Friday, September 7, 2007

Blacklights, Flowers, Peace, Etc.

Today I would like to talk about one of my favorite folk singers, an effeminate Scottish guy by the name of Donovan.

I have to be honest, most of Donovan's catalog doesn't thrill me very much at all, particularly the songs that everyone seems to know. Even more specifically, Mellow Yellow. I don't understand what practical use this song could have except for a soft drink commercial. My point is, the songs that people seem to gravitate to by Donovan sound nothing like what I consider to be his best work, which is a fucking phenomenal CD from 1965 called Fairytale.

Fairytale is Donovan's second album and is followed by about 15 or so more records up until 2004's Beat Cafe. The instrumentation on it is incredibly sparse, with most songs never containing more tracks than a guitar, vocals and harmonica, and it seems to be overlooked by most Donovan fans who are more familiar with his later singles (later being an incredibly relative term, he hasn't had a song in the US top ten since 1968). Not surprisingly, the track listing for "Donovan Super-Hits" doesn't contain even a single track off of Fairytale.

In my eyes, though, this record is a gold mine. It contains at least five of the best folk recordings I have ever heard. The feel of Fairytale is a lot more somber and dark than what most people would associate with Donovan, full of guitar progressions that sound a bit like something Nick Drake would write, but is also sprinkled with some choice upbeat tracks like "Colours" (which actually was a minor hit in it's day) and "Candyman."

But enough talk, you should listen for yourself. Time to throw on your peace bracelets, hang a sweet blacklight poster of a dragon battling a mushroom, and then vibe on some of this far out Donovan shit.

The Ballad Of Geraldine by Donovan

Buy Fairytale by Donovan

1 comment:

Keith said...

Sigh. I guess not everyone can appreciate the magnificent display of awesome that is "Mellow Yellow"... Or soft drink commercials for that matter.