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did I underestimate Donovan?

Discussion in 'music' started by Rockmeister, Sep 21, 2021.

  1. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    Its 1969...I'm sitting, in the rain, under a plastic sheet at the Bath and West music festival. We had Jonny Winter and Zepplin and Airplane and now, we have Donovan. And I'm a bit????? Donovan?

    But sometimes now, when Spotify throws him into a playlist, i'm wondering if I should have listened harder?
    maccar likes this.
  2. Marchbanks

    Marchbanks Hat and Beard member

    Personally, no, I don’t think so. It’s really just twee folkie stuff with some nudge, nudge, wink, wink drug references thrown in, IMO. But you must read his autobiography, it’s brilliant! The Beatles came to him whenever they needed advice, Led Zeppelin formed thanks to him, he pretty much invented the counter-culture single-handed, and as for Dylan...
    Take5, martin dawson, Durmbo and 2 others like this.
  3. guey

    guey pfm Member

    I rather like this by him (but know very little else)

    CTank likes this.
  4. Marchbanks

    Marchbanks Hat and Beard member

    I don’t know his version, but the original King Crimson used to do quite a good one live.
  5. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

  6. Paraheadache

    Paraheadache pfm Member

  7. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    Donovan wrote a number of excellent songs. Colours, Turquoise, Catch the Wind, Josie, Why Do You Treat Me Like You Do?, and others. Good enough for the likes of Baez to record, for e.g. I like much of his stuff, and it is a nice nostalgia trip for me.

    OTOH.. I've heard him talking about his own genius and felt sorry that he feels the need to bullshit like that.

    On the other other hand.. a good friend of mine is a resident musician at the Cavern in Liverpool. He was asked to back Donovan and spent some time learning his songs. I was surprised to hear that he found Donovan a very pleasant person to work with.

    I'm mystified.
    Suffolk Tony, maccar and Sloop John B like this.
  8. Sloop John B

    Sloop John B pfm Member

    I’d be in the “definitively underrated” camp.

    Like the Kinks he suffers from a lot of record label issues.

    We wouldn’t have Julia or Blackbird but for Donovan. (I was lucky enough to be at an evening devoted to the White album in Trinity College Dublin, which Donovan curated which was fascinating).

    Or Riki Tivi Tivi, Season of the Witch, Hurdy Gordy Man, Retired writer in the sun... and countless others.

    I don’t know if there is a definitive greatest hits but if there is it would be a great album.

    mikechadwick, Rockmeister and Snufkin like this.
  9. AllyD

    AllyD ex audio room poster

    It's amazing the number of youngsters that know the lyrics ( well, the chorus) to Mellow Yellow.
  10. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    The first Donovan album I heard was 'What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid' which, if you can find a copy is well worth having. A good alternative bet is the CD Donovan 1965, which as far as I can tell, combines the aforementioned 'What's Bin'..etc.. with 'Fairytale' a pretty comprehensive picture of 'early Donovan'. Also includes tracks from the E.P. I had back then, with Universal Soldier, Do You Hear Me Now, The War Drags On and Ballad of a Crystal Man. This is the stuff I like best. His lyrics are good.. almost 'stream of consciousness' type stuff on, for e.g., Jersey Thursday, or 'Sunny Goodge Street', and his 'romantic' ballads such as 'Josie', and 'Why Do You Treat Me Like You Do' are seriously well written songs. His versions of others' songs do not disappoint. His melodies are peerless, and his guitar playing more than adequate. 'Donovan 1965' is a no brainer for 8 quid.

    Whilst I liked most of his later singles..they did tend towards bigger production and lost the intimacy and sense of yearning which typified his earlier stuff. There are numerous compilations about on vinyl and CD.
    maccar likes this.
  11. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    Fixed a couple of typos for you there.. ;)

    Re 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' Believe it or not, they happily danced to that in the club where I had my main residency as a DJ. We had just bodged up a strobe light of sorts. We couldn't afford the real thing, but got away with a number of small lamps mounted inside an old tin originally meant to carry Pig's Liver. The lamps were controllable for switching frequency and pulse duration, via a relay of some sort, and by using a lot of small lamps rather than one big one..we achieved reasonably quick fade on the filaments. It worked well enough on a lot of tunes, but superbly with Hurdy Gurdy
    Snufkin likes this.
  12. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    “Let us rejoice and let us sing and dance and ring in the new
    Hail Atlantis!”

    The bio page on his website is hilarious.
    I didn’t realise what we owed him…
  13. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    Strange.. yet strangely compelling:


    Ignore the bullshit.. especially his own..and just listen to the music.
    docstocker and maccar like this.
  14. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    I agree
    I think he did good in the beginning. I'm sure stardom hit him right in the whatsits hard, but who here would cope better?
    No sneering from me. I respect his stuff and enjoy it still
    Mullardman and maccar like this.
  15. maccar

    maccar pfm Member

  16. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    The poor sod may be a caricature of himself now..and he would be far from the first from that generation to become so... But he made some truly great music. Turquoise, alone, ought to secure his reputation.

  17. Wolfmancatsup

    Wolfmancatsup Empire State Human

    I think he was fine, despite attempting to claim he'd more or less invented the 'sixties! We saw him at the RAH some years ago, performing the entirety of Sunshine Superman, and it was an enjoyable evening.
    Don't listen to Intergalactic Laxative though...

  18. Suffolk Tony

    Suffolk Tony Aim low, achieve your goals, avoid disappointment.

    Always liked Donovan, nice tunes & interesting lyrics. Hendrix liked him, so that's good enough for me.
    docstocker likes this.
  19. CTank

    CTank pfm Member

    Classic breakbeat intro

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