The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion


The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion

Infobox Album |
Name = The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion
Type = Album
Artist = The Incredible String Band


Released = July 1967
Recorded = 1967
Genre = Psych folk
Length = 50:10
Label = Elektra / WEA
Producer = Joe Boyd
Reviews =
*Allmusic Rating|4.5|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:ozri282c052a link] |
Chronology = Incredible String Band
Last album = "The Incredible String Band" (1966)| This album = "The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion" (1967)
Next album = "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" (1968)

"The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion" was the second LP by The Incredible String Band, released in July 1967.

Since recording their debut album the previous year, the original trio had been reduced to two, Mike Heron and Robin Williamson. They recorded "The 5000 Spirits..." in London in early 1967. The album also featured Pentangle's Danny Thompson on double bass, Williamson's girlfriend Licorice McKechnie on vocals and percussion, master sitar player Nazir Jairazbhoy (credited as "Soma"), and, on piano, counter-culture activist John "Hoppy" Hopkins, who had just set up London's UFO Club with the album's producer, Joe Boyd.Adrian Whittaker (ed.), "Be Glad: The Incredible String Band Compendium", 2003, ISBN 1-900924-64-1]

The album demonstrated considerable musical development and a more unified ISB sound. It displayed their abilities as multi-instrumentalists and singer-songwriters, and gained them wide acclaim. The album went to Number One in the UK folk chart, and was named by Paul McCartney as one of his favourite records of that year. [Walter Everett, "The Beatles As Musicians: Revolver Through The Anthology", 1999, p. 97, ISBN 0-19512-941-5]

The lyrics, the band's various Indian and Arabian instruments, and the striking cover art by The Fool, lead to it being placed as a psychedelic work. Much of the music itself, however, draws more widely on traditional British folk music. The album included Heron's "The Hedgehog's Song", Williamson's "First Girl I Loved", later recorded by Judy Collins, Jackson Browne and Don Partridge, and his "The Mad Hatter's Song". With its mixture of musical styles, the album paved the way for the band's more extended forays into psychedelia, while also containing whimsical references to talking clouds and a magic Christmas tree.

In 2002, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, chose "The Hedgehog's Song" for his appearance on the BBC radio programme "Desert Island Discs". [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/desertislanddiscs_20021222.shtml BBC Radio 4 - Factual - Desert Island Discs - 22 December 2002 ] ] He described the chorus - "Oh, you know all the words, and you sung all the notes / But you never quite learned the song she sang / I can tell by the sadness in your eyes / That you never quite learned the song" - as "a powerful summing-up of life and relationships".Adrian Whittaker (ed.), "Be Glad: The Incredible String Band Compendium", 2003, ISBN 1-900924-64-1]

Track listing

Side A
#"Chinese White" (Mike Heron) – 3:40
#"No Sleep Blues" (Robin Williamson) – 3:53
#"Painting Box" (Heron) – 4:04
#"The Mad Hatter's Song" (Williamson) – 5:40
#"Little Cloud" (Heron) – 4:05
#"The Eyes of Fate" (Williamson) – 4:02

Side B
#"Blues for the Muse" (Williamson) – 2:49
#"The Hedgehog's Song" (Heron) – 3:30
#"First Girl I Loved" (Williamson) – 4:55
#"You Know What You Could Be" (Heron) – 2:46
#"My Name Is Death" (Williamson) – 2:46
#"Gently Tender" (Heron) – 4:49
#"Way Back in the 1960s" (Williamson) – 3:11

Personnel

* Robin Williamson - Vocals, guitar, mandolin, oud, gimbri, flute, bass guitar, percussion
* Mike Heron - Vocals, guitar, harmonica
* Licorice McKechnie - Vocals, percussion
* Danny Thompson - Double bass
* John Hopkins - Piano
* Soma (Nazir Jairazbhoy)Adrian Whittaker (ed.), "Be Glad: The Incredible String Band Compendium", 2003, ISBN 1-900924-64-1] [ [http://www.ethnomusic.ucla.edu/people/jairazbhoy.htm Nazir Jairazbhoy ] ] - Sitar, tamboura

References

External links

* [http://isb.bakkevold.com/5000spirits.html Lyrics]


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