Folk Singers: Talismans of the Beyond

Their terrain is the fresh green land scape of ancient pastoral, replete with somber mountains, gloomy caves, anthropomorphic rivers. They sing not of ordinary men, but of lovers, amoebae, angels, village rustics, swans, emperors, unicorns. And their music is an eerie compound of British and U.S. folk traditions. Indian ragas, rock, calypso, blues, even nursery songs.

This is the magical mystery world of The Incredible String Band, which is al most as exotic as its name. The band consists of two lank-haired 25-year-old Scots. Robin Williamson and Mike Heron, each of...