Monday, May 7, 2012

"Donovan in Concert" by Donovan (1968)

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl.

Fun Fact:
"Donovan in Concert" has given me a new catchphrase.  "Death to pennywhistles!"

Filed between: Doctor Hook & The Medicine Show and The Doors.

Key Tracks:
It REALLY depends on what you're in to.  For me, it was the dark, haunted stillness of Guinevere.

Obvious Filler & Swings-and-Misses:
Again, it's all a matter of opinion.  I thought it was all the overly long tracks with the whole band like Young Girl Blues and Preachin' Love.

My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately:
Average (2/4 stars)

"First, there is a mountain.  Then there isn't.  Then there is."  That sums this thing up better than I could ever hope to.  A disc jockey introduces an elderly Scotsman, whose sole purpose is to introduce a younger Scotsman.  There is thunderous applause accompanied by canned big band musical interludes - which abruptly stop as a folk song begins to play.  There are references to butterflies disguised as cats.  Yeah, I'll say it again - there are references to butterflies disguised as cats.  There's this line: "In my crystal halls a feather falls being beautiful just for you."  And there's pennywhistle EVERYWHERE.  By the end of "Donovan in Concert," the pennywhistle has actually seeped into your pores and you realize you're going to smell like pied piper manlove for the next three days.

There are literally no two songs on this thing that sound at all alike.  I am not making this up.  I will now run down the genre (in order) of every track on the album:


Pure folk

Sinatra-saturated swing

Folk pop

Celtic music (if Simon & Garfunkel did Celtic music)


The "Donovan" sound with heavy tinges of The Velvet Underground

Middle-ages troubadour music


Traditional Irish folk music

Beatnik jazz

Minstrel tune (sung in an incomprehensible Robert Burns brogue)


Children's music

Bob-Dylan-Cockney-Vaudeville (You go listen to Rules and Regulations and come up with something better - I dare you)

Psychedelic rock with an old school rock 'n roll sax solo.

So, is it an album?  No.  To it's credit, "Donovan in Concert" is all taken from a single recorded show.  However, I can't imagine being at that show without heavy doses of LSD to fill in all the mind-warping gaps that exist between each and every song.

Up next, I continue to dodge the karma police and get to listen to another of my favorite bands.  It's the bittersweet demo tape/final release by the definitive southern rock band's original line-up: "Lynyrd Skynyrd's First and... Last."

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