The Incredible String Band – This Moment.

One of my favourite ISB songs – and very in line with my thinking on this wonderful new day.

Happy Spring to Everyone!!

The Spring equinox was celebrated with a special fertility festival with much fun, frolics and cavorting – and I imagine quite a lot of ‘fertility’.

It was the celebration of light over darkness. The sun was returning. The land was blossoming. Creatures were coming out of hibernation. Birds were returning from migration and beginning to nest. It was the rebirth of nature.

Back in time humans were very close to nature. We felt part of it. We were involved in it and dependent on it.

Spring was time to celebrate, to give thanks for the rebirth of the land. It was miraculous.

This rebirth was associated with eggs – the nascent life. It would hatch into new life – the birth of the world  – the great resurrection of the land.

Something to give thanks for.

So

May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You

All love surround you

And the pure light within you

Guide your way on.

In credible String Band – Way Back in the 1960s – humorous lyrics with a satirical bite.

incredible string band

It is strange to find the sixties so far back in time. There was an ethos and energy that went far beyond the stereotype of pot, acid and sex. There was fun, idealism and a reaction against the prudish drab conservatism of that pre-sixties society. Now all we have are the stereotypes, Carnaby Street phoney gloss and stoner numbskulls.

The satirical element concentrates on the inevitable slump into the plastic society we have been busy creating – plastic entertainment, plastic food and plastic people. Then the sell-outs who were in it for the money. The use of Britain as a nuclear aircraft carrier of the USA. The silliness of fashion and phoney language adopted by the young trendies.

It was a great song from a great album.

Back in the 1960’s

I was a young man back in the 1960’s
Yes, you made your own amusements then
For going to the pictures

Well, the travel was hard and I mean
We still used the wheel
But you could sit down at your table
And eat a real food meal

But hey, you young people
Well, I just do not know
And I can’t even understand you
When you try to talk slow

There was one fellow singing in those days
And he was quite good, and I mean to say that
His name was Bob Dylan, and I used to do gigs too
Before I made my first million

That was way, way back before
Before the wild World War Three
When England went missing
And we moved to Paraguayee

But hey, you young people
Well, I just do not know
And I can’t even understand you
When you try to talk slow

Well, I got a secret, and don’t give us away
I got some real food tins for my 91st birthday
And your grandmother bought them
Way down in the new antique food store
And for beans and for bacon, I will open up my door

But hey, you young people
Well, I just do not know
And I can’t even understand you
When you try to talk slow

Well, I was a young man back in the 1960’s

Read more: Incredible String Band – Way Back In The 1960’s Lyrics | MetroLyrics

The Incredible String Band – Opher’s World pays tribute to genius.

incredible string band

It doesn’t get more incongruous than this. How did a traditional folk trio from Edinburgh become the toast of London psychedelia? The answer lies not so much in the soil as in the lands, instruments and times. They might have started off as a trio playing traditional songs but they always had a love of strange and varied instruments and a desire to visit exotic places. It doesn’t get more exotic than psychotropia. The first album was Folk with a few different instruments. After that it got far less traditional.

They split up in the mid sixties with two of them going off to follow the Hippie trail to Afghanistan and India. When they met up again as a duo they had a whole slew of new instruments and head’s full of other cultures, ideas and possibilities. When it came to recording they found that these ideas opened up further dimensions, the recording studios enabled enhancement and the Indian sound was flavour of the month. This was the age of mind expansion. All things were possible. They took full advantage. Once the genie was out of the bottle it was not going back. Of course I am also sure there were some psychotropic chemicals that were probably more potent that a pint of heavy.

The songs had progressed from the standard three minute ditties to long epic numbers with tales of fantasy, spiritual quest and mythology. Joe Boyd’s production added the psychedelic ingredient to multilayer the sound. The Arabian and Indian instruments created an esoteric feel. The cover and title of first ‘5000 spirits of the layers of the onion’ and then ‘The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter’ were suitably colourful and doused with LSD. They were a Psychedelic Folk Band and found themselves playing the Underground venues and festivals and not the Folk Clubs.

That’s where I first caught them. They fitted in well and were wonderful. They exuded a positive vibe and exuberance that shone. They interchanged instruments from a seemingly endless store and had a great time. The music was complex and sophisticated. The songs were all spiritually uplifting and fitted right into the sixties quest for meaning and purpose. My long lost friend Gary Turp, who was heavily into Buddhist Meditation worshipped them. They were the epitome of Hippie optimism.

The double album – ‘Wee Tam and the Big Huge’ confirmed their excellence. Nobody sounded like the Incredibles. They had different themes, styles, voices and sound to everyone else.

The general consensus is that the music went off following their dalliance with scientology following ‘Wee Tam and the Big Huge’ but I never felt that. The addition of the girls worked well. They’d always really been part of the group anyway and then the dance/mime troupe added another dimension. I saw their supposedly disastrous production of ‘U’ at the roundhouse and it was brilliant. I wanted to go back and see it again. It suited the optimistic idealist I was back then. I am a little more of a world-weary optimistic idealist now. Back then I thought we could change the world and make everything perfect overnight; now I think it might take a week or two!

The band split up with acrimony. Seemingly the gaiety and exuberance always masked a lack of friendship between Robin and Mike. They never got on, but that never got in the way of the music or vibe on stage.

I saw their great reunion at the Bloomsbury theatre in 1997 and then the original three in Beverley a few years later and thought they were great.

What the world needs now is a good dose of Robin and Mike’s positivity and optimism. They helped produced that incredible zeitgeist that was the sixties ‘can do’ culture. They made everything possible. They weren’t a good time band they exuded a spiritual vibe that was so incredibly uplifting …. And I’m an atheist! What I’d give for a slab of that vibe right now. We could transform the world.

The Incredibles lived up to their name and it is no wonder that they are spoken of with such great affection by all who saw them, heard them and loved them.