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The Incredible String Band


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Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (1965 – 1974)

The Incredible String Band was a Scottish folk group who built a popular following in the 1960s among the British counter culture, and are considered psychedelic folk music pioneers.

The Incredible String Band was formed in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK in 1965 by folk musicians Robin Williamson, Mike Heron, and Clive Palmer. They recorded their eponymous debut album in 1966, a lighthearted affair which revealed only the merest hint of the psychedelic adventures to come. After that, the band broke up. Palmer decamped for the Trail to Afghanistan and Williamson visited Morocco from where he returned laden with exotic instruments like the famous gimbri, which was, much later, eaten by rats. In 1967 Heron and Williamson recorded ‘The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion’, an audaciously eclectic mix of bookish folk music, hippy love songs and Eastern modalities. They soon became the-name-to-drop-in-interviews for luminaries such as Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan, and in their annum mirabilis of 1968 they practically defined the hippy counterculture in the extraordinary albums ‘The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter’ and ‘Wee Tam and the Big Huge’. By then the group consisted of Williamson, Heron, Rose Simpson and Licorice McKechnie - the same line up played at Woodstock in 1969 at the wrong time, having refused to play in the pouring rain the previous day (seen by manager Joe Boyd as a great missed opportunity).


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  • m_matthew

    best band ever

    9 May 6:27pm Reply
  • sunheadbowed

    Best sticking with the Beach Boys, MyHeartofHearts.

    8 Mar 11:26pm Reply
  • Schwemmi

    I know you.

    4 Mar 1:13pm Reply
  • MyHeartofHearts

    bloody awful

    21 Feb 10:24am Reply
  • Grosseteste

    Etymology isn't the same as meaning (often far from it). "Psychedelic" means "1. relating to or denoting new or altered perceptions or sensory experiences, as through the use of hallucinogenic drugs; 2. denoting any of th drugs that produce these effects; 3. *Informal* (of painting, fabric design, etc.) having the vivid colours and complex patterns popularly associated with the visual effects of psychedelic states" (Collins English Dictionary) Its use as applied to music is metaphorical and somewhat vague.

    11 Oct 2013 Reply
  • JohnnyMath

    Best. Band. Ever.

    27 Aug 2013 Reply
  • Ninetyeightytwo

    It literally translates, from Greek, as "mind manifest". Broadly speaking, any band that attempts to set a certain state of mind to music can be defined as "psychedelic".

    9 Jul 2013 Reply
  • JaredMackie

    It's more of a mental state it definitely implys a sense of weirdness and unconventionality from freedom of barriers but it usually incorporates spirituality and mysticism and metaphysics also. It's rather difficult to describe with words you'll just have to get psyched up to dig the wavelength.

    7 Jan 2013 Reply
  • frisbeer

    Does the word 'psychedelic' mean just weird, or is the weirdness specific in some way?

    24 Dec 2012 Reply
  • applepoison

    We are a Turkish folk-duo called The Hogweed And The Aderyn and a Boutique Press called Wounded Wolf. You can listen the preview from here:

    22 Dec 2012 Reply
  • JaredMackie

    three is a green crown is as psychedelic as it gets

    7 Dec 2012 Reply
  • XmarciusX

    This music is psychedelic in it's very own way, take some time, feel it.

    6 Dec 2012 Reply
  • boehj

    highly psychedelic imho. doesn't matter tho' because psychedelic or not, it's awesome raw music.

    13 Sep 2012 Reply
  • ashleyrobb

    oh hush up you twat.

    30 Aug 2012 Reply
  • boehj

    lovin' this shit.

    27 Jul 2012 Reply
  • Availen

    First girl I Loved gave me an acid flashback

    4 May 2012 Reply
  • moni_fernandez

    ur msuic is really amazing,

    6 Apr 2012 Reply
  • eSpinoza88

    I can tell by the sadness in your eyes that 5000 is the best

    5 Apr 2012 Reply
  • RussellChap

    Hippies? You betcha!

    28 Feb 2012 Reply
  • JaredMackie

    But what really blows me away about these guys, I guess, is their ability to convey happiness organically.. Like they have searched every crevasse of the human soul and found that what lies at the bottom is pure joy. No other artist in any other medium has ever made me feel that very specific way. [2]

    6 Feb 2012 Reply
  • All 226 shouts

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