One of the most
engaging groups to emerge from the esoteric 1960s was the Incredible
String Band. Basically the duo of Mike Heron and Robin Williamson,
its sound was comprised of haunting Celtic folk melodies augmented by a
variety of Middle Eastern and Asian instruments.
Tricks Of The Senses is a double CD compilation of unreleased or rare
Incredible String Band material from the Witchseason and Island Records
archives, and represents a fascinating alternative history of the band.
ISB's Robin Williamson and Mike Heron were fully involved in this
project from the start, and were both impressed by the quality of the
material that was unearthed.
The opening track here, Leadbelly's 'Relax Your Mind', is taken from the
band's own 1966 rehearsal tape, and is the source of the earliest
surviving two-man ISB material.
'Lover Man' (with Danny Thompson on string bass) is an unreleased song
from the band's second album, 5,000 Spirits. 'All Too Much For Me' &
'The Iron Stone' are outtakes from the band's Wee Tam LP. The remainder
of disc 1 features previously unreleased recordings from a 1968 US radio
The second CD starts with 'Penwern', an instrumental which was not used
for the 1969 Be Glad film soundtrack for which it was originally
recorded. 'El Ratto' & 'Long Long Road' are both previously unreleased
recordings from the ISB's 1970 song & dance extravaganza, U, which was
performed at London's Roundhouse Theatre.
'All Writ Down' is an alternative stereo version, featuring an
additional verse. 'Queen Juanita' is a rare outtake
from the band's I Looked Up album issued only on a long-deleted 1976
compilation. 'Poetry Play # 1' is a previously
unreleased 1971 recording. The final two tracks are outtakes from the Earthspan sessions, recorded in 1972.
The accompanying 28 page booklet features exhaustive liner notes,
including a detailed story about the background to this project.