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3.7 out of 5 stars6
3.7 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 February 2009
Way back in the 1970s, I met someone who claimed to have seen this film in a village hall halfway up a mountain in North Yorkshire during a rainstorm. Decades spun by and I despaired of ever seeing it myself. Then, lo and behold, a VHS release, followed by DVD. Yay! I now have both.
Be warned that this film is a very hippy artefact, replete with much long hair adorning both men and women, many strange and flowered costumes, much fey dialogue, peace and love. Personally, having been 14 in 1967, I love all this stuff. In my youth, I longed to hitchhike to Scotland and join the Incredible String Band in the Edinburgh idyll this film so lovingly documents (actually, I think it's mostly filmed in Wales, but I'd heard they came from Edinburgh so that's where I wanted to go). Seeing Mike and Robin, Rose and Licorice and their friends looning through the heather in fairytale dress making mystical gestures reminds me why I had that dream. The whole atmosphere of the film sings of the blissful possibilities we all believed in then. Cynicism had no place in the ISB universe, nor has it any place in this review. Oh yes, and the musical sections are great, there are bucket-loads of wonderful, whacky humour on display and the whole thing is a joyous reminder of wonderful times and of a truly great, truly original, truly incredible string band.
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on 5 August 2002
If you're a fan you probably have this already, if not you are probably better starting off with an album like 5000 Spirits. The first half of this is a documentary including some concert footage and a great "video" performance of The Iron Stone; the second half sees them enacting a fable on a Welsh hillside through the medium of mime. The first half is excellent, the second half is a load of old twaddle (though still quite endearing).
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on 4 March 2003
As someone who owned the original LP of "Be glad", I was looking forward to hearing again those great old songs (Vishangro, Come with me, All writ down) but they have not been included in this DVD. The only survivor from the LP's side 1 is a truncated "See all the people".
For the rest, the DVD is great for nostalgia buffs and really gives a feel of what the late 60s were like at the 'hippy' end of the spectrum, but the DVD is rather bad value - only about 40 mins and crying out for some decent 'extras'.
If you already have the first 6 or 7 albums, buy this as a bonus: otherwise your money is better spent on the music.
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on 22 April 2010
I saw this in the summer of 1970 in a small London theatre; 40 years later it does not appear ridiculous or self-indulging at all - not at all! All Writ Down and The Iron Stone, the latter a sort of Reincarnation Anthem unthinkable today but natural and unembarassing in those days are very good full sequence live performances, whereas The Pirate and the Crystal Ball is a short story settled in no less than a sort of Old Norse-Ancient Chinese context with some uplifting instrumental music with chorus not unlike George Harrison's Wonderwall Music. A bit short.
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on 18 January 2007
I suspect those who didnt like this were xpecting a live/concert thing?

No: this is a wonderfuly imagistic 'portrait' of the band. The first part features interviews with Heron and Williamson (remarkable flashes of youthful wisdom). The second part features a mythological fable with Herne The Hunter, dolmens, and beautiful hippygirls. Evocative images bypass rational thought and connect directly to ones emotions and higher self. This is a wonderfully Pagan xperience. Magick in every sense of the word!
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on 16 September 2010
I first heard ISB in their 60s heyday and was knocked out by their unique blend of Celtic folk and oriental influences. There's simply nothing else like it. Two brilliant musicians and songwriters, and their music sounds just as fresh today. I had this album on vinyl and had nearly worn it out, so to get a pristine Cd version was a huge bonus. It's probably their most completely rounded album, with Robin and Mike at the height of their abilities, and time has not taken any of its edge away. The Archbishop of Canterbury says they're his favourite band - the guy has taste!
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