Saturday, 31 January 2009

Matlock and the Incredible String Band

I was fiddling about with the settings on the NeoCounter (the thing on the right that tells you how many people have visited this site), and discovered one that breaks the information down by town/city. It appears that 10 of the 42 people to have visited this blog so far live in Matlock, Derbyshire. Now I'm not a statistician, but I reckon it is pretty unlikely that nearly 25% of visitors would have come from the same town with a population of around 10,000 purely by chance. So clearly there is a particularly high concentration of sophisticated individuals with exceptional musical taste.

Citizens of Matlock, I salute you! I'm not sure which if any of the music I've posted here so far you've enjoyed, but let me know and I'll see if I can dig out more of that sort of thing. I'm a bit of a tart like that (no Bakewell jokes, please).

Today's track has a very tenuous Derbyshire connection. I have been a great fan of the Incredible String Band since coming across a copy of "5000 Spirits or the Layers of an Onion" in a charity shop in about 1980. They have been rediscovered over the last few years and most of their albums are now fairly easy to get hold of - and a new compilation of obscurities and unreleased material was released earlier this week. But for many years about the only way to get hold of a lot of ISB material was through an outfit called Pig's Whisker Music who were based in Chesterfield (there, I told you it was tenuous).

The conventional wisdom is that the ISB peaked early with "5000 Spirits", "Hangman's Beautiful Daughter", "Wee Tam" and "The Big Huge", and that after that came gradual decline into total worthlessness. I don't agree with that view. Some of the later albums were a bit patchy, and they were certainly less experimental musically, but if you ignore them you miss out on hearing a lot of great stuff. Like today's selection from their penultimate album "No Ruinous Feud": "Explorer"

And as a bonus treat, here is a wonderful clip of Mike and Robin performing "The Half-Remarkable Question" on the Julie Felix Show in 1968:

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