Friday, October 02, 2009

Bloatermog The Mystical Sixties: Watched a 2 hour documentary on 60's folkie, Donovan, on Sky Arts; an absolute joy, 2 hours without any commercial breaks! It was from his 'Sunshine Superman: The Journey of Donovan' DVD, which is a 2 disc 3 hour set.
His songs were quite a big part of the background music of the Sixties, of course, and many were in the Charts, so no one from those times could fail in at least knowing he was around. But it was not the kind of music most of us chaps in the 'Progressive Rock Fraternity' would have bought, but some of it is rather good; retrospectively.
But after a few hits with 'Catch The Wind,' 'Universal Soldier,' 'Colours,' etc; Donovan opened up to songs with more than just an acoustic guitar and harmonica backing, when he started making records with Pop svengali / guru and record producer, Mickey Most, and these caused the rock fans ears to prick up.
'Hurdy-Gurdy Man' was released first in 1968, and we were freaked out not only by the track as a whole, but also at the wild guitar solo during the middle-eight. In later years, and as Donovan tells us on this DVD, we found out that the musicians playing behind him were three-quarters of Led Zeppelin, as John Bonham, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. At the time, it was tantamount to the death penalty if such names were disclosed due to contracts and suchlike, but in 1968, Jimmy Page would have been the only 'name' we knew from his Yardbird's fame, as Led Zeppelin were yet be born.
'Barabajagal' or 'Goo-Goo Barbajagal' was released in 1969, and again, we wondered who the guitarist was? And Mickey Most was clever in using other bands in his 'stable' on fellow artistes songs, and in this case it was The Jeff Beck Group backing Donovan; but yet again, the public could guess, but would not be told the truth due to this then ridiculous record company / management protocol. Now, most of those barriers have been broken down, and as long as credit is given to the artiste and a Royalty where necessary, it virtually happens all the time.
Donovan also wrote 'The Season Of The Witch' song, which band's tend to use as a starting point to jam on, and Sam Gopal's 'Escalator' album included it, as sung by Lemmy Kilmister.
But Donovan was also talking about the Sixties as a period in time which many of today's young people look back upon as a mystical and magical time in history; rather like Tir-Na-Nog, Shangri-La, and Atlantis. And that seems to be true, because it was a time of discovery when everyone had so much to live for, that we didn't want to die. And we wanted to change the world, and after two World Wars we believed we could, with our anthems of love and peace. Yet today, all of those hopes, dreams and ideals no longer exist, because the youth of today have everything they need, with nothing left to fight for. He likened the Sixties to something strange and mystical to these young people, who are now looking to the time period for an understanding of what it was all about?
And yes, it was a magical time, but perhaps what also makes it so interesting to the youngsters is the origination of 'The Twenty-Seven Club;' which those four very talented stars, in Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Brian Jones joined, all of whom were 27 years of age when they died; which the young now find so fascinating. Also, we were the first generation who believed we could bring an end to war, famine, and poverty; and that was a fine ideal indeed.