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The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion

The Incredible String Band

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Album Review

For their second album, the ISB officially downsized to the duo of Mike Heron and Robin Williamson. Lumped in with the psychedelic movement, that categorization was probably more due to the trippy cover graphics, the occasional Indian influences, and the whimsical, sometimes fantasy-ridden lyrical images than the music. It's more like a slightly cosmic version of traditional British folk than psychedelic rock. Although their next album, The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, is usually considered their most adventurous, some listeners may find this to be the more accessible effort. It also featured what is probably Williamson's best-known song, "First Girl I Loved" (also familiar via Judy Collins' cover version, "First Boy I Loved"). [Released in 1967, 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion was released on CD with a bonus track in 2006.]


Formed: 1965 in Scotland

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '90s, '00s

One of the most engaging groups to emerge from the esoteric '60s was the Incredible String Band. Basically the duo of Mike Heron and Robin Williamson, its sound was comprised of haunting Celtic folk melodies augmented by a variety of Middle Eastern and Asian instruments. Heron was a member of several rock bands in England in the early '60s, while Williamson and Clive Palmer played as a bluegrass...
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The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion, The Incredible String Band
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