Thursday, 12 January 2012

If I was a witch's hat

Many of Fantasy Bob's years of adolescent agony were spent listening to the Incredible String Band.  This may explain a lot.

The Incredibles originated in the Edinburgh folk scene and built a considerable following, before splitting up in 1974. This ensemble was Edinburgh's only representatives at the great Woodstock Festival in 1969. They were musical pioneers in psych folk and, by integrating a wide variety of traditional music forms and instruments, in the development of world music. The group reformed in 1999 and in various combinations continued to perform until 2006.  Robin Williamson and Mike Heron the mainstays are still active individually.

The Incredibles became a legend in their mystical time through a series of albums including The 5000 Spirits, Wee Tam and the Big Huge and The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, in which increasingly mystical and lengthy songs were accompanied by their multi instrumental talents.  Songs of 14 minutes and more with many different sections were not uncommon.  This was high art..................or something.

FB concedes that even in their heyday they were an acquired taste and sometimes the concept of tuning and intonation are obviously too conventional for their radical approach to their art.  They are very much of their psychedelic time.  Nowadays they are definitely specialist fare.

Remarkably cricket does not feature heavily in their output.  Apart, thinks FB, from one song.  If I was a witch's hat contains the momentous line - 'if I was a witch's hat I'd fly away and be a bat'.

Alas the circketer's interest is left hanging.  What kind of bat is not specified - it would be unlikely to be a Gray Nicolls Scoop or an SS Jumbo which had yet to come on to the market when the song was produced.  It is disappointing that the song is no unspecific, but that is the psychedelic era for you.

On the other hand, perhaps it is not about cricket after all, and another kind of bat is envisaged.  If that were the case, it would be a severe disappointment to FB after all these years.

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