The Incredible String Band

Changing Horses/I Looked Up

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This double-disc Collectors' Choice reissue pairs 1969's Changing Horses with the following year's I Looked Up. Although generally regarded as two of the Incredible String Band's sub-standard efforts, the albums have an appealing looseness and sense of fun which nicely balances the often over-serious nature of the band's always strange mix of British folk and psychedelia. With two tracks topping the 15-minute mark in length, the first comes off like a rambling, drunken living-room jam session. This version of the Incredible String Band included two women, Rose and Liquorice, who add some nice, high vocal harmonies to the standard Mike Heron/Robin Williamson sound. I Looked Up finds the band occasionally edging closer to more conventional rock; Mike Heron's "The Letter" almost approaches country-rock, with drums by Dave Mattacks of Fairport Convention. The gap between Heron and Williamson's writing approaches seemed a little wider than usual, with Williamson maintaining the mystical, drawn-out folk approach and Heron carving out a somewhat earthier style (his "Black Jack Davy" is a hoedown almost suitable for square dancing).

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