Pink Floyd and The Incredible String Band.
The Incredible String Band.
Side 4 of the album opens with what is arguably the most accessible and popular of the songs the band ever recorded, a Mike Heron thing called “Cousin Caterpillar”, coming in at 5.15 minutes. Mike plays guitar and sings lead vocal, Robin plays bass, and Rose is credited with percussion. The whole band joins in on the refrains. This is a pop song, and at secondary school I once heard a teacher playing it to the assembled boys in the school hall! It is jaunty and cheerful, and as near to bubble gum stuff as the group ever got. It is a real pleasure to listen to.
Track 2 could not possibly be more different, being a typical Williamson composition called “The Iron Stone”, which lasts 6.33 minutes. Robin plays guitar and sings the whole song completely solo throughout. Mike plays sitar, Rose percussion again, and Licorice Irish harp and percussion. Even for a Williamson one, this piece is truly weird. Its form is unique, starting with a slow and doom-laden section, livened up only by some short but brilliant sitar breaks. The song gradually builds up, however, in its second half, rising to a triumphant crescendo right at the end. The final words of this super cadence are worth setting out in full:
“Love paints the carts with suns for wheels
The jester’s bauble, cap and bells
The brave, perhaps, Mustachio
Sir Primalform Magnifico
The dragon me with golden toes
And golden fire my flaming nose
And memories, memories
My cave was bright with sulky gems
That paled the stars like diadems
Silver lost and buried gold
Such was my home in days of old”