Pullin’ ‘Tubes Theater Presents: The Incredible String Band – Be Glad For The Song Has No Ending

Since we’re in the midst of that ambiguous zone of the year where we are a few weeks away from any notable new releases coming our way, it seems like the right time to head back to the Pullin’ ‘Tubes Theater to offer up a semi-obscure music doc that has resurfaced in the last few months – The Incredible String Band: Be Glad for the Song Has No Ending. While The Incredible String Band may not illicit the instant recognition that many of their contemporaries do, the band was at the center of England’s psychedelic-folk movement in the late-1960′s, alongside the likes of Fairport Convention, Pentangle, Nick Drake and Steeleye Span. Fusing traditional English and Irish folk music with Indian and Middle Eastern sounds, all filtered through a wash of acid-drenched weirdness, The Incredible String Band were critics darlings in England starting with the release of their self-titled debut in 1966, which was named Folk Album Of The Year by Melody Maker.

The band peaked in popularity in 1968, with the release of Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter (which peaked at #5 on the UK charts) and the double LP Wee Tam & Big Huge, playing large venues of both sides of the Atlantic, as well as being featured on the bill at Woodstock, where they refused to play during a downpour on Friday night. They eventually performed on Saturday in between Creedence Clearwater Revival and Canned Heat. In 1970, ISB released Be Glad For The Song Has No Ending which was filmed during this period.

The first half of 50-minute doc, which you can read a fantastic review of here, features interviews with the band’s principle songwriters,  Robin Williamson and Mike Heron, as well as some remarkable live performance footage showcasing their enchanting brand of folk music. Things get quite weird and super trippy in the second half thanks to an elaborate B-movie fantasy sequence entitled “The Pirate & The Crystal Ball: A Fable.” So sit back and enjoy this trip in the way back machine…

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