Friday, March 15, 2013

the hangman's beautiful daughter

The Incredible String Band employed multi-track recording and an array of instruments from around the world to produce this surreal and exotic volume of mystical and psychedelic folk.  The group had established themselves as pioneers of the counterculture with their first two albums, 'The Incredible String Band' and 'The 5000 Spirits or Layers of the Onion' and with their third album, 'The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter', they experimented even further with their eclectic sound.  

The sessions were produced by Joe Boyd and featured Robin Williamson on vocals, guitar, gimbri, penny whistle, percussion, pan pipe, piano, oud, mandolin, jaw harp, chahanai, water harp, and harmonica; and Mike Heron on vocals, sitar, Hammond organ, guitar, hammered dulcimer, and harpsichord; with Dolly Collins on flute organ, and piano; David Snell on harp; Licorice McKechnie on vocals and finger cymbals; and Richard Thompson, Judy Dyble, and Rose Simpson on vocals.  Williamson recalls:   "Back in the 60's, I was one of the first people to have a go at guitar tunings in a big way. A lot of the different instruments that I used with the Incredible String Band I couldn’t play very well, like instruments from Morocco [the gimbri] which I used just to make different noises. I have been fooling around a bit with tunings on the harp too. My harp has thirty four strings with a C on the low end. I tune it traditionally like a piano. But it doesn’t have all the black notes. You’ve got to set that up. It’s built by Triplet an American San Luis Obispo.”

'The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter' only made it to number one hundred and sixty one in the US; but it was nominated for a Grammy for In the UK, it was a huge hit, staying on the album chart for twenty seven weeks and peaking at number five.  Mike Heron says: "The hangman is death and the beautiful daughter is what comes after. Or you might say that the hangman is the past twenty years of our life and the beautiful daughter is now, what we are able to do after all these years. Or you can make up your own meaning - your interpretation is probably just as good as ours."

'The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter'
full album:

1. "Koeeoaddi There" 0:00  (Williamson)
2. "The Minotaur's Song" 4:50  (Williamson)
3. "Witches Hat" 8:12  (Williamson)
4. "A Very Cellular Song" 10:48 (Heron)
5. "Mercy I Cry City" 24:02 (Heron)
6. "Waltz of the New Moon" 26:50  (Williamson)
7. "The Water Song" 32:00  (Williamson)
8. "Three Is a Green Crown" 34:54  (Williamson)
9. "Swift As the Wind" 42:44 (Heron)
10. "Nightfall" 47:38  (Williamson)

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