Wee Tam and the Big Huge

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Wee Tam and the Big Huge
Studio album by The Incredible String Band
Released November 1968
Genre Psychedelic folk
Length 86:48
Label Elektra / Warner Music Group
Producer Joe Boyd
The Incredible String Band chronology
The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter
(1968)
Wee Tam and the Big Huge
(1968)
Changing Horses
(1969)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork Media (8.1/10)[2]

Wee Tam and the Big Huge is the fourth album by the Incredible String Band, released in Europe as both a double LP and separate single LPs in November 1968. In the US, however, the two discs were released separately as Wee Tam and The Big Huge.

The album is considered by many to be, along with its predecessor The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, the best work the band ever produced. Consisting of a very varied selection of songs by Robin Williamson and Mike Heron, with intriguing and poetic lyrics, the album is rich with eclectic and adept instrumentation and arrangements. Around 15 instruments are featured, played mainly by the two band members Williamson and Heron but also, in supporting roles, on a few tracks by Rose Simpson and Licorice McKechnie.

Williamson explained the title as follows:- "I saw a man with a huge big dog, [and] we knew somebody called Wee Tam, in Edinburgh. It seemed like it was a good idea in terms of one person looking up at the stars - Wee Tam and the Big Huge, just like the vastness of the universe."[3]

Background[edit]

The Incredible String Band were fairly busy in the latter half of 1968. With their popularity and reputation growing on both sides of the Atlantic, they began selling out large venues like the Fillmore and the Royal Albert Hall. In November 1968, Wee Tam and the Big Huge was released. It was the band's most ambitious album to date, conceived as a double LP. The album reflected an even wider variety of influences than the previous two releases and was packed to overflowing with classic songs. It was a first for the band in that it was recorded as an ensemble, i.e. with less overdubs than before and much more use of Rose Simpson and Licorice McKechnie, (girlfriends of the two respective songwriters at that time).[3]

Track listing[edit]

Disc one (Wee Tam)[edit]

Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Job's Tears"   Williamson 6:40
2. "Puppies"   Heron 5:30
3. "Beyond the See"   Heron 2:16
4. "The Yellow Snake"   Williamson 2:04
5. "Log Cabin Home in the Sky"   Heron 4:00
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "You Get Brighter"   Heron 5:44
2. "The Half-Remarkable Question"   Williamson 5:01
3. "Air"   Heron 3:12
4. "Ducks on a Pond"   Williamson 9:17

Disc two (The Big Huge)[edit]

Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Maya"   Williamson 9:24
2. "Greatest Friend"   Heron 3:30
3. "The Son of Noah's Brother"   Williamson 0:16
4. "Lordly Nightshade"   Williamson 5:13
5. "The Mountain of God"   Williamson 1:51
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Cousin Caterpillar"   Heron 5:15
2. "The Iron Stone"   Williamson 6:33
3. "Douglas Traherne Harding"   Heron 6:15
4. "The Circle Is Unbroken"   Williamson 4:47

Personnel[edit]

  • Robin Williamson - lead vocals ("Job’s Tears", "The Yellow Snake", "The Half-Remarkable Question", "Ducks on a Pond", "Maya", "The Son of Noah’s Brother", "Lordly Nightshade", "The Mountain of God", "The Iron Stone" & "The Circle is Unbroken"); guitar ("Job’s Tears", "Puppies", "The Yellow Snake","The Half-Remarkable Question", "Ducks on a Pond", "Maya", "Greatest Friend", "The Son of Noah’s Brother", "Lordly Nightshade" & "The Iron Stone"); bass guitar ("Puppies", "Beyond the See", "Maya" & "Cousin Caterpillar"); guimbri ("Puppies" & "Beyond the See"); percussion ("Puppies", "The Half-Remarkable Question" & "Douglas Traherne Harding"; sarangi ("The Yellow Snake"); violin ("Log Cabin Home in the Sky" & "Douglas Traherne Harding"); harpsichord ("You Get Brighter"); piano ("Ducks on a Pond" & "Lordly Nightshade"); organ ("The Mountain of God"); flute ("Air"); kazoo & bass drum ("Ducks on a Pond"); whistle ("Beyond the See" "Lordly Nightshade", "Douglas Traherne Harding" & "The Circle is Unbroken"); harmonica ("Greatest Friend"); Irish harp ("The Circle is Unbroken"); drums ("Lordly Nightshade")
  • Mike Heron - lead vocals ("Puppies", "Log Cabin Home in the Sky", "You Get Brighter", "Air", "Greatest Friend", "Cousin Caterpillar" & "Douglas Traherne Harding"); guitar ("Puppies", "Log Cabin Home in the Sky", "You Get Brighter", "Air", "Cousin Caterpillar" & "Douglas Traherne Harding"); bass guitar ("Puppies"); sitar ("Puppies", "The Yellow Snake", "The Half-Remarkable Question", "Maya" & "The Iron Stone"); organ ("Beyond the See", "Air", "The Son of Noah’s Brother" & "The Circle is Unbroken"); harpsichord ("Beyond the See"); washboard ("Log Cabin Home in the Sky"); percussion ("Ducks on a Pond" & "Lordly Nightshade"); harmonica ("Ducks on a Pond")
  • Rose Simpson - violin ("Log Cabin Home in the Sky"); percussion ("Maya", "Cousin Caterpillar" & "The Iron Stone"); backing vocals
  • Licorice McKechnie - percussion ("Maya" & "The Iron Stone"); Irish harp ("The Iron Stone"); backing vocals

Charts[edit]

Chart Album Entry
date
Peak
position
Weeks charted
The Billboard 200[4] Wee Tam March 22, 1969 174 3
The Billboard 200 The Big Huge March 22, 1969 180 3

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  3. ^ a b Adrian Whittaker (ed.), Be Glad: The Incredible String Band Compendium, 2003, ISBN 1-900924-64-1
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel; Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Albums, 1955-1996; p. 366. ISBN 0898201179