[11 November 2008]
During the late sixties and early seventies, the Incredible String Band was at the center of the British folk rock movement. When the group broke up, cofounder Robin Williamson left the UK for the sunny climes of California and launched a new combo called Robin Williamson & His Merry Band. Their first album, originally released on the Flying Fish label in 1976, was a wonderful mix of instrumental Celtic music and balmy lyrics. Williamson and company sound like they are having fun and the feeling is infectious throughout. Much of this is due to the way Williamson accentuates his words. Sometimes they gracefully roll off his tongue, other times they trip out in fits and starts, next he starts to wail and howl like a man possessed. The other reason is the orchestral virtuosity of the players, especially Sylvia Woods on harp and Chris Caswell on a host of other instruments. This has been a sought after collector’s item for decades. Now it has been re-released with 10 previously unavailable bonus cuts.