The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter
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The Incredible String Band's 4th studio album 'The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter' is available here on limited edition blue, white, and black mixed vinyl.
In 1963 Robin Williamson and Clive Palmer began performing together as a traditional folk duo in at the Crown Bar in Edinburgh that regularly featured Bert Jansch. In 1965, Joe Boyd, working as a talent scout for the folk-based Elektra Records first saw them play. The duo filled out their sound to a trio and added rhythm guitarist Mike Heron as well as taking the name, “Incredible String Band” later that year. In 1966 they became the house band when Clive Palmer established Clive’s Incredible Folk Club in Glasgow. When Joe Boyd was tapped as head of Elektra’s London offices, he went back and signed the band, beating out a rival bid from Transatlantic Records. Their self-titled debut album released in May of 1966 won “Folk Album Of The Year” in Melody Maker and Bob Dylan praised “October Song” as being one of his favorite songs of the period. In November of 1966 Heron and Willamson embarked on a UK tour as a duo when Palmer left after recording the first record. Joe Boyd became their manager and producer and secured them a spot at the Newport Folk Festival with Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. In July of 1967 they released their second album, “The 5000 Spirits Or the Layers of the Onion” which included Pentangle’s Danny Thompson on bass and displayed the duo’s abilities as blossoming multi-instrumentalists and singer song writers. Their eventual exposure on John Peel’s Perfumed Garden radio show and later on BBC’s Top Gear made them favorites with the emerging UK underground audience. The album went on to #1 in the UK folk chart and was named by Paul McCartney as one of his favorite records of that year. 1968 would be an amazing year for the band as they would release their two most celebrated records: The Hangman’s Beautiful
Daughter and Wee Tam and the Big Huge. Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter reached the top 5 in the UK album charts soon after release in March 1968 and was nominated for a Grammy in the US. Robert Plant has said that Led Zeppelin found their way by playing Hangman’s and following the instructions. The album relied more heavily on a layered production with imaginative use of multi-track recording techniques. The album featured a series of dreamlike Williamson songs such as “The Minotaur’s Song,” a 13 minute reflection on life, love and amoebas. By 1968 the group was filling major venues in the UK and the US, including Royal Albert Hall and the Fillmore Auditoriums in NY and San Francisco. ISB was rooted in conventional folk and pop but their experimentation with musical form, instrumentation and styles led them down innovative and eclectic roads. In 1967-68 they were described as pop music’s avant-garde and were compared to the Beatles. Williamson has claimed that as both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones saw them play before Sgt. Pepper and Their Satanic Majesties Request albums were recorded, that ISB was an influence on those records. Following in the footsteps of ISB, Led Zeppelin later successfully incorporated Moroccan rhythms into their songs. They are easily one of the most important bands to emerge from the underground folk scene of the 1960s.