Barabajagal - Donovan
Eng Rmst ed.
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2005 Digitally re-mastered re-issue that features 13 bonus tracks 'Snakeskin', 'Lauretta's Cousin Laurinda', 'The Swan' (Lord of the Reedy River), 'A Poor Man's Sunshine' (Nativity), 'New Years Resolution' (Donovan's Celtic Jam), 'Runaway' (Demo), 'Sweet Beverley' (Demo), 'Marjorie' (Margarine) (Demo), 'Little White Flower' (Demo), 'Good Morning Mr. Wind' (Demo), 'Palais Girl' (Demo), 'Lord of the Universe' (Demo). on Barabajagal, Donovan made his first steps away from the folk rock of before towards an acid rock sound, with songs such as the title track and Trudi. EMI.
Top customer reviews
The opening title track is more like what one would expect from say Cream or Jimi Hendrix than from a folk-rock artist - not surprising since the track was laid down with the help of the Jeff Beck Group. By contrast, "Where Is She" is as gentle a yearning-for-love song as Donovan has ever written. In between the extremes there is "Superlungs My Supergirl", with a rhythm borrowed from early Kinks songs such as "You Really got Me"; "I Love My Shirt", a novelty song that I quite like, though some dismiss it as trivial; the hit single "Atlantis", a spoken-word story that morphs into a Hey Jude-like chant at the end; and "To Susan on the West Coast Waiting", a soft understated piece from a soldier in Vietnam yearning to be back home with his girlfriend. There is also "Happiness Runs", a song that starts off well but becomes somewhat annoyingly repetitive, and the fairly forgettable final two tracks, "Trudi" and "Pamela Jo".
The bonus tracks are for the most part not as interesting as those on the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow reissues. The exception is "The Swan (Lord of the Reedy River)", which surpasses many of the original album tracks in its sheer beauty and dreamlike quality.
Overall, not as consistent an album as some of Donovan's earlier albums, but there is plenty to enjoy.
Goo Goo Barabajagal (Love is Hot)- Featuring the Jeff Beck Group (sans Rod Stewart) this is one of Donovan's best jam songs. The song was obivously inspired by Lewis Carroll and The Beatles "I Am the Walrus" (In fact Paul McCartney was at the sessions for Donovan's own musical version of "The Walrus and the Carpenter" which lasted about eight minutes so it is probably his longest recorded song. The sessions were circa. 1968) Barabajagal is the made up name for a herbalist and the character later turned up in a song called "Barabajagal Came to Blythe Fair" which he did with Open Road in the There is an Ocean documentary and if you listen to the song he says herb with an H.
Superlungs My Supergirl- The answer to Sunshine Superman which actually dates back to those sessions but was dropped because of the title "Sperlungs". It was also covered by Terry Reid another Most singed artist.
Where is She?- A more melancholy number presumely about Linda Lawrence whom he would reunite with a year (or given the year of the session two years) "Supergirl" is also probably a Linda-inspired song.
Happiness Runs (Pebble And the Man)- Originally recorded by Donovan on his Anaheim concert album he didn't get the meaning until he went to India with "four Beatles, one Beach Boy and Mia Farrow" (along with the Beatles' spouses, Jennifer "Juniper" Boyd, flautist Paul Horn and Gypsy Dave his road manager and best buddy) This one is just Donovan and his guitar, Lesley Duncan (one of the backing singers on the title track), Mike McCartney (McGear) and Graham Nash.
I Love My Shirt- Although some might consider this stupid, Donovan wrote this because of the fact he loved children's songs and the fashion trend of the sixties. He later redid this on his less successful Pied Piper album.
The Love Song- A very Beatles like song featuring a "rap" section by a writer for the Smothers Brothers (on whose show Donovan made two or three appearances at the time)
To Susan on the West Coast Waiting- "From Andy in Vietnam fighting" this is what Don calls the Dear John letter in reverse- Andy is the soldier in Vietnam writing to his wife or girlfriend on the west coast. It was also issued with the following song which has been become better known...
Atlantis- Donovan's third top 10 hit in the US which many now associate with Godfellas (when the guy gets beaten up in the shoe shine box) Again it was inspired by the Beatles this time the more recent "Hey Jude". Not only did Donovan sing "Hey Jude" during his concert tour in Europe (it had been a big hit in the German speaking countries) but there was a promo single by the New Christy Minstrels entitled "Hey Jude/Atlantis"
Oh and despite what some sources say, this is yet another Donovan song that Paul McCartney is said to sing and play on but Paul was in the UK this was recorded in Los Angeles. The backup singers are credited as "Don and friends" Whom they were we may never know...
Trudi- This uses the same melody as "Lay of the Last Tinker" from A Gift from a Flower to a Garden and again features the Jeff Beck Group.
Pamela Jo- A 1950s style number about a girl Donovan encountered in L.A.
(Bonus tracks include)
Stromberg Twins- An outtake from the Jeff Beck sessions described as a Beach Boys like number
Both Lord of the Universe and Poor Man's Sunshine are earlier versions of songs that would turn up later on Beat Cafe
The Swan (Lord of the Reedy River)- This song was originally on the Mary Hopkin Post Card album produced by Paul McCartney so it is not clear whether the demo was written for the album or for Donovan's use in the film "If It's Tuesday It Must Be Belguim" in which he makes a cameo as a lounge singer. Hopkin also recorded "Happiness Runs" as well as the first version of the lovely "Voyage of the Moon" which along with "Lord of the Reedy River" would make their Donovan debut on HMS Donovan (which SHOULD have been released first and then Open Road)
Snakeskin- written for Donovan's friend Julie Felix also signed to Most. Felix had recorded at least seven Donovan songs, but alas despite her US roots was never big in the States.
The other tracks are mostly demos including "Palais Girl" (which namechecks John and Paul),"Good Morning Mr. Wind" (an early version of the HMS song "Mr. Wind" a rather funny song. For those familiar with the song, it is interesting to hear Donovan sing the song without the slowed down voice of "Mr. Wind".