Incredible String Band Mike Heron

Incredible String Band Mike Heron

Mike Heron

James Michael “Mike” Heron was  born on December 27, 1942. Heron, with Robin Williamson and Clive Palmer, founded The Incredible String Band in 1965 as a folk-song group which evolved to produce an emerging “world music” sound.

From a 2017 The List piece about the band, Heron said, “When they asked me to join the band I was really thrilled…. I joined very much as an apprentice in my mind; I’d been admiring them for ages. I was trying to be accepted by the alien beatniks. It took a little while!’

Incredible String Band Mike Heron

Incredible String Band

The Incredible String Band produced over 10 albums including “Five Thousand Spirits or the Layers of the Onion”, the Grammy nominated “The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter”, and “Wee Tam and The Big Huge”.

Their sound and success and “underground” radio’s fondness for their songs led to an invitation to perform at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. After a Friday night postponement, the band appeared on Saturday oddly placed between the blues-oriented Keef Hartly Band and Canned Heat.

Incredible String Band Mike Heron

In 1971 Heron released his first solo album, Smiling Men with Bad Reputations.  Sitting in were such luminary musicians as John Cale, Pete Townshend, Richard Thompson, Elton John, Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood, Keith Moon, and Ronnie Lane.  It featured a much more rock sound very different than Incredible String Band.

Mike and daughter Georgia

More recently Mike has been performing with his daughter, Georgia Seddon.

Incredible String Band Mike Heron

In 2008 Mike and Georgia were invited to perform at The Hollywood Bowl, collaborating with American band The Album Leaf for an evening of World music.

His site lists the nine solo albums Mike has released.

Mike and Georgia are now performing with Mike Hastings, and the multi instrumentalist Nick Pynn. Here is a video of Mike Heron & Georgia Seddon playing Mike’s “Feast of Stephen” accompanied by Trembling Bells at The Glad Cafe, Glasgow. October 2013.

Happy Birthday Mike Heron. Happy Birthday Mike Heron. Happy Incredible String Band Mike Heron

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Bob Dylan John Wesley Harding

Bob Dylan John Wesley Harding

Recorded between October 17 and November 29, 1967, Bob Dylan released his John Wesley Harding album less than a month later on December 27, 1967.

Bob Dylan John Wesley Harding

The cover photograph shows Dylan flanked by brothers Luxman and Purna Das, two Bengali Bauls, South Asian musicians brought to Woodstock by Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman. Behind Dylan is Charlie Joy, a local stonemason and carpenter.

I’ll be your baby tonight

A long-recurring rumor is that images of various members of the Beatles are hidden on the front cover, in the knots of the tree. This was verified by Rolling Stone with photographer John Berg prior to the album’s release.

John Wesley Harding
Difficult to see, but the faces are there.
Bob Dylan John Wesley Harding

Dylan wanted a low key approach to the album’s release. Dylan reputedly said to Columbia Records Clive Davis, “I asked Columbia to release it with no publicity and no hype, because this was the season of hype,” Davis wanted Dylan to at least use one of the songs as a single, but Dylan refused that.

It had been the Summer of Love with Monterey Pop Festival. The arrival of Janis and Jimi. Psychedelic music would find a huge niche in the emerging so-called “underground” FM rock stations.

The Beatles had Sgt. Pepper, the Stones Satanic Majesty, and Airplane Bathing at Baxters.

And here came Dylan, again choosing his own way, leaving the basement in Saugerties, NY and travelling to Nashville, the capital of country music, to record.

Less than two years later, Dylan’s appearance at Woodstock was a sure-thing rumor. Of course, he had already booked an appearance at the Isle of Wight and never intended on being in Bethel, but his lead was often followed and his country sound allowed many young listeners to give that sound a chance.

Rolling Stone reivew

The famed Ralph Gleason wrote in his Rolling Stone magazine review

We can all relax now. Bob Dylan isn’t dead. He is all right. He is well and he’s not a basket case hidden from our view forever, the lovely words and the haunting sounds gone as a result of some ghastly effect of his accident.

And his head is in the right place, which, is after all, the best news of all.

The new Bob Dylan album is out and on our turntables and coming at us over the airwaves (though not enough of it is coming at us over the airwaves, God knows) and it is a warm, loving collection of myths, prophecies, allegories, love songs and good times.

Bob Dylan John Wesley Harding
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