The Incredible String Band,
The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter
(1968; rereleased 2006)

By some happy coincidence, the music of the Incredible String Band hasn't enjoyed periodic rediscovery, popular acclaim or critical fashion. In other words, the ISB wandered its own weird, trippy way -- for better or worse -- into being one of the swinging Sixties' most cultish bands.

The music's excesses can be either utterly charming or utterly silly, depending on your mood, and the lyrics are full of mystical, mythological wordplay ("The Minotaur's Song" owes a heavy debt to Gilbert & Sullivan).

Like the rest of Mike Heron and Robin Williamson's work at this late date, The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter is beyond being an acquired taste, often evoking an immediate personal and emotional response. Fans of British folk should give it a try, though. It may not ultimately be your cup of tea, but it's genuinely unlike any other accoustic music you've ever heard.

review by
Mark Bromberg

29 September 2007

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