Pink Floyd and The Incredible String Band.
The Incredible String Band.
The album opens with a Robin Williamson song called “Koeeoaddi There” [yes,really!]. It is a splendid overture to the LP, being a stylised recollection of childhood years. It is classic ISB stuff, with Robin very much taking the lead vocal on the verses, but with the whole ensemble in its unique harmony joining in the fairy-like riddle refrain.
Track 2 is another Williamson composition, this one however delivered in an over-the-top Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera style. It is called “The Minotaur’s Song”, and it does what it says on the tin. Part of the chorus is the phrase “I can’t dream well because of my horns”. Again Robin does solo vocals on the stanzas, with support mainly from Licorice on the refrains.
Track 3 on Side 1 is yet another Williamson song, but very short (2.30 minutes) and very different from the first two. It is called “Witches Hat”, and is a light, lilting, whimsical thing in which the singer imagines himself as being such a thing. It features just Robin and his guitar.
Side 1 ends with one of the most celebrated pieces the band ever did. It is an epic (12.55 minutes) Mike Heron composition titled “A Very Cellular Song”, and its basic topic is anaerobic reproduction. However, it features several different styles and genres throughout its lengthy course. Heron freely admits that it had a close connection with an LSD experience, a trip as it was known. The closing sections include “We Bid You Goodnight”, originally done by The Bahamian Pindar Family and often used by the Grateful Dead to conclude their sets, and “May the long time sun shine on you” which has its origins in a Sikh spiritual called “On That Day”. On any view of the matter, it is certainly a truly remarkable piece, and a brilliant cadence to the first side.
The back cover shows the two chaps ion winter garb: