Incredible String Band
The only UK group of any reputation signed to Elektra until Jac Holzman signed Queen in 1972, The Incredible String Band were the ultimate, eclectic folk act, produced by Joe Boyd, then running Elektra’s London office. After one, essentially traditional folk album, recorded as a trio, the duo of Mike Heron and Robin Williamson veered off into a more esoteric direction.
Utilizing unfamiliar instrumentation, 1967’s 5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion saw them become darlings of the UK underground scene. 5000 Spirits was effectively the Sgt. Pepper of the folk world with its genre defining psychedelic sleeve. The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter repeated the mix of unconventional instrumentation, mystery and spirituality and even went Top Five in the UK.
Thereafter, The Incredible String Band, now augmented by the pair’s girlfriends Rose and Licorice, adapted a fuller sound on Wee Tam & The Big Huge, a double album, which broadened their base in America, graduating from folk clubs to playing the famous Fillmore on both coasts.
The group was soon combining an even more rock-oriented sound with an ambitious show that featured dance troupe Stone Monkey. It culminated in the surreal U, intended as the soundtrack the show they staged in London and San Francisco.