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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Donovan - "The Hurdy Gurdy Man" Vinyl, LP, Mono, Album, 1968 (Epic)

You can never go wrong with an album that is credited "A Mickie Most Production."   Beyond that, you can't normally go wrong with a Donovan album.  "The Hurdy Gurdy Man" album is the Donovan album that people don't talk or write about.  It has two hit singles "Hurdy Gurdy Man" (amazing) and the charming "Jennifer Juniper."  Of the Mickie Most / Donovan albums, this one is his most Indian/world/exotic instrument LP.  

First of all, Donovan is the most underrated singer of his generation.  A superb stylist, with jazzy overtones.   Two songs that stand out for me on "The Hurdy Gurdy Man" is "Peregrine" and "Tangier."  Both have a strong Indian / drone influence, and yet, Donovan makes it very much his own.  His approach to his songs is very much him.  There is really no other Donovan.  It's not only his voice but the presence and style of his music that makes him a very unique artist.   

There is also the "twee" image Donovan has cultivated over the years, but when I hear his music, I don't think of the softness, but the beautiful arrangements.  His psychedelia is different from say someone like the band Traffic (but close...) or the Fab Four.  Some of the "drone" songs were co-written by David J. Mills, a close friend of Donovan's.  "Teas" reminds me a bit of George Harrison, but I also hear Dave Brubeck's piano running through the mix as well.  John Paul Jones, although not credited on the sleeve was very much part of the album through his talent as an arranger.  It is rumored that Jimmy Page is on the album as well, but not proven.  For sure Clem Cattini did the drumming.  Nice to have a Joe Meek reference here.  Clem was the drummer for The Tornados.