Member Since: 7/1/2005
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Other Mixes By abangaku

CD | Rock - Prog-Rock/Art Rock
CD | Theme - Narrative
CD | Mixed Genre
CD | Rock - Prog-Rock/Art Rock

I Used To Know But Now I'm Believin'

Artist Song
Incredible String Band  Nightfall 
Incredible String Band  Way Back In The 1960s 
Incredible String Band  Job's Tears 
Incredible String Band  Witches Hat 
Incredible String Band  No Sleep Blues 
Incredible String Band  The Half-Remarkable Question 
Incredible String Band  The Minotaur's Song 
Incredible String Band  The Eyes Of Fate 
Incredible String Band  Koeeoaddi There 
Incredible String Band  The Mad Hatter's Song 
Incredible String Band  The Yellow Snake 
Incredible String Band  Blues For The Muse 
Incredible String Band  Waltz Of The New Moon 
Incredible String Band  The Water Song 
Incredible String Band  First Girl I Loved 
Incredible String Band  Three Is A Green Crown 
Incredible String Band  My Name Is Death 
Incredible String Band  Ducks On A Pond 


When I think of the musical promise of the first blush of hippiedom — before the psych-rockers solidified into the structural ecstasy of prog — there are two names that come to mind, both with their roots in Scotland: Donovan and the Incredible String Band. Donovan made hippie pop like no one else did, while the Incredible String Band played experimental music that, though bizarre, still somehow managed to catch onto the spiky end of the charts.

The first I heard of the Incredible String Band was after hearing an amazing Van Morrison track titled "For Mr. Thomas", which turned out to be written by one Robin Williamson. As Neil Young had his Buffalo Springfield in the sixties and Peter Gabriel his Genesis, then, Robin Williamson had his Incredible String Band, the core of which was the duo of Williamson and the more pop-oriented Mike Heron. Heron isn't important in this mix: all eighteen tracks here are Williamson songs, and, in fact, represent every one of Robin's contributions to three consecutive ISB albums: The 5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion (1967), The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (1968) and Wee Tam (1968). Together, these two years represent the band's most critically and commercially successful period.

And they were out there. Between the ISB's first album and 5000 Spirits, Williamson rambled over to Morocco, where he learned the local trick of singing in microtones, still the only Western singer I know of of anything approaching pop to do so. The fact that the ISB was one of the direct forerunners of prog can be seen in extended Williamson suites like "Job's Tears" or "Ducks On A Pond" (the most humbly titled rock-universe epic ever), except, one, the ISB (at least at this stage) weren't a rock band, and, two, they were *looser* than prog. Williamson and Heron dabbled in many instruments, and, at least on a few of these tracks, there's some practical free improv going on.

My working title for this mix was "Hippie Trail To Hubbardite", because during the simultaneous recording of Wee Tam and its successor The Big Huge, Williamson and Heron converted to Scientology, which, in the eyes of many, shut their songwriting creativity right down. But, instead, I decided to go with a quote from "No Sleep Blues" for the title. As as close to a hippie avatar as I know aught of, Robin Williamson could know everything just by sitting and considering. It's when he started *believing* that things went wrong!
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