Pink Floyd and The Incredible String Band.
The Incredible String Band.
Track 2 on Side 3 is an instrumental called “Astral Plane Theme” (4.55 minutes). It is a Williamson composition, and he is the sole performer on it, playing one instrument only, guitar. This is a truly remarkable tour de force. It encompasses a huge variety of different styles, including bursts of flamenco, and is delivered with perfect precision and timing. It would have required a great deal of effort on Robin’s part to produce this, and it is indeed a minor masterpiece.
Track 3 is another Williamson composition, a dirge-like chant called “Invocation” (4.48 minutes). The credits are unique: ” Robin, with thanks to Greg Heat’s voice sitar”. Robin does sing the whole thing solo, to the positively eerie accompaniment of this “voice sitar”. It is an extraordinary piece, featuring the often repeated refrain “Aid me, and I will aid you”.
Track 4 is another Williamson composition, a truly brilliant thing called “Robot Blues” (4.02 minutes), and it really does what is says on the tin. Robin performs this entirely on his own, singing along to a classic 12 bar blues tune which he plays on the piano. It is well worth setting out some of the lyrics of this one:
“Down in Robot City, you might think it’s play play play
But a Number 5 Robot he must work in all the night and day
Number 1 come by me, he give my work to me
Oil the flowers, fix the showers, clean the electronic trees
Shine the light, fix it right, now listen carefully
Don’t you go romancing with that pretty Number Three
[Chorus, which I’ll set out at the end]
When I see that Number 3 I get charge all in my dial
When I see that Number 3 my piston fills with oil
You know what I’m talking about
But she likes that Number 1 because he’s rich with all my toil toil toil
That Number 3 she charm the heart of any robot man
Moving her body like an old tin can
If I could get my claws on her I would lubricate her free
I’ve got a perfect action why won’t she play with me
Well I think I’ll get a ray gun
I will see what that will do
I think I’ll get a ray gun
I think I’ll get a ZZ Special Q
I will blast the Number 1’s gaskets
and his coils I will refuse to renew
He seen me coming, sneak up from behind
switched off my ignition and he left me stone blind
I could not see to blast him
here’s the ending of my tale
He went off with Number 3 and I cursed to no avail
[and the song ends with the
and that’s why why I got the Robot Blues
Down in my heart compartment
Down in my old magnetic sole shoes”
Side 3 ends with Track 5, but I’ll leave that until the next ISB post; it’s called “Puppet Song” and as I noted in my first “U” post, it is a very special track to me.
This is the left side of the inside of the album cover: