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4.7 out of 5 stars13
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 10 April 2010
Of all the breakthrough albums of the Sixties, this is surely one of the most innovative and lasting achievements.
Celtic, Renaissance, African, Indian, Appalachian: a fusion of styles and instrumental colours adorn a range of novel structures in song-writing's equivalent to the Cambrian explosion . The wide-eyed energy and confidence of the newly-reformed 1967 ISB is exhilaratingly captured in this beautiful remastered re-issue. Essential for anyone interested in folk, psychedelia or world music.
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on 13 May 2010
Newly remastered versions of classic ISB albums! Great. Bought 'em all. Like I always do. Anyone more than remotely familiar with the ISB will know that the first albums are simply of must-own quality, and not just for the hippie type - these recordings rank among the most original recordings in the history of "pop" music. Period.

Now to the "but" in my review's title. It may be that my ears lack a certain subtlety or my speakers are way inferior to those present in other people's homes, but comparing the cd's I already owned to the newly remastered ones I was a bit disappointed - soundwise I couldn't hear that much difference.
On the positive side, the packaging of each album is really nice with an informative booklet, each containing an introduction by Clive Palmer (1st album), Mike Heron (5000 spirits), Robin Williamson (hangman's) and Joe Boyd (wee tam & the big huge), nice pictures & photos and lyrics. So I'm slightly mollified. And not really sorry.

With which I'm trying to say to you, weighing up whether to buy or not to buy,that you simply must get these remastered versions if you've got no copy at all, and may think again if you do - see if you can resist the temptation.
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on 20 April 2010
I have bought 3 of these reissues to date ( Hangman's, Wee Tam + The Big Huge + this one ) and to my ears this has the best re-mastering, perhaps because the original Vinyl was always a bit of a challenge (mainly because of the relatively simple recording equipment and some fairly ''exotic'' sounds I should guess) this one seems to have produced the most obvious improvement in sound quality over previous CD issues - some distortion inevitably remains but overall the sound has been cleaned and sharpened very well. As with all the others, the packaging is very good with some lovely photographs and all the lyrics. If you need a copy of this, this is the one to go for - and unlike the others I have bought, I would say this is a definate improvement in sound quality from previous CD versions.
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on 31 October 2013
I'd have bought this album just for The Hedgehog Song but listening to the whole thing again after some years (I have it on Vinyl) I still love the album. Quirky, sure! But in parts delicate, sensitive and impactful its an album that you listen to, not just have on.
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VINE VOICEon 21 March 2012
Elektra are best known for their folk roster, particularly the Greenwich Village crowd, but they didn't have anyone else like ISB. Numbering a young Billy Connolly among their fans, they're almost ill-served by a generic tag; they made their own rules. Bob Dylan, who is referenced on 'Way Back In The 1960s', once famously commented that he was after a 'wild mercury' sound. Well, that's exactly what ISB had. The melody lines of each voice and instrument digress elusively, yet their songs somehow never fall apart.

Mike Heron and Robin Williamson sing in gentle Scottish accents while seemingly attempting to play every instrument known to man and a few that haven't yet been invented. Well, perhaps they didn't quite go that far here, but guitar, sitar, flute, fiddle, piano and basic percussion all work busily away in their hands. I confess I don't quite know what they're singing about a lot of the time, but they put a smile on one's face.

The direction their songs take is unpredictable. 'No Sleep Blues' doesn't sound like blues. 'Mad Hatter's Song' begins like a raga then becomes blues in the middle. Many of the songs feature unusual or nonsensical vocal parts which add colour. The more humorous material is featured in the early tracks, the later tracks such as 'First Girl' being more intense.

'5000 Spirits', like all of their albums, languishes in the shadow of its successor, 'The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter' but is wonderful in its own right. You might hate it, but if not you'll want to acquire all their other albums from this period.
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This CD really is the quintessential 60s album.
It covers many of the influences that bands of that era were into, Indian, folk, blues etc.
The songwriting is always interesting and keeps you captured.

I was overwhelmed how great this album was crafted and produced.

It's a real shame these guys lost their zest after each subsequent release.

Hangman's Beautiful Daughter is also a great album but is far more challenging to listen to.

This is as good as they get!
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on 28 July 2013
Released in the summer of 1967 'The 5000 Spirits' stands alongside 'Sergeant Pepper' and 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' as a psychedelic classic. Highlights are 'Chinese White', 'The Mad Hatter's Song' and 'The Eyes of Fate' which, with their exotic instrumentation, mystical lyrics and unorthodox structures, could be classed as early examples of progressive rock.
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on 17 April 2012
I first came across this album listening to John Peel's Perfume Garden radio prog. 'First Girl that I loved ' was the track he played and that song was a 'wow' .

Consequently I bought the album and just fell in love with the whole collection of songs and the album cover worth the price just for that!!

Have got it on cd but vinyl is the true way to listen to it. I bought this copy for my son who like me thinks there is something magical about it.
He loves 'The Hedgehogs Song' mainly because I played it to him when he was about 7 or 8.

If you like folk, blues, world music and just good tunes with meaningful lyrics get this album after a couple of plays you won't be dissapointed
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on 8 October 2010
You either love or loathe the incredible string band. If you loathe them you don't know what you're missing. If you love them then you may have an idea already that this is them at their absolute best. - along with

Hangman's Beautiful Daughter Hangman's Beautiful Daughter


Wee Tam/the Big Huge by Incredible String Band Wee Tam/the Big Huge
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on 16 January 2011
If you had this album in the 60s you'll definitely want it again and if you didn't then you missed a treat.
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