example of hippie culture, with its promotion of new ideas such as vegetarianism, communal living, and eastern mysticism.

The album's cover art consists of a photograph taken on Christmas Day 1967, featuring the children of Mary Stewart, a friend of Robin Williamson. The artwork has been referenced on the cover to David Keenan's book England's Hidden Reverse, and Devendra Banhart's Cripple Crow LP. The title has been referenced in the song European Oils by Destroyer.

The album was a major commercial success, staying in the UK charts for 27 weeks with a peak of #5. It has sold 800,000 copies in the UK to date. In the US, the ISB always remained underground and the album struggled to #161 on the Billboard 200.

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