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The Incredible String Band Wee Tam (1968)

The Incredible String Band — Wee Tam (1968)

The Incredible String Band Wee Tam
Origin: Edinburgh / Glasgow, Scotland
Genres: Psychedelic folk, World music
Years active: 1966–1974, 1999–2006
Album release: November 1968, 1992
Record Label: Elektra (7559-60914-2)
Duration:     44:07
Tracks:
01. Job's Tears      (6:48)
02. Puppies      (5:26)
03. Beyond The See      (2:18)
04. The Yellow Snake      (2:08)
05. Log Cabin Home In The Sky      (4:05)
06. You Get Brighter      (5:49)
07. The Half-Remarkable Question      (5:05)
08. Air      (3:15)
09. Ducks On A Pond      (9:13)
Credits:
Mike Heron  Bass, Composer, Guitar, Harmonica, Harpsichord, Organ, Sitar, Washboard
Licorice McKechnie  Irish Harp, Percussion
Robin Williamson  Bass, Composer, Drums, Flute, Gimbri, Guitar, Harpsichord, Irish Harp, Kazoo, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Sarangui, Violin, Whistle (Instrument)
Awards: 1969   Wee Tam   The Billboard 200     #174
Musicians:
Mike Heron Vocals, Guitar, Sitar, Bass, Organ, Harpsichord, Percussion, Harmonica
Robin Williamson Vocals, Guitar, Violin, Whistle, Flute, Mandolin, Irish Harp, Gimbri, Sarangi, Bass, Organ, Piano, Kazoo, Harpsichord, Drums, Bass Drum, Percussion
with
Licorice - Vocals, Percussion, Irish Harp
Recorded: April, June & July 1968 at Sound Techniques Studios, London
Produced by: Joe Boyd for Witchseason Productions
Sound Engineer: John WoodThe Incredible String Band — Wee Tam (1968)
Review   by Lindsay Planer
This album was originally issued in the Incredible String Band's native Britain as the first in a two-LP collection with a companion disc entitled The Big Huge. However, stateside distributor Elektra Records decided to present them as two separate works. This version of the ISB includes founding members Robin Williamson (organ, bass, flute, guitar, percussion, piano, violin, drums, harpsichord, kazoo, whistle, sarangui, gimbri, and Irish harp) and Mike Heron (organ, bass, guitar, harmonica, harpsichord, sitar, and washboard) as well as their significant others, Christina "Liquorice" McKechnie (vocals, percussion, and Irish harp) and Rose Simpson (violin, bass, and vocals). At this point -- mid-1968 -- the quartet was continuing to experiment with a blend of folk music(s) from both sides of the Atlantic. They were also adding elements of psychedelia throughout. However, rather than the typical electric guitars and oftentimes nonsensical lyrics, the ISB were decidedly more insular. The double lead vocals on "Job's Tears" as well as the delicate minor-chord cacophonies and random woodwinds during "Beyond the Sea" are infinitely more subtle yet no less trippy than most anything the band had tried previously. "The Half-Remarkable Question" is a musical enigma, replete with a bouncy sitar-driven melody. This inevitably reminds the listener of the genuine breadth and scope of both Heron and Williamson's multi-instrumental talents and seeming mastery of all things stringed. There are also a few ISB classics included on Wee Tam -- such as the acoustic Appalachian sound of Heron's "Log Cabin in the Sky" as well as the innocuous love song "You Get Brighter," both of which remained at the heart of the ISB canon for decades to come. Unlike the excessive and scattered material that would accompany the quartet's interests:  in Scientology during the ensuing years, Wee Tam and The Big Huge are charming and among the most representative discs from this incarnation of the ISB.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theincrediblestringband#!
Past members:
Robin Williamson
Mike Heron
Clive Palmer
Christina "Licorice" McKechnie
Rose Simpson
Malcolm Le Maistre
Gerard Dott
Stan Schnier
Jack Ingram
Graham Forbes
John Gilston
Bina Williamson
Lawson Dando
Claire "Fluff" Smith
Band line-ups:
1965–1966   Robin Williamson, Clive Palmer, Mike Heron
1966–1968   Williamson, Heron
1968–1971   Williamson, Heron, Licorice McKechnie, Rose Simpson
1971–1972   Williamson, Heron, McKechnie, Malcolm Le Maistre
1972–1973   Williamson, Heron, Le Maistre, Gerard Dott, Stan Schnier, Jack Ingram
1973–1974   Williamson, Heron, Le Maistre, Schnier, Ingram, Graham Forbes
1974 (Feb–Oct)   Williamson, Heron, Le Maistre, Schnier, Forbes, John Gilston
1974–1999   defunct
1999–2003   Williamson, Palmer, Heron, Bina Williamson, Lawson Dando
2003–2006   Palmer, Heron, Dando, Claire Smith

Musical style:
The music of the ISB ranged from conventional folk songs to "art songs" and hybrid forms that were a precursor to World Music.  In 1967–68 they were sometimes described as part of pop music's "avant-garde",  and were compared to The Beatles.     Williamson claimed that, as both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones saw them play before Sgt. Pepper and Their Satanic Majesties Request were recorded, the ISB were an influence on those albums. One of young Bob Dylan's favourite songs was 'October Song' from ISB's debut album (reference to come), and a careful listening to ISB's early (60s) albums will reveal just how much they influenced Bob Dylan's style of singing (especially notable on 'The 5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion').[citation needed] In addition, ISB have been declared the first 'world music' band because of their artful use of exotic instruments (collected in Morocco and from India, for example) and their incorporation of a wide variety of musical styles into their own unique musical pastiche. No other band in the 60s equalled them in this endeavour (reference to come). Robert Plant claimed that Led Zeppelin found their way by playing 'The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter' (see above). Following in the footsteps of ISB, Led Zeppelin later also incorporated exotic (north African)instruments to great effect (e.g. on 'No Quarter').
Both Mike Heron and Robin Williamson would insert seemingly unrelated sections in their songs in a way that has been described as "always surprising, laughably inventive, lyrically prodigious".
Discography:
Albums:
Studio albums:
The Incredible String Band (Elektra, June 1966)
The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion (Elektra, July 1967)
The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (Elektra, March 1968)
Wee Tam and the Big Huge (Elektra, October 1968)
Changing Horses (Elektra, November 1969)
I Looked Up (Elektra, April 1970)
U (Double album, Elektra, October 1970)
Be Glad for the Song Has No Ending (Island, April 1971)
Liquid Acrobat as Regards the Air (Island, October 1971)
Earthspan (Island, October 1972)
No Ruinous Feud (Island, February 1973)
Hard Rope & Silken Twine (Island, March 1974)
Live albums:
BBC Radio 1 Live on Air (October 1991)
BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert (November 1992)
The Chelsea Sessions 1967 (June 1997)
First Girl I Loved: Live in Canada 1972 (Trojan Records, 2001)
Nebulous Nearnesses (2004)
Across The Airwaves: BBC Radio Recordings 1969-74 (2007)
Tricks of the Senses - Rare and Unreleased Recordings 1966 - 1972 (Hux Records 2008)
Compilations:
Relics (Elektra compilation, March 1971)
Seasons They Change (Island compilation, November 1976)
Solo releases, see: Robin Williamson, Mike Heron, Clive Palmer and Malcolm Le Maistre.
Singles (UK only):
"Way Back In The 1960s" / "Chinese White" (Elektra EKSN 45013, promo only, 1967)
"Painting Box" / "No Sleep Blues" (Elektra EKSN 45028, March 1968)
"Big Ted" / "All Writ Down" (Elektra EKSN 45074, October 1969)
"This Moment" / "Black Jack Davy" (Elektra 2101 003, April 1970)
"Black Jack David" / "Moon Hang Low" (Island WIP 6145, November 1972)
"At The Lighthouse Dance" / "Jigs" (Island WIP 6158, February 1973)
Links:
Large site with copious discography, ephemera, etc.:  http://www.wolfgangrostek.de/5000onions/index.html
Mike Heron official website: http://www.mikeheron.co.uk/index.html
Robin Williamson & Bina official website: http://www.pigswhiskermusic.co.uk/
If you wish to book Robin Williamson or Robin and Bina Williamson Please Contact:
United Kingdom:
Pigs Whisker Music
PO Box 309
Cardiff
CF11 9ZA
South Wales
United Kingdom
You can contact us on: (029) 20231739
Or in the US/Canada:
Matt Greenhill
Folklore Productions: (001) 707 874 1611
Contact Mike Heron:
If you wish to book Mike Heron for performances then you can contact us by either:
Email: bookings@mikeheron.co.uk
Or call the mobile on: 07713 755 805
Biography by Jim Powers (Allmusic.com): http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-incredible-string-band-mn0000099561The Incredible String Band — Wee Tam (1968)The Incredible String Band — Wee Tam (1968)

The Incredible String Band Wee Tam (1968)


 

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