Article from “The Encyclopedia of Rock Vol 2 – The Age of Rocck’n’Roll” Published by Phanter 1975
Formed Edinburgh 1965 as trio with Heron, Williamson, and Clive Palmer (banjo), their debut (I) caused sensation in folk circles, though it took (2) to bring them to public attention, by which time Palmer had left.
On (2) and (3) the songwriting of Heron and Williamson, unique in structure and variety, expanded ambitiously. (2) became bible of burgeoning acid generation; (3) still stands as something of masterwork.
Unfortunately standards weren’t maintained and they became selfindulgent on (4) – at which point group policy was reviewed and girlfriends Licorice McKechnie (vln) and Rosie Simpson (bs) recruited to the line-up. However, The Incredible String Band never quite regained initial poise and flair.
Thus constituted, they made (5), (6), (7), a1id (8), the last two being written for stage and film shows respectively. Rose left in 1971 and, with labelswitch, trio continued to make (9), picking up Malcolm Le Maistre (vcls) for (10) and Gerard Dott (kybds, reeds) for (11). Reaching peak early in their career, Incredibles were consequently in decline ever since, although solo ventures by Heron (12) and Williamson (13) did go a little towards recapturing what group forfeited after (4), though they always retained a certain live popularity for their infectiously exuberant approach.
In late 1974, inevitably, Heron and Williamson made dignified announcement that their musical partnership had been annulled. Too insular to influence scene at large, Incredibles nevertheless created some extraordinary music most of which can be found on (I), (2), and (3), and which is anthologized on (14).
Williamson moved to Los Angeles where, in 1976, he was planning new band; Heron (a Scientologist) stayed in U.K. to form Mike Heron’s Reputation retaining three members from last Incredible String Band lineup – Le Maistre, John Gilston (drms), Graham Forbes (gtr) – plus David Barker and Mike Tomich. Cut one album, Mike Heron’s Reputation (Neighbourhood 1975).
(I) The Incredible String Band (Elektra 1966)
(2) The 5000 Spirits or the Layer of the Onion (Elektra 1967)
(3) The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter (Elektra 1968)
(4) Wee Tam and the Big Huge (Elektra 1968)
(5) Changing Horses (Elektra 1969)
(6) I Looked Up (Elektra 1970)
(7) U (Elektra 1970)
(8) Be Glad for the Song Has No Ending (Island 1970)
(9) Liquid Acrobat as Regards the Air (Island 1971)
(10) Earthspan (Island 1971)
(11) No Ruinous Feud (Island 1973)
(12) Smiling Men with Bad Reputations (Island 1971)
(13) Myrrh (Help 1972)
(14) Relics of The Incredible String Band (Elektra 1970)