Donovan - late sixties

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Which is your personal Donovan?

Sunshine Superman
8
19%
Mellow Yellow
10
24%
A Gift From a Flower to a Garden
11
26%
Hurdy Gurdy Man
6
14%
Barabajagal
7
17%
 
Total votes: 42

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Quaco
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Donovan - late sixties

Postby Quaco » 21 Apr 2017, 02:16

My take is that despite some great songs, Sunshine Superman is his "look at me, I'm hip and referencing Bert Jansch, The Animals, and the Jefferson" album. Just starting to find a new sound, which is all well and good. He does good work always. Also, the title track is randy and a bit creepy.

By Mellow Yellow, he was painting himself as an all-around swinging London dandy. Less desperate, a little more thoughtful, and the better for it.

A Gift From a Flower to a Garden is him completely up his own ____, on his own trip, making delightfully out-of-touch easy-listening jazz-tinged tracks, and is his masterpiece.

What do you make of the next two -- getting back, getting "browner" as everyone was doing.

Donovan is a very silly man. I know he has written more great songs than I ever will, but there is always something phony about him. Or no?

Let us discuss Donovan.
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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby Bent Fabric » 21 Apr 2017, 02:30

The first half of Gift will always be my favorite bit of Donovan music as sequenced by the artist.

The use of echo on the 'answering Donovan voice' on most numbers works a bit of magic with the light sounding drum kit, the flute and the organ - it's a really unique and spacious sound - "colorful" if you will.

HGM is oddly uneven to my ears - obviously "Bearings", "Jennifer Juniper" and the title track are magnificent, but it doesn't really stick with me as a collection of songs (for as much as I've played all of these records, there are still titles on here that I look at and shrug with no real recognition). It doesn't help that it contains an unusually large number of songs.

Barabajagal is probably better than you think, if poorly sequenced. "Where Is She" is a real hidden gem of a track (for example) and "Shirt" is wonderful, of course. "Happiness Runs" maybe illustrates some of his basic dichotomy - I love it, but...it's deeply fucking JIVE.

You really have to make peace with some things about the man and his work once you fall for him/it as I did.

To be continued...
Last edited by Bent Fabric on 21 Apr 2017, 12:40, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby Quaco » 21 Apr 2017, 02:48

Totally agree about Gift. One never knows whether one's tastes are affected by the ones you bought and got into first. But it happens a lot, and did in this case.

I need to get into the second half of the set more.

I appreciate the tips on HGM and Barabajagal. Where is P. Cat? I would image he'd have something to say about this.
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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby Hepcat » 21 Apr 2017, 04:35

Sunshine Superman was his introductory statement. Hurdy Gurdy Man signified his attempt to stay current. They're both great though.
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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby Charlie O. » 21 Apr 2017, 05:22

You know what I think of these.

I picked the first three, but on another day might have picked Barabajagal over A Gift.
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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby Muskrat » 21 Apr 2017, 06:31

I thought he was brilliant, from the moment I saw the lyrics to "Catch the Wind" in Hit Parader, or one of those. Of the electric albums (so to speak), as I understand the releases were quite different in the U.S. than the UK. to I won't discuss them as entities. I love Celeste, The Trip. Preachin' Love (as hippie-dippy as he got, but God what a record), Atlantis (ditto), and many more from that general period. A good man with a lyric and a melody, and when he got into the jazzier stuff with Harold McNair etc. he was doing something unique and interesting. Of the choices above, I went with Hurdy Gurdy Man.*

*though, having misunderstood the concept, I was referring to the single. I recently bought a multi-cd set (NOT original albums) that includes all the Mickie Most material, including the orchestral versions of Catch the Wind and Colours, both of which I like more than I'd have expected).
Last edited by Muskrat on 21 Apr 2017, 17:20, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby Bent Fabric » 21 Apr 2017, 12:39

And, lest we forget, he was such a heavy duty dude that a lot of his heaviest hitters from the period ("There Is A Mountain", "Epistle to Dippy", "Lalena") were non-album singles.

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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby soundchaser » 21 Apr 2017, 12:53

I'm not going to join in a Sunshine Superman backlash, because it is a wonderful album....I mean, Celeste!

That said, Mellow Yellow, is the better album.

I can't be doing with much from Donovan after that, until Cosmic Wheels.

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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby Bent Fabric » 21 Apr 2017, 13:41

soundchaser wrote:I'm not going to join in a Sunshine Superman backlash, because it is a wonderful album....I mean, Celeste!


For sure - "Season of the Witch", "Guinevere", and...though certainly Donno will be the first to tell you how innovative and how early, the harpsichord/string bass character of the title track is "Beach Boys grade inspired arranging".

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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby Quaco » 21 Apr 2017, 15:05

Charlie O. wrote:You know what I think of these.

I picked the first three, but on another day might have picked Barabajagal over A Gift.

I was hoping for more commentary from you, specifically on Sunshine Superman. Just listening to it yesterday, hence the thread, and thinking about you, and 'why does Charlie like this one so much?'
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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby Charlie O. » 21 Apr 2017, 15:11

Bent Fabric wrote:... though certainly Donno will be the first to tell you how innovative and how early...

And sometimes Donno's just telling it like it was. I wrote a post not long ago comparing the album ("US version," of course) favorably to most (all?) of the classic Brit-psych albums, and was surprised myself to realize that it predated nearly all of them (Revolver beat it to the marketplace by three weeks - and might not have had Donovan's contracts not been in such a mess).

There are relatively few albums I enjoy more or am more impressed by. (Though I might grade it even higher if "Legend Of A Girl Child Linda" had been left off - I like it, but I kinda have to be "in the mood" for it.)

Tried to post the above and saw this:

Quaco wrote:I was hoping for more commentary from you, specifically on Sunshine Superman. Just listening to it yesterday, hence the thread, and thinking about you, and 'why does Charlie like this one so much?'

I'll have to get back to you - I'm supposed to be getting ready for work now! :)
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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby Quaco » 21 Apr 2017, 15:15

OK! Looking forward to your observations once you get your bearings --
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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby Bent Fabric » 21 Apr 2017, 15:38

Charlie O. wrote:And sometimes Donno's just telling it like it was.


Oh, sure - he's one of the fucking gods, no doubt about it. I bought first row tickets to see him this summer, and I'm positively giddy with anticipation.

And, yes...however unseemly and superfluous his Tourette's level self-accreditation might be, you can definitely count on a reasonable portion of it being fairly accurate. His transformation in late 1965 (trainspotters may wish to note that the "Sunshine Superman" session occurred prior to even the RCA version of "Eight Miles High") is as remarkable a chrysalis as any artist who went from "damn good" to "championship level" in a remarkably short period of time.

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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby tweetybird » 22 Apr 2017, 07:22

Yeah, a creepy man who wrote great, great songs. Mellow Yellow (US) is his best moment, followed by Sunshine Superman (also US). Then the others, in descending order. He's had massive help in all of these albums from other artists and arrangers. (He didn't even write Tangiers himself; Gypsy Dave Mills did, and went uncredited for decades). I try to separate the artist from the art, but it's sometimes impossible: There Was A Time - brilliant song, completely megalomanic.
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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby **NOW PLAYING** » 22 Apr 2017, 08:24

What did he do that's so creepy?
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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby Jeemo » 22 Apr 2017, 08:29

He invented music and Bob Dylan.
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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby **NOW PLAYING** » 22 Apr 2017, 08:33

:)

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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby zoomboogity » 22 Apr 2017, 08:57

I liked Tony Orlando And Don, they had some good songs.
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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby joels344 » 22 Apr 2017, 12:39

I love that late 60's run by Donovan. I would go with A Gift From a Flower to a Garden as my favorite, but it's a close battle with Sunshine Superman.

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Re: Donovan - late sixties

Postby Walk In My Shadow » 22 Apr 2017, 16:44

I didn't vote as I find all the albums have some great songs but overall they're not for me.


Is the album 'Open Road' not to be included?
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