#TwoForTuesday: Donovan

BritishInvasion

Donovan Leitch, known better by just his first name, started out sounding like Bob Dylan and Woodie Guthrie, but ultimately mixed his folk sound with psychedelic elements and harder rock, and became popular through songs such as “Sunshine Superman,” “Mellow Yellow,” and “The Hurdy-Gurdy Man.” He was also an influence on many other British Invasion acts, not the least of which being The Beatles. He’s still quite active, celebrating his 50th anniversary with a retrospective album, although he dropped out of the spotlight in the late 1970’s with the advent of punk rock. His official website is here, and you can find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Another person he influenced is Al Kooper, formerly of The Blues Project and Blood, Sweat, and Tears. The two songs I’m featuring today were both recorded by Al doing one project or another. The first is “Season of the Witch,” featured on Al’s Supersession album with Michael Bloomfield and Stephen Stills. Stills played guitar on the track (and used a wah-wah pedal throughout). Donovan’s version features Jimmy Page on guitar and John Paul Jones on keyboards. It was released in September 1966 on the album Sunshine Superman.

The second song is “Catch the Wind,” released in the UK in March 1965 and in the US a couple of months later. It reached #4 in the UK and #23 in the US, and was recorded by The Blues Project on their 1966 album, Live At The Cafe Au Go Go. It was Donovan’s first release and was later featured on his first album, What’s Bin Did And What’s Bin Hid.

Donovan, your Two for Tuesday, July 14, 2015.

5 thoughts on “#TwoForTuesday: Donovan

  1. He was here last year for JazzFest (??). The picture on the front of the ‘Stars’ magazine showed a handsome elder statesman who had grown into good looks. His music? Well, that was always impeccable. I remember one morning when I was over in the gym and ‘they’ announced on the campus radio station that it was Donovan’s birthday. “Who the hell is Donovan?” the girl on the elliptical asked.
    I felt really old after that.

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    1. Donovan at a jazz fest is not all that far-fetched. There were jazz elements in some of his songs (“Season of the Witch,” for example).

      A friend of mine was at a record store in the late ’70’s and he overheard two middle school girls. One said to the other, “Did you know Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?” It hadn’t been that long before, either…

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    1. He always came off as a goofy hippie-type, but wrote excellent songs and was a good singer and guitarist who influenced a lot of musicians. Music is better because of him.

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