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Myrrh
Robin Williamson
Myrrh
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop
 
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

Digitally remastered re-release of 1972 album by one half of the Incredible String Band, this first solo album by Williamson was critically acclaimed at the time of its release. His Celtic/Folk Rock style has pleased audi...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Robin Williamson
Title: Myrrh
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Bgo
Original Release Date: 1/1/2004
Re-Release Date: 8/9/2004
Album Type: Enhanced, Import, Original recording remastered
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop
Styles: British & Celtic Folk, Singer-Songwriters
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1

Synopsis

Album Description
Digitally remastered re-release of 1972 album by one half of the Incredible String Band, this first solo album by Williamson was critically acclaimed at the time of its release. His Celtic/Folk Rock style has pleased audiences for many years following this album's first appearance and as The Incredible String Band continue on in the new century.

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CD Reviews

STILL A PRECIOUS GIFT
Larry L. Looney | Austin, Texas USA | 06/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For thousands of years, myrrh has been given as an offering, a precious gift meant to honor. This album from Robin Williamson, his first solo effort after years of memorable work with the groundbreaking, eclectic, unclassifiable Incredible String Band, is aptly named -- for it is his gift to the listener, his heart and soul on a vinyl (at least, in 1972) platter. In the early 1970s, the ISB were going through a turbulent time -- their breakup was emminent due to pressures originating both within and without the confines of the group. I haven't read much from Robin himself on his reasons for making this record -- perhaps he just needed some time away, to step back from his musical life within the group to reassess his direction -- but whatever those reasons may have been, I'm glad he did it. It has remained one of my favorites throughout the last nearly 30 years since its release.The influences we hear on this disc are legion -- as always in Robin's work, and the instruments he utilizes are equally many (guitars, mandolin, violin, bass, various flutes, bironne, chanter, bouzouki, piano, cello, oboe, and sundry percussives). There are also tasteful contributions from Stan Lee Buttons, Gerry Conway and Janet Williamson. His themes are many, as we have also come to expect -- he touches on the magic and the mystical, the sacred and the profane. And everything is done with care and with style, the arrangements ever complementary to the lyrical content.The album begins with a composition by a long-time friend of Williamson, Ivan Pawle (of the equally-eclectic and unpredictable band Dr. Strangely Strange) -- 'Strings in the earth and air' is a perfect opener, one of the most beautiful songs Robin has ever recorded, indeed one of the most moving I've ever heard from anyone. It sets the mood for the album perfectly, invoking images of music, nature, love and beauty -- it's very reminiscent of some of the work of Dylan Thomas (very appropriate in view of Robin's latest release, THE SEED-AT-ZERO) and James Joyce.The following track, 'Rends-moi demain' ('Give me tomorrow'), is a pure love song, written by Robin and sung in French, straight from the heart: '...for you I erase the past, for you I write the hours...' It's given a gentle, simple arrangement, Robin's guitar and vocals being underscored delicately by Stan Lee Buttons' perfectly understated, quiet lines on pedal steel.Next we have 'The dancing of the Lord of Weir', one of the album's standout tracks, wherein Robin returns to one of his more mystical moods, accompanied by intstruments that underscore the sense of other-worldiness and magic that fill the story told. Magical forest-dwelling beings who have managed to peacefully co-exist with man for centuries return to their cave one evening to find that one of their own has been kidnapped, '...she is stolen, she is snatched away, through watery meads straying, our lovely daughter -- she of the wild eyes, she of the wild hair -- snatched up to the saddle of the Lord of Weir...' The story that follows, of the infiltration of Weir's castle, the spells that are cast, and the recovery of the kidnapped princess, make for one of the most chilling and entertaining tales of its kind.'Will we open the heavens' speaks brilliantly to the ever-interlocking themes of creation, nature, love, life and eternity, ending with another delcaration of the love that dwells at the center of us all, that holy place, 'I love you in spirit and in earth, through all and beyond -- until sweet kindness fills all space, quieting the howling stars'. 'Through the horned clouds' speaks to me of the relationship between the Divine and Mankind -- humans crying out eternally for sight and deliverance from afar, when all we really have to do is to look within ourselves with eyes and hearts open to all possibilities. 'He comes again, She comes again -- through the mist of time, through the mist of rain. No more words, my heart brims over, in the sea of circumstance rows for the rocky shore'.The next track, 'Sandy land', speaks again to the human condition, of making the best of what we are given, of the dangers of following old roads just because they are there.'Cold harbour' is definitely one of the most esoteric arrangements on the album -- it harkens back to some of Robin's earlier compositions with the ISB, such as 'The eyes of Fate'. He again addresses the Divine (I think...), recognizing the truth in the Mystery -- 'Please never name yourself to me -- enough lies we see, even the moonlight', rejoicing in the knowledge that Truth, once found, can never be taken away: '...it seems there will be no more goodbyes for you and I, dearest companions', and that this Truth will be opened to all of us in time: 'I know that you will understand...no one will be left behind when we leave Cold Harbour'.Souls being repeatedly drawn together through successive lives is the theme of 'Dark eyed lady' -- '...you are the one I loved before...I always knew I would meet you again. I believe you are my long-lost friend, I will know you when time has an end and love continues to begin'. 'Dark dance', an instrumental, follows this song, wordlessly continuing the mood, allowing the listener time to ponder.The disc's final track, 'I see us all get home', restates the idea that enlightenment will lie at the end of the worldly struggle of each person, each creature -- 'I see us in a lovely place, I see us naked of lies together, I see us naked of disgrace, I see trust born in us through honor, and I see peace come -- and if i don't get it wrong, I see us all get home'. The arrangement and tune that accompany these words are very uplifting and joyful, as befits the message, ending the cd on a definitely positive note.This is not the stuff top 40 radio is made of -- and that's a good thing. I can't imagine experiencing these beautiful songs marred by commercial interruption or the inane interjections by a dj. They may be taken indivdually, but they work best as a whole -- sort of like the people that inhabit this ball called 'Earth'.It's fitting that the only 'liner notes' on the original lp were the hieroglyphs on the inner sleeve. One line from these translates as 'existence is for all eternity'. This is music for all eternity, timeless and poignant. The wonderful thing is that Robin has continued to make his special brand of music to this day, repeatedly bringing us his offerings of beauty and rare insight.[The Incredible String Band has reformed, by the way -- and I've read that they're performing 'Strings in the earth and air' as part of their live sets.]"
Strange, but beautiful Myrrh
S. GODFREY | 08/24/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)

"When Williamson began to feel ill at ease within the ISB-concept that was beginning to look like a Heron's brainchild, he took his imagination elsewhere and produced this solo album in 1972. I've never seen this album other than in cd shape, unfortunately, for its cover does deserve better than the cd-size printing."Myrrh" evokes more feelings of "strangeness" than any other album Robin has been involved in. Is it his voice that sounds so eerie ? Is it the instrumentation ? Is it the lyrics ? It certainly is hard to tell, but it may also be the shadows cast by the one outstanding song on this album, which is "The dancing of the Lord of Weir" - it is truly amazing. Never did folk sound so weird, and yet so true, so ancient perhaps. And there's more - for example, he's recorded that sweet and graceful Dr Strangely Strange song "Strings in the earth and air", the equally sweet "Rends-moi demain", and that other outstanding song "Cold harbour" - I can still hear Robin's voice, high-pitched and wailing. I wonder what Robin would have done if he had continued in this vein - maybe he would have come up sooner with songs like "The Fair", that seems to speak with the same weird voice. As it is, someone else will have to delve for that elfin gold.Hans Wigman"
Unique, Weird and Wonderful
S. GODFREY | Risca, South Wales | 12/15/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Robin's first solo album is a mixture of endearingly melodic and wistful tunes ("Strings in the Earth and Air", "Rends-Moi Demain", "Dark-Eyed Lady"), idiosyncratic almost-rock ("Sandy Land"), downright strange but utterly compelling songs ("Cold Harbour") and some which are just strange ("Through the Horned Clouds") along with one of his finest pieces of medieaval magicke and mystery - the astonishing "Dancing of the Lord of Wier". This was basically Robin unshackled by the demands of being part of a group (even a group as eclectic as the String Band), giving his imagination full rein and having the time of his life. If you like his work in the String Band, you will love this album. Get it just for "The Lord of Wier", but you will find much more to enjoy. Incidentally,"Strings in the Earth and Air" was given a surprise but very welcome airing at the recent String Band gigs."