Pink Floyd and The Incredible String Band.
The Incredible String Band.
Track 3 on Side 4 is a most remarkable one, though by no means easy to listen to, with the notable exception of the refrain and cadence where the whole band joins in, in harmony. The refrain is short but comparatively jolly, and the cadence is enchanting. The rest of the song, which Mike strains to sing solo, indeed sounds strained. This song is called “Douglas Traherne Harding”; it is a Heron composition, lasting 6.15 minutes, and is a work of immense intellectuality. I only discovered this last point having read a truly brilliant book which came out in 2003, called “be [sic] GLAD [sic] An Incredible String Band Compendium”, edited by Adrian Whittaker.
The book contains a piece by one Prydwyn Piper which gives comprehensive details of this, which I propose to quote in full over the next few posts. For the time being, however, suffice it to say that the song concerns, inter alia, a man with no head, just one eye, and a body filled with light; and the smuggling of sheep and goats concealed under bags of oatmeal.