The Boy's interest in singing has really taken off in the last week, and he wants to know what each new song is called. Mellow Yellow was an immediate favourite for him, and he now asks for it by name, enunciating it almost correctly.
I once did some work on a software system called Saffron, and the friend who gave me the referral for the work later gifted me the question, "What do you think of Saffron, then?" I was ready with, "I'm just mad about it." However, I'm a Hurdy Gurdy Man man, myself. On some days I might prefer Steve Hillage's cover of the song, which was the first version I heard, but Donovan's original tickles me.
There's a surprising number of decent tunes on the first part of this CD, when you consider that the man is a bit of a joke. Twenty six years ago we talked about how he was made to look a bit clueless in this sequence:
But that's the least of it. I haven't read the Hurdy Gurdy Man autobiography — and I suspect more significant demands on my time, like counting the raindrops on a window pane, may mean that I never get round to it. But just the Amazon reader reviews are enough to give you a hint:
Whether you feel an autobiography was the best vehicle for telling his story depends very much on how you react to his often over-inflated opinion of his own worth. Objectivity is in very short supply and, make no mistake, there is a rampant ego at work here…
That's from one of the positive (four star) reviews. This one is less impressed:
Donovan is a man full of his own self importance (anyone who wrote something as trivial as 'jennifer juniper' needs to be) according to him he invented folk/rock folk/fusion jazz/fusion and just about every other musicial force you can think of, he probably invented the wheel as well when not changing the course of musical history. This is one of the most ego charged biographies i have ever read. He conveniently glosses over Dylan's tribes in 'don't look back' (cutting and true-he did rip him off) and seems to think he is vastly underappreciated by just about everyone. Why he even had his 'look' stolen by Liam Gallagher in the nineties!
That Green Man performance caused quite a buzz, in the wrong way. I didn't see or hear any of it — I think I was watching James Blackshaw and A Hawk and a Hacksaw — but the next day I overheard even the security staff having a conversation about the ridiculous Jamaican patois that Donovan was speaking in between the songs.
I'd actually seen him play a couple of songs earlier that year at gig celebrating the history of protest music. I seem to remember Donovan reminding us of his championing of Woody Guthrie, his roots in the protest, and his pivotal role in making it a mass movement. All of this relayed in his broad Glaswegian brogue.
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