The Incredible String Band – The Incredible String Band, 2003 Sundazed Music – LP 5127
2003, Factory sealed.
Beginning as a duo in Edinburg, Scotland, acoustic musicians Robin Williamson and Clive Palmer sought to stretch the boundaries of contemporary folk music from the start. Composing much of their own material rather than relying solely on the hidebound traditional repertoire, they were spotted by Elektra Records' Joe Boyd while playing in the Crown Bar and, duly impressed, he signed them to the label. After adding additional guitarist Mike Herron, they traveled to London's Sound Techniques Studio in May 1966 to record their self-titled debut album with Boyd producing. Incredibly, they completed recording in two days, with Boyd instructing them to focus on their original compositions. The resulting album, featuring only three traditional tunes among the sixteen tracks, was quite unorthodox despite its standard instrumentation of guitars, mandolin, banjo and fiddle. It was a pioneering example of what later became know as psychedelic folk or pysch-folk and it was an instant hit with adventurous music consumers. Bob Dylan singled out Robin Williamson's "October Song" as a particular favorite and the LP won "Folk Album of the Year" in the annual Melody Maker poll. Despite the accolades, the group broke up immediately after the album's release. Heron and Williams later reunited, but this LP is the sole document of the groundbreaking original trio. How fitting, then, that Sundazed Music has preserved this piece modern music history on resonant high definition vinyl, sourcing it from the original Elektra analog tapes. And check out that resplendent recreation of the U.S. cover!