Pink Floyd and The Incredible String Band.
The Incredible String Band.
Track 6 on Side 2 is a brilliant waltz time song called “Footsteps Of The Heron”, a Mike Heron composition which he recorded completely solo, singing and playing guitar. Of all the ISB songs I ever tried to sing and play myself, this one tops the list by a mile. It is pure joy from start to end, and my poor attempts to perform it have been some of the best moments of my life.
This is what Mike wrote about it for the notes on the back cover:
“Once in a while you get a chance to spend a few days completely alone, with no work to do, and absolutely nowhere in particular to go. Some people wrap it up in a plastic box, tie it with black string and call it boredom, but these conditions really show your mind at its best – or worst.” [I think “No Particular Place To Go” was a popular song in the early to mid 20th century.]
The penultimate track on the album is an instrumental, Tack 7 on Side 2, and is titled “Niggertown”. It should be borne in mind that this was 1966; the junior school I attended from September 1963 to July 1965 had a school uniform the official colour of which was “nigger brown”. It is “trad. arr. Palmer“, and is unique on the LP as being a completely solo performance by Clive Palmer, playing a banjo. His banjo style was “classical” in terms of how he played it. This was a fingerstyle method which was very popular between the 1890s and the 1940s, but has fallen out of favour since then, replaced by the “clawhammer” and Bluegrass styles.
These are Mike Heron’s notes:
“All three of us include what are meant to be funny songs in our performances, but this piece of music from Clive always seems to bring the smiles running from miles around. No words, just notes dusted with laughter powder.”
This is a photo of Clive playing in Edinburgh in 1963: