Letters to The Hobbledehoy, October 2022

Aedan writes:

Hi there! Thanks so much for doing the research on “Long Time Sun” and posting your findings. I was told it was an old Celtic prayer, but the way I’ve heard it sung by the yoga people didn’t make much sense. I specialize in Celtic music on Celtic harp, and am glad to finally know it’s origin. Interestingly enough, like Mike Heron, I use it as a closer to performances. After listening to his rendition, like it much better than what I’ve heard. Thanks again!

Hi Aidan!
Thanks for visiting The Hobbledehoy. The post on “Long Time Sun” remains one of The Hobbledehoy’s most popular. Very big fans of Mr. Heron and the Incredible String Band.


Don writes:

Are you aware that Fellini made a movie titled, I Vitelloni. It was translated different ways across the world. In the UK it was translated variously as, The Spivs and The Hobbledehoys! Thought you might like to know. I recently acquired a copy of a theater handout synopsis with that title listed. If interested, I will send you a pic. I will soon upload it to my Fellini website. Cheers

Hi Don!
Thank you for your letter. I did not know that bit about Fellini and The Hobbledehoys – excellent! Good luck with the website on Fellini. I’m a big fan of Nino Rota who contributed music to Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, as well as Coppola’s Godfather trilogy, for which he won an academy award in 1974.


Stella writes:

Hi there. I’m a retired American who just stumbled onto your webpage, and though it hasn’t been updated much lately, it doesn’t look like your dead. That’s a good thing.

I’ve been thinking of trying to do a pub tour of at least some part of the UK, since I’ve expanded my taste in beer and have always wanted to travel more. Searching tours mostly only brings up very costly and busily planned packages, but if I come alone it’s a bit daunting, and not just because you all drive on the wrong side of the road. You seem like a person with a wide enough range of interests to suggest some kind of idea. Would it even be feasible for a blue-haired lady (of the modern kind) to set out alone on this adventurous and liver-challenging quest?

Hi Stella!

The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated! The Hobbledehoy is once again being updated regularly.

I was in Edinburgh a few years back and there are daily tours available featuring Scotch whiskey tastings. Not sure about pub tours, however I’d recommend a night of pint pounding at The Royal Oak (try a pint of “Heavy” a dark Scottish beer.) The Royal Oak is also a great venue to hear folk music. Among those to have performed in this 200 year-old Edinburgh pub have been legendary Scots Billy Connolly, Dick Gaughan, and Hobbledehoy recent favorite Karine Polwart. I would say most Edinburgh pubs would be safe travels for a blue haired lady, though Glasgow – not so much.

Check out this article written by travel authority Rick Steves, Britain’s Pub Hub. We’ve been in Rick’s company many times and enthusiastically recommend his tours. Here’s Rick’s advice for seniors traveling in Europe


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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The Mysterious Disappearance Of Licorice McKechnie

Licorice McKechnie, a musician from the ’60s that performed at Woodstock, mysteriously disappeared around 1990, with no word since.

By Samantha Sanders

Counterculture figures from the ’60s have not been known to lead the most straight-arrow lifestyles, so when a woman who’d not just been at Woodstock but performed there seemingly drops off the face of the Earth, it might be tempting to dismiss the disappearance as just a free spirit following her bliss. But Licorice McKechnie’s trail didn’t go cold in the era of peace and love; she was last heard from in 1990, well after her days on stage had come to an end. Her last-known destination was the Arizona desert, but after that, the trail ends.

According to the blog Woodstock Whisperer, sometime in the early ’60s, McKechnie left her home in Edinburgh, Scotland, to marry fellow Scottish folkie, Bert Jansch. However, the wedding never took place. Yet, the young woman (who would have been somewhere between her late teens and early 20s) did end up connecting with a man named Robin Williamson, who’d assembled a new group called the Incredible String Band, which McKechnie promptly joined.

Though the Incredible String Band, led by Mike Heron and McKechnie’s then-boyfriend, Williamson, was a forerunner of British psychedelia music — and included fans such as Paul McCartney — their reception at Woodstock was lukewarm at best, recalls the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Thanks to some scheduling snafus, the band got bumped from their original performance date and were relegated to a slot on a heavier, all-electric day when fans were less than taken by their style of folk music. In fact, the band got left out of both the soundtrack and film that seemed to document nearly every moment of the iconic festival.

Though McKechnie has been lauded for her ethereal vocals and musical contributions on the organ, the Incredible String Band never seemed to stake out a firm place in the public’s musical consciousness. Like so many other counterculture figures of the time, members of the group, including McKechnie, also got briefly caught up in Scientology, which had a less notorious reputation then than it does now. Still, despite critical acclaim and a seemingly new spiritual outlook, McKechnie left the band (and Williamson) in 1972. By 1974, the remaining members disbanded and the Incredible String Band was no more.

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Recording “Long Time Sun” – Getting It Wrong and Making it Right

By Karan

Growing up in the Kundalini Yoga community, the Long Time Sun song was woven into the fabric of our lives.  Anyone who has taken a Kundalini Yoga class knows it is sung at the end of every class.  But in our communities, we also sang it at the end of  birthday parties and community gatherings and sometimes even before going to sleep at night.  We sometimes sing it at the end of meetings and to end large events.  It has become a way to close almost anything in a positive way.  I don’t remember where it’s origin story first became a part of our collective consciousness, but many of us thought that these words were an old Scottish blessing:

“May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You, All Love Surround You, and the Pure Light within you, guide your way on.”

At some point in my teens, I discovered that the words were originally recorded by the Incredible String Band in 1968.  This didn’t initially seem Continue reading