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Donovan - Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968) Retail CD
The idea that Donovan Leitch was to Britain what Bob Dylan was to America was always an unfair comparison to make and you have to think if Scottish folk-pop singer's first name had started with any letter other than "D" he might have been saved the analysis. Then again, anybody who cannot listen to the music these two were putting out in the 1960s and not be able to see their music as being opposites is simply not paying attention. Donovan was always the cheerful optimist, while Dylan on a good day was merely being realistic instead of pessimistic. That was just in terms of their lyrics, becausemore… once you got to the music Dylan was defined by stark guitar playing sometimes augmented by a harmonica in the style of Woody Guthrie while Donovan was helping to define the psychedelic sound. In 1965 Donovan was a regular on the television music show "Ready, Steady, Go!" and then had his début single, the folk song "Catch the Wind." That was followed by the hit single "Colours," and then "Sunshine Superman" and "Mellow Yellow." In 1967 he traveled to India with the Beatles to study with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, after which he renounced drugs and turned on to meditation. Musically these profound changes manifested themselves in the ambitious double-album "A Gift from a Flower to a Garden" and then this 1968 album, "The Hurdy Gurdy Man." The scope of the album is covered in the two hits. The title cut (on which future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham were playing) is a mixture of Indian music with hard-rock, tinged with hallucinatory elements that made it to #5 on the charts. On the other extreme is the more ethereal "Jennifer Juniper," written for Jenny Boyd, the sister of George Harrison's wife, which climbed to #26. If you want to point to a Donovan song as epitomizing his sense of youthful innocence, this would be it. The only real problem with this album is that producer Mickie Most lays it on a bit too thick in several of the tracks. I like the first two tracks after the title cut, with "Peregrine," a song about friendship that has some Scottish elements in it, and the excellent acoustic song "The Entertaining of a Shy Girl," which offers some nice guitar playing and a touch of woodwinds. But then "As I Recall It" spoils the mood by overdoing the jazz bit. By the time you get to the rest of the album there is a real sense that Donovan has abandoned the stage set by the opening track. In addition to "Jennifer Juniper" there is another odd to the ladies in "West Indian Lady." Then there is an emphasis on nature elements at the end with "The River Song," "A Sunny Day," and "The Sun Is a Very Magic Fellow," which helps the album end on more familiar ground than on which it began. I was trying to decide if how good the best tracks on this album overcame the lesser efforts, and decided to round up because of "Get Thy Bearings" as the song that is not on the standard Donovan hits collection that would justify having this one as well. Telling this to a Donovan fan would be preaching to the choir and I am not arguing that "The Hurdy Gurdy Man" constitutes the one regular album you would want to have or first pick up when you moved beyond the hits collection. But this song has some of Donovan's better lyrics and if the sound had been catchier it would have made an interesting single. It has psychedelic elements, but there is also some jazz and blues, and some people might mistake it for a Stevie Windwood song, that is, until they listen to the lyrics, which is pure Donovan.
|1||Hurdy Gurdy Man|
|3||Entertaining of a Shy Girl|
|4||As I Recall It|
|5||Get Thy Bearings|
|6||Hi It's Been a Long Time|
|7||West Indian Lady|
|12||Sun Is a Very Magic Fellow|
- Donovan - Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968) Retail CD
- 815 x 800 px
- 138 KB
- 1072 (0 today)
- 11/04/07 by allcdcovers
- Quality Rating:
Rated 4 of 5 (1 votes). Click CDs to vote!