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Review:Incredible String band

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GUEST,Roger the skiffler 23 Aug 00 - 05:35 AM
Easy Rider 23 Aug 00 - 01:05 PM
Llanfair 23 Aug 00 - 05:36 PM
BigDaddy 23 Aug 00 - 05:53 PM
Lanfranc 23 Aug 00 - 06:14 PM
sledge 24 Aug 00 - 11:39 AM
The Shambles 24 Aug 00 - 04:04 PM
Rana who SHOULD be working 24 Aug 00 - 05:13 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 24 Aug 00 - 08:37 PM
Marymac90 24 Aug 00 - 09:07 PM
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Subject: Review:Incredible String band
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 05:35 AM

I only saw the Williamson/Heron ISB once live in the late '60s and wasn't overly impressed except by their instrumental versatility. Other 'Catters have reported disappointed by the revived 3-piece at recent festivals. Today's London Times sems to agree.
Incredible String Band Bloomsbury Theatre, London WC1 BACK in the late 1960s the Incredible String Band made a series of whimsical and quite magical wide-eyed hippy albums with titles such as The 5000 Spirits and The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter. Using all manner of strange instruments and drawing upon a patchwork of mystical theories and esoteric philosophies, there was nobody else quite like them.

By the middle of the 1970s the high tide of hippydom had ebbed and the band broke up. Now they are back and the classic line-up of Robin Williamson and Mike Heron has been augmented by Clive Palmer, who quit in 1966, before their Top Ten album success and Woodstock slot.

But the years have not been kind to the Incredibles and this was a creaky old show. Palmer limped around the stage suffering from lumbago and strummed a lifeless banjo. Heron was even more retiring, hidden behind a keyboard which he played only sporadically. This left Williamson to carry the evening as he switched between guitar, fiddle, mandolin, whistle and flute. You could see he was trying not to hog the limelight, but the lack of energy elsewhere meant that he really couldn't do much else.

The post-ISB material was a rag-bag of banjo solos, jug band tunes and Scottish jigs. It was standard folk club fare - and deadly dull. But they knew we had come to relive past glories and they weren't going to let us down. Heron gave us Painting Box, You Know What You Could Be and This Moment, in a reedy, sometimes inaudible voice. It hardly mattered, as the entire audience sang along to every word.

Williamson has endured better. His Eyes of Fate and Waltz of the New Moon sounded as evocative as ever, although you have to wonder about lines such as "We are the table cloth and also the table". Strangely, when he first sang it back in 1968 we all thought it was perfectly normal.

Then he did his party trick, inviting ten members of the audience to accompany him on tin whistles and cow bells. The sight of a bunch of balding fiftysomethings trying to recapture the spontaneous innocence of their hippy youth was bizarre indeed.

Once upon a time such antics seemed charming. Now they appear merely sloppy and anybody under 45 who didn't share the memories would conclude that the Incredible String Band 2000 really aren't very good. But as we sung along to such memorable lines as "The angels are washing their windows above the years whose jumble sale goes spinning on below", we weren't going to let a minor detail like that spoil our fun.

NIGEL WILLIAMSON


RtS (A balding fifty-something but never a hippy!)


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Subject: RE: Review:Incredible String band
From: Easy Rider
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 01:05 PM

I remember seeing the ISG, at the Fillmore East, back in the late 60s. It was a magical, mystical show, with beautiful songs and music. It would be a shame to see them now and ruin the memory.


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Subject: RE: Review:Incredible String band
From: Llanfair
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 05:36 PM

I saw them at Cropready, and was unimpressed. They appeared to be all over the place, I lost interest very quickly! Bron.


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Subject: RE: Review:Incredible String band
From: BigDaddy
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 05:53 PM

Juat a note...when Robin Williamson was touring with John Renbourn (formerly of Pentangle, of course) a few years ago, Renbourn quipped that they were considering calling themselves "The Impenetrable String Tangle."


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Subject: RE: Review:Incredible String band
From: Lanfranc
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 06:14 PM

I think I'll keep my memories vinyl or CD, live sounds disappointing.

I'll also keep playing "Painting Box" and "The Hedgehog Song" because people like to sing along.


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Subject: RE: Review:Incredible String band
From: sledge
Date: 24 Aug 00 - 11:39 AM

Befor this years's Croredy I had not listened to them at all. So when I heard them I was not at first very impressed, however as the set went on I thought they got it together a bit and even enjoyed a few of the later numbers.

One thing however, if its that easy to get payed to play the banjo, sign me up.

Back from hols, happy Sledge


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Subject: RE: Review:Incredible String band
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Aug 00 - 04:04 PM

I think it fair to say that they were never really renown for their polished live peformance. After a break of twenty odd years, I suspect they were very un-slick.

Interested to hear from anyone else who was there.


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Subject: RE: Review:Incredible String band
From: Rana who SHOULD be working
Date: 24 Aug 00 - 05:13 PM

We were fortunate to have Robin Williamson at the Cloud a couple of years ago and I must sy he was a delightful person to meet and deal with.

50% + of the show was, in my opinion, brilliant and the rest just a tad self-indulgant, though I think half of the audience were there from the ISB days and loved it. Can't say I got into ISB (maybe a bit too young), but I liked his Merrie Band. I would certainly see Robin solo, or maybe with Renbourn, but probably not with ISB

Thread drift a bit - some years ago, but in the 80s, after seeing Captain Beefheart at the time of Doc at the Radar Station album (which was great), I bought Trout Mask Replica - I can't see why it was rated as one of his classics - maybe hearing it after its "time-context" was a mistake. I may give it another try, however.

Rana


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Subject: RE: Review:Incredible String band
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 24 Aug 00 - 08:37 PM

RtS, you definitely weren't a hippy if you can remember that you weren't.


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Subject: RE: Review:Incredible String band
From: Marymac90
Date: 24 Aug 00 - 09:07 PM

What I remember most fondly from the old Incredible String Band was their rendition of Joseph Spence's "I Bid You Goodnight". I love the way they did this great song!!!

Marymac


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