Monday, June 22, 2009

saturday, maybe

"Factory chimney coughs yellow smoke.
Trucks and trains go rumbling.
Throw down the key from your window high.
Your man's out drinking.
Neighbours thinking evil.
Lead me by the the light of your electric fire.
Your green slips falls about your feet,
and across the sheet
your nut brown curls go tumbling.

We don't have long 'til he comes home from the bar.
I'll be gone a week of sundays.
Meet me by the bronze horse or the clock tower.
Try to come Friday; Saturday maybe.
Don't cry now, you'll freak the baby."

- Robin Williamson.

Oddly enough, in light of some ongoing banter between Löst Jimmy and myself regarding antisocial neighbours and parochial alcohol fueled feuds, fellow Ghost, Gus e-mailed me an especially fitting sample from the Incredible String Band's post narcotic period. I don't have "Earthspan" in my collection, I don't believe; although it may be lurking in a remote cobwebbed corner on my external drive.

Dating from 1973, the cover to "No Ruinous Feud" is appalling enough to discourage any casual listener from exploring its content in any detail. Building on the adopted principle -
which took root on 1972's "Earthspan", their eleventh outing - of curtailing the open-ended excesses of old, the end result is a concoction of everything from faux reggae to radio friendly pop. Overly contrived, if well intended.

The exception, as Gus suggests, may indeed lie in this dead letter. A narrow bridge of sorts between the dark fairytale of Syd's "Golden Hair" and the more brutal and prosaic reality of broken cobblestones leading to those ashpits which survived deep into the 1970s.

In Glasgow, Manchester and elsewhere.

Beige candles and tallowed walls.

INCREDIBLE STRING BAND: SATURDAY MAYBE from "No Ruinous Feud" LP (Island) 1973 (UK)


Löst Jimmy said...

A damn fine title that is 'No Ruinous Feud'

ib said...

Indeed. And a far better title than the sleeve design might suggest.

Anonymous said...

I've always been too embarassed to ask before, but where is the best place to start with The Incredible String Band?


ib said...

Good question, Eric. For my money, the best is "5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion"; possibly their most consistent.

"Wee Tam" & "The Big Huge" are also very good - both albums are commonly coupled in one package - as is "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter".

Most of their stuff after 1971, though, is somewhat patchy. But, then again, each to their own.

There are a lot of fine songs scattered over the very long course of their recordings.