Pink Floyd and The Incredible String Band.
The Incredible String Band.
The last one on this band closed with the astonishing revelation that I had TWO LPs both claiming to be Side 1 of an album called “Wee Tam and The Big Huge”, even though I have only one copy of the double album. I shall elaborate on how I came to know how this happened in due course, but for now here is another startling fact I have only recently discovered. This is that even the double album itself has TWO serial numbers, one for Sides 1 and 2, the other for Sides 3 and 4. On discovering this, I had thought this was a unique feature in the realms of double LPs; but then I remembered that it was possible in the late 1960s to buy Cream’s “Wheels of Fire” as a double LP or as two single LPs. Sure enough, on checking it I find that is has the same dual serial number syndrome. Still, as far as I know, these are the only two double albums to have been treated in this way; and at least with Cream the title stayed the same, qualified only by the words “Live” or “In the Studio” respectively. Conversely, “Wee Tam and the Big Huge” became “Wee Tam” and “The Big Huge” respectively, and in a way which destroyed the wholeness and harmony of the album.
It can be recalled from an earlier post on this album that my first acquisition of any of it was when I bought “The Big Huge”, an LP whose existence made no sense at all to me at the time. Anyway, Track 1 Side 1 was the first thing I heard from it of course, and what an introduction that was! It is a Robin Williamson composition called “Maya”, coming in at an epic 9.24 minutes. It is a truly marvellous song, featuring Robin on guitar and bass, Mike on sitar, and both girls on percussion. Typically it has various sections, but the entirety fits together in the most wonderful fashion. For most of it Robin sings solo, but the whole band joins in with the refrain, which only occurs one and a bit times. This is because the second go at it comes right at the end with a view to attempting to dramatise the next track, which is a bit of a dull, plodding Mike Heron song called “Greatest Friend”. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a pleasant song, but for me it is the weakest on the album.
I now come to the oddity about discovering I had two LPs both having a Side One label titled “Wee Tam & The Big Huge”. This is because in addition to having the double LP and the two separate single LPs, I also have a two LP set, but the two LPs are not the same as the separate single LPs in terms of packaging. This is the “picture side” of “The Big Huge”: