The story of an extraordinary moment in British music, and the ordinary boys who worshipped it
'Mike Heron, as part of the Incredible String Band, changed the way I looked at music. Read it!' Billy Connolly
'Mike Heron's lyrics always sparkled with wit and warmth and his prose is a delightful continuation. The book evokes a smoky, unheated eccentric Edinburgh that was a crucible for so much creativity.' Joe Boyd, author of White Bicycles
This singular book offers two harmonising memoirs of music making in the 1960s. Mike Heron for the first time writes vividly of his formative years in dour, Presbyterian Edinburgh. Armed with a love of Buddy Holly, Fats Domino and Hungarian folk music, he plays in school cloakrooms, graduates to rock, discovers the joy of a folk audience, starts writing songs, tries to talk to girls, wishes he was a Beatnik all while training as a reluctant accountant. When asked to join Robin Williamson and Clive Palmer, the Incredible String Band are formed - and their wildly innovative, astounding music became indelibly linked with the latter Sixties.
Andrew Greig was a frustrated provincial schoolboy when he heard their songs. It changed everything. Undaunted by a lack of experience and ability, he formed a band in their image. Fate & Ferret populated back-country Fife with Pan, nymphs and Apollo, met the String Band and caught the fish lorry to London to hang around Joe Boyd's Witchseason office, watching at the fringes of the blooming Underground scene. It was forty years later that he and Mike became friends.
These entwined stories will delight anyone who has loved the Incredible String Band; and their differing portraits of that hopeful, erratic and stubborn stumble towards the life that is ours will strike a chord with everyone.
Mike Heron, as part of the Incredible String Band, changed the way I looked at music. Read it! — Billy Connolly
Mike Heron's lyrics always sparkled with wit and warmth and his prose is a delightful continuation. The book evokes a smoky, unheated eccentric Edinburgh that was a crucible for so much creativity. — Joe Boyd, author of White Bicycles
With his characteristic modesty and self-deprecating humour, Mike Heron recalls the beginnings of the British folk revival and, though he would never admit as much, the part he played in bringing folk to a new audience. Funny, honest, and vividly evocative of its era, You Know What You Could Be is essential for music fans, whatever their tribal affinities. — John Burnside
Heron's turn of phrase and eye for detail extend...to every aspect of Edinburgh's mid-sixties beatnik life, realised in beguiling sensory images . . . Heron has to write a second volume, but at least this first instalment might help to secure the recognition the band so transparently deserve' — Mark Ellen, New Statesman
Warm, meditative, evocative . . . Much more than a conventional music biography — Graeme Thomson, Herald
From travelling in an open-sided military helicopter with terrified Ravi Shankar and catching Jimi Hendrix's closing set at Woodstock, this book is a must-read for anyone looking for an insider's view of the psychadelic sixties — M Magazine
The Incredible String Band were one of the most influential groups on the planet . . . A warm, beautifully drawn evocation of formative years, hippie culture and key friendships — Graeme Thomson, Mail on Sunday
Charming and oddly moving . . . His account of growing up in Edinburgh in the late 1950s and 60s has all the excitement of a good rock biopic. We share in the thrills . . . Heartwarming, charismatic mix of self-effacing charm and wistful empathic engagement with the world. — Matt Milton, Songlines
Heron's descriptions of life in 1950s and early 60s Edinburgh have a winningly dour Ivor Cutler-ish air . . . Greig has a knack for refracted memoir, viewing his own life through strange prisms and other lives . . . with elegaic wisdom. — Peter Ross, Guardian
Rich in smoky detail of the city . . . Rates as the most throbbingly exciting I've ever read in a music biography — Aidan Smith, Scotsman