> Folk Music > Songs > October Song

October Song

[ Roud - ; Mudcat 114511 ; Robin Williamson]

Robin Williamson sang his own October Song in 1966 on the Incredible String Band’s eponymous first album The Incredible String Band.

Tom Gilfellon sang October Song in 1972 on his Trailer album Loving Mad Tom.

Maggie Boyle sang October Song in 1987 on her Run River album Reaching Out.

Dick Gaughan sang October Song in 1998 on his Greentrax CD Redwood Cathedral. This track was also included in 2002 on his Greentrax anthology Prentice Piece.

Roger Wilson sang October Song in 1998 as the title track of The House Band’s Green Linnet album October Song. They noted:

Roger was told that this stunning piece of poetry was the first song Robin Williamson ever composed! At least thirty years old at the time of this recording, and still as fresh as a daisy.

Brian Peters sang October Song in 1998 on his CD The Beast in the Box. He wrote in his album’s notes:

[…] Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy is one of my favourites from the Copper Family—a well trodden song, but sometimes it’s nice to do old stuff you really love. Same goes for October Song; at fourteen I worshipped the Incredible String Band as gods, and spent many sore-fingered hours copying the guitar accompaniment to this beautiful Robin Williamson composition from their first record.

The Rheingans Sisters sang October Song as the title-giving track of their 2013 RootBeat album Glad Gold Hearts. They noted:

Our dad brought this song to us a few years ago. We like its gentle observations about the world, the passing of time and the changing of the seasons.

In this video they perform October Song in December 2014 live at Shakespeares, Sheffield:

Lori Watson sang October Song in October 2017 as the monthly digital single of her Yarrow project. This track was released in 2018 on her CD Yarrow Acoustic Sessions. She noted:

I’ve loved this song since exploring my dad’s record collection (including The Incredible String Band) as a teenager. I spent some time working up a version in Rule of Three with John Somerville and Ali Hutton—it was brilliant, but this isn’t it. This version is a bit quieter and more contemplative and has formed part of the backdrop to my experience of the natural surroundings in the Yarrow valley. Nature is all-pervasive in that it effects and embodies the inner workings of our minds, psyches and emotions—Williamson has this nailed.

Isn’t autumn just stunningly beautiful though? There’s beauty and elegance in decay, as well as in renewal.

Jon Wilks sang October Song on The Grizzly Folk’s digital single October Song in October 2018. He noted:

As some of you will know, I occasionally play as part of a band called The Grizzly Folk. It’s where I got the name for the blog I used to write. This morning we released a new digital-only single. Some of you may know it.

The Grizzly Folk used to play this song occasionally in Japan (where we formed as a band) and imagine that we were 1960s guitar troubadours. It’s one of those songs that has just lingered. It’s a beautiful thing, originally by Robin Williamson of The Incredible String Band, should you want to seek out/relive its origins.

Mike Wilson sang October Song on his 2019 album Taking Shape. He noted:

Learnt from the wonderful Jim and Mu Wilkinson. I first sang this with my great friend, Jim and Mu’s youngest son, Ted Wilkinson, a terrific singer and even more terrific human being. Taken from us when we were both still in our teens, I would like to dedicate this song to Ted’s memory. To this day I still wonder what musical wonders he would have gifted the world, but just having him around a while longer would have been enough… “but sometimes I could murder time…”

Martin Simpson sang October Song in 2020 on his Topic album Home Recordings. He noted :

In 1966 The Incredible String Band released their eponymous first album The Incredible String Band, a fantastic mix of traditional and original songs and tunes. The October Song is on that record, written by Robin Williamson who said it was his first song as the lyric states. I have always loved the song and reeled at the thought of it being Robin’s first effort! I relished arranging it in CGCFCD. That tuning is central to this record, seven of the pieces are in it, including Lyle Lovett’s tender yet wry Family Reserve. His album Joshua Judges Ruth was a favourite of mine when I lived in Santa Cruz, California, and I rediscovered it and the song persuaded me I should learn it.


Sorry, I can't show the lyrics here as I don't have the copyright owners' permission to publish them. But please feel free and ask me to send you the song's lyrics.