Incredible String Band

Incredible String Band

Incredible String Band

The first album by…
The Incredible String Band
Recorded May 22, 1966
Released in September 1966 (UK); April 1967 (US)
Mike Heron’s “How Happy I Am”

By June 1966, British influence on American pop musical tastes was firmly established and record labels had opened their recording studio doors to much more creativity.

The Incredible String Band was not the typical British Invasion band. In 1966 American radio stations were playing #1 songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Petula Clark, and the Troggs. Even the New Vaudeville Band’s “Winchester Cathedral” tickled our organs of Corti.

ISB, consisting originally of Mike HeronRobin Williamson, and Clive Palmer, had recorded the album only the month before. Their style was acoustic and British folk.

Folk-rock > Psychedelic-folk

In the US, though folk music no longer enjoyed its heyday, the Byrds had become popular and their style had created the new rock genre:  “folk-rock.”

ISB planted their sound’s seeds in that soil.

Compared to their later albums (minus Palmer who left after the first album), Incredible String Band is simple. In fact, most of the songs are played solo by the person who wrote them. Palmer had only written one of the songs and thus minimized his presence: five by Williamson, three by Heron and the one by Palmer.

ISB would later compose more elaborate  songs resulting in yet another media label:  psychedelic folk. #ahwell

Heron & Williamson

It would be those more intricate pieces that attracted the band (now only Heron and Williamson with occasional others) to American FM alternate stations.

And it was that attraction that likely brought the band to the attention of Woodstock Ventures who booked them for the Festival on May 28, 1969 for $4,500.


Here are the tracks for the album:

Side 1

  1. Maybe Someday
  2. October Song
  3. When the Music Starts to Play
  4. Schaeffer’s Jig
  5. Womankind
  6. the Tree
  7. Whistle Tune
  8. Dandelion Blues

Side 2

  1. How Happy I Am
  2. Empty Pocket Blues
  3. Smoke Shovelling Song
  4. Can’t Keep Me Here
  5. Good as Gone
  6. Footsteps on the Heron
  7. Niggertown
  8. Everything’s Fine Right Now

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