“U” by The Incredible String Band - album review

TJR says

All the best groups are a bit bonkers and Incredible String Band certainly fit into that category. As the 60s turned into the 70s, the eccentric folksters invited the Stone Monkey dance troupe (I'm laughing as I type this) to live with them in their communal base at Glen Row near Innerleithen in the Scottish borders, the idea being that they could perfect a multi-media stage production which would be named “U” and would feature some 12 dancers as well as the group. Robin Williamson described the 3 hour show show which launched in London, in April, 1970: “it was a surreal parable in song and dance, neither a pageant, a play, dance, theatre, nor pantomime, though there were elements of all of those. The vague notion [of the plot] was, a soul incarnates out of nowhere, lives, and then vanishes again at the other end, hence the idea 'U', although the performances themselves hardly followed a coherent storyline”.

They took the show to San Francisco, but were unable to support the Stone Monkey, and performed it in standard gig mode. Seeking to try and recoup some of the losses from the show, they teamed up with producer Joe Boyd whilst in town, and “U” the album - a mammoth 107 minutes spread over four sides - was recorded in just 48 hours, incorporating the music which was at the heart of the stage production. Williamson recalled “We just went day and night for two days and two nights, in shifts, and finished. I can't remember what the reasons were, but we had to be done in a hurry. In a way, it seemed to fit”. Gotta love them!

The Jukebox Rebel
26-Sep-2009

A1 [08:31] 8.1.png The Incredible String Band - El Wool Suite (Mike Heron) Folk
A2 [03:13] 8.0.png The Incredible String Band - The Juggler’s Song (Robin Williamson) Folk
A3 [03:58] 6.1.png The Incredible String Band - Time (Robin Williamson) Alternative Folk
A4 [03:49] 9.1.png The Incredible String Band - Bad Sadie Lee (Robin Williamson) Alternative Country
A5 [08:37] 4.7.png The Incredible String Band - Queen Of Love (Robin Williamson) Alternative Folk
B1 [02:56] 5.3.png The Incredible String Band - Partial Belated Overture (Mike Heron) Folk Rock / Americana
B2 [10:16] 4.7.png The Incredible String Band - Light In Time Of Darkness, Glad To See You (Mike Heron) Prog
B3 [03:59] 5.4.png The Incredible String Band - Walking Along With You (Mike Heron) Alternative Folk
B4 [06:20] 5.8.png The Incredible String Band - Hirem Pawnitof / Fairies’ Hornpipe (Mike Heron - Traditional) Folk
B5 [02:18] 4.5.png The Incredible String Band - Bridge Theme (Mike Heron) Folk Rock / Americana
C1 [08:49] 5.3.png The Incredible String Band - Bridge Song (Mike Heron) Alternative Folk
C2 [04:52] 4.6.png The Incredible String Band - Astral Plane Theme (Robin Williamson) Alternative Folk
C3 [04:49] 5.5.png The Incredible String Band - Invocation (Robin Williamson) Alternative Folk
C4 [04:09] 6.5.png The Incredible String Band - Robot Blues (Robin Williamson) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
C5 [06:16] 5.7.png The Incredible String Band - Puppet Song (Robin Williamson) Folk
D1 [05:10] 6.5.png The Incredible String Band - Cutting The Strings (Robin Williamson) Folk
D2 [03:24] 8.4.png The Incredible String Band - I Know You (Christina McKechnie) Folk
D3 [15:41] 5.8.png The Incredible String Band - Rainbow (Mike Heron) Alternative Folk




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