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Changing Horses/I Looked Up


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Audio CD, September 10, 2002
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$43.96
$43.96 $16.97

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Changing Horses/I Looked Up + Earthspan/No Ruinous Feud + Live at the Fillmore 1968
Price for all three: $76.94

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 10, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: 1969
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Collector's Choice
  • ASIN: B00006BC51
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,341 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Big Ted
2. White Bird
3. Dust Be Diamonds
4. Sleepers, Awake!
5. Mr. & Mrs.
6. Creation
Disc: 2
1. Black Jack Davy
2. The Letter
3. Pictures In A Mirror
4. This Moment
5. When You Find Out Who You Are
6. Fair As You

Editorial Reviews

This double-disc Collectors' Choice reissue pairs 1969's Changing Horses with the following year's I Looked Up. Although generally regarded as two of the Incredible String Band's sub-standard efforts, the albums have an appealing looseness and sense of fun which nicely balances the often over-serious nature of the band's always strange mix of British folk and psychedelia. With two tracks topping the 15-minute mark in length, the first comes off like a rambling, drunken living-room jam session. This version of the Incredible String Band included two women, Rose and Liquorice, who add some nice, high vocal harmonies to the standard Mike Heron/Robin Williamson sound. I Looked Up finds the band occasionally edging closer to more conventional rock; Mike Heron's "The Letter" almost approaches country-rock, with drums by Dave Mattacks of Fairport Convention. The gap between Heron and Williamson's writing approaches seemed a little wider than usual, with Williamson maintaining the mystical, drawn-out folk approach and Heron carving out a somewhat earthier style (his "Black Jack Davy" is a hoedown almost suitable for square dancing). ~ Pemberton Roach & Jimmy James, Rovi

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By K. Brown on November 21, 2002
Format: Audio CD
SO GLAD to see the Incredible String Band CDs released again! The only potential drawback is nabbing two ISB albums, not always on the same level.
As much as I love The Incredible String Band, "Changing Horses" is one of those releases that I spun over and over, and each time it left me flat. While I wouldn't call it horrible music, it comes off as a long studio session in need of some quality editing. Songs like "Dust Be Diamonds" and "White Bird" ring like songs that start off with promise but wind up with nowhere to go.
"I Looked Up," on the other hand, is prime ISB! Blackjack Davey is an upbeat ballad that will spin through your head after just one sampling. On the other end of the mood spectrum, "Pictures In a Mirror," is the chilling narrative of Lord Randall awaiting and experiencing his execution in a hallowed jail. This is the perfect song to play to a room full of friends (friends who, preferably, are unfamiliar with the Incredible String Band!) during a late night blackout (a thunderstorm outside outside helps too!) I've tried it, and it creeps out my compadres without fail!
"I Looked Up" is a solid album all around. If you are new to The Incredible String Band, and want to pick up the best of these double-CD compilations, I recommend "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter/5000 Spirits" combo.
Despite my lackluster opinion of "Changing Horses," this CD is worth the price for "I Looked Up" alone. And, in all fairness, The Incredible String Band went through a lot of phases; some fans like their earlier releases, some prefer the later albums that introduced electrical instruments into the band's repetoire. This combo is a good dose of two sounds of ISB. Who knows, maybe you will find something hep in "Changing Horses" that escaped me?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By The Devonian on December 31, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I have just read the other review for this item and, sometime after the fact, thought I would put a completely opposite point of view. While I Looked Up is okay, and nothing more (neck and neck with No Ruinous Feud in the Least Enjoyable ISB Album Stakes), Changing Horses is a near masterpiece that pays repeated listening. It is obviously not in the same league as such monumental classics as Wee Tam & The Big Huge, Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, etc., but that does not diminish its plus points:

1. Big Ted: whimsical, amusing, take it on its own terms and be entertained.

2. White Bird: a prolonged joy. Not as rambling and unfocused as it seems if the original Indian music is listened to. Sheer beauty. So uplifting it's almost painful!

3. Dust Be Diamonds: more whimsy, slight but still enjoyable.

4. Sleepers, Awake!: I just love this song.

5. Mr. and Mrs.: the low point of the album but not as low as some critics would have you believe. Quite tolerable.

6. Creation: possibly Robin Williamson's finest ISB related hour. A masterwork without a doubt!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bruce P. Barten on June 24, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Hopefully those who get these two CDs in a single set will be able to appreciate this music without worrying much about which song is on which CD. I am used to hearing some of these songs at the end of a 2-record set called `Relics of the Incredible String Band.' "This Moment" seemed like the perfect ending for that attempt to capture the joys of existence in songs. "I just want to tell each one of you that each note, it is different from any before it, each note, it is different, it's now." Getting more songs after that is like Richard Brautigan trying to come up with 186,000 endings per second for the novel A CONFEDERATE GENERAL FROM BIG SUR. "Fair As You" is a nice, soft, flutey ending, stating the impossibility of having a song which is as fair as you. The eleven minutes penultimately placed between those two songs provides the sentimental message, "`When You Find Out Who You Are' beautiful beyond your dreams." I think that message is sentimental, but my mood might be influenced as much by the spirit in which these songs are sung and float in my memory. Some of their themes might make you feel like you are in church, and if you like `Sleepers, Awake!' you should probably get up on Sunday mornings and see how the church choir is doing. Modern peer to peer filesharing habits are like the chorus of `Dust Be Diamonds:' "buy for a million and sell for a dime." These are the songs by the Incredible String Band that I heard first, because I did not discover the group until 1970, and everyone I knew then was moving so much, no one had a complete collection of anything. If you never heard the Incredible String Band, starting with this set might be good enough so you'll never forget them.
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