229. Barabajagal

“Barabajagal (the album) is not Donovan‘s strongest effort. Call it inconsistent, I guess, a hodge podge of hippie-dippy mucking around that may have nailed the zeitgeist had it been released two years earlier, but come 1969, well let’s just say, something harder, more fierce was required. Like Barabajagal (the song). Truth is molten indeed. It helped that Jeff Beck and band were on hand, not so much backing things up as kicking them forward. Also Madeline Bell, Lesley Duncan and Suzi Quatro! As for who or what a barabajagal is, apparently it’s just a made up word, but it’s a good one.” (Philip Random)

Donovan-1969-VictorAtkins

(Art: Victor Atkins)

 

270. Legend of a girl child Linda

“More proof that when it came to a certain sunlit psychedelic sweetness (which it seems was only ever achieved by anybody in and around 1966-67) the singer songwriter (some called him a poet) known as Donovan had no peer. Yes, Bob Dylan’s poetry went deeper and destroyed more fascists, and Donovan did on occasion get lost in hippy dippy wormholes, but its darned hard to argue with the mystical magical stuff of Sunshine Superman (the album) and a song like Legend of a Girl Child Linda in particular … whatever it’s about. Because I never really seem to be able to track it all the way through, the trance takes me, like I’m stuck in someone else’s dream, and sumptuous it is, all cascading crystals, hillsides of velvet, valleys of flowers.” (Philip Random)

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514. the trip

Donovan never really gets the credit he deserves for kicking the future into motion. I’ve said that already, I know. But seriously, here he is detailing an acid trip in all its cool-and-gone poetic glory at least half a year in advance of the Beatles Sgt Pepper. And better yet, he keeps the groove bluesy, the whole thing strutting comfortably along, the sunshine superman in full cosmic bloom. Nothing could stop him but a drug bust, which is precisely what happened.” (Philip Random)

Donovan-1966-studio

695. Celtic Rock

In which the the Sunshine Superman (aka Donovan) sees which way the wind is blowing at the dawn of the 1970s, ditches the flowers and patchoulie, straps on an electric guitar and gets to rocking, celtically, with a murky tale from times of old about real trolls, the kind that live in caves or under bridges, sometimes giants, sometimes dwarfs, always very ugly and keen to grab unsuspecting travelers. And it’s not just a one-off. The whole Open Road album is a keeper, its raw elemental sound reminding us that before he was anything else, Donovan Leitch was a folk singer, a minstrel, traveling alone through hollow lands, taking notes, telling stories, telling the truth.