You Know What You Could Be review – a Scottish tale of psychedelic folk

 

This enjoyable joint memoir by Mike Heron and Andrew Greig has at its centre late 60s hippiedom and the Incredible String Band

This book is a freak, a fairground mermaid, half monkey, half fish. It is therefore entirely in keeping with its subject, the Incredible String Band, the 1960s group that was never quite one thing nor another – folk or rock or world music – but always a mingling of influences, voices and styles.

You Know What You Could Be is a joint memoir, at times a joints memoir, written by the String Band’s Mike Heron and the poet Andrew Greig. Despite being the marquee name and main draw, Heron here plays the support act in his own story. His contribution comes first and takes up not quite a third of the book. He sometimes uses the present tense (“I’m back at the drug emporium two days later”) to describe the years between 1957, when he is a 15-year-old Edinburgh schoolboy, and 1966, when he is on the brink of becoming a star. Greig picks up the story in the late autumn of ’67, writing in the past tense about how he, still at school in Fife, had his mind blown by the String Band [ . . . ]

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The Incredible String Band on German TV’s Beat Club

By Johnny Foreigner

Here’s a three song playlist from The Incredible String Band’s performance on the German TV show Beat Club, recorded September 1970 but not broadcast.

Beat Club was a German music program that ran from September 1965 to December 1972. Co-created by Gerhard Augustin and Mike Leckebusch, the show premiered in 1965 with Augustin and Uschi Nerke hosting.

By the time the Incredible String Band performed, the series was known for incorporating psychedelic (read: cheesy) visual effects during the taped performances. This one is no exception.

The band is in fine form here, still having fun  -despite being recently introduced to Scientology and the crooked music business. As the Scotsman will toast, “To honest men and bonnie lassies!” Well, the lassies were bonnie, anyway.

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