Got The Fever

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I’m not as knowledgeable or as erudite in chart placement as say The Good DJ as to how high a track placed on Billboard. I’m more of a ‘feeling it’ listener for the time and place that the track takes me to, or the purest delight a track will continue to radiate despite its age or novelty. If I relish the song, I will be hard pressed to recant my feeling for it.

Though I do certainly profess my weakness for popular tracks, I have always been one of those who must play the offering (album, tape or CD) from start to finish most every time. I have always believed that this gives me a broad sheet with which to display the breath, depth and scope of an artist. I simply have to devour everything on the offertory platter.

I believe that is why I’m so stubbornly attached to the songs that were once so freely played when FM dominated the music world and which they now proudly categorize as the so-called ‘deep cuts’ when they want to throw us a bone on one of their special promotional weekends. And even then it’s not an expression of what went to the sinews of an artist or the time of release. I’m talking of the tracks that your friends would tell you that you must listen to in order to really know or appreciate the artist.

A case in point would be Donovan and his album ‘Barabajagal’. We know the stations will always pound ‘Sunshine Superman’ and ‘Mellow Yellow’ through the airwaves, but we never do hear the creeping foreboding of ‘Season Of The Witch’ which was a monster FM track so huge that it was included on the Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Steven Stills Super Sessions album and was also covered by Vanilla Fudge and countless garage bands. We also do not ever hear the Jimmy Page fuzz laced ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’, or the wistful and elegant ‘Wear Your Love Like Heaven’ a track that was so indelibly identified with Donovan.

The man could surround himself with vaunted musicians (I also have recordings of him and McCartney together) and producers – Mickey Most being the one who produced ‘Barabajagal’. As well as being identified as a voice of the hippy and flower children movements, he could charge with lance and guitar very well thank you.

Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)
With the Jeff Beck band backing him up and Robert Plant on backup vocals you have a majestic mounting of holy musicians biting at the bit to swell forward.

Ingest the stuttering guitar riff and the rhythm that smoothes it out. This could easily be prolonged into a heaqvy middle eight jam, and longer, but is tastefully restrained and held just on the edge of madness. What a joy to hear the maracas and drums busy and bristling, spreading the paste that binds the track with rhythmic frenzy.

This is one song that I find myself wishing I could have seen live.

She came, she came to meet a man, she found an angel
Goo goo, goo goo Barabajagal was his name now.

He very wise in the herbal lore's, got young cure now
She came, she came to free the pain with his wild flower.
Goo goo, goo goo Barabajagal was his name now,

True true, true true the song he sang her while the leaves cooked
Ting ting, ting little bell he rang her, sleepily she looked.
He filled, he filled a leather cup, holding her gaze
She took, she took a little sip while this song he sang:

Goo goo, goo goo Barabajagal was my name now.

Superlungs – My Supergirl
This always seems to remind me of The Yardbirds, especially the intro – circa 'Still I’m Sad'. Phase effect vocal, fuzz lead riff and of course Donovan’s flowing acoustic. I can easily see this covered by someone along the lines of say, REM.

At only 2:42, it is short and sweet as they say. But, it’s a track that plays continuously time and again in my head after an occasional resurrection. You may find yourself humming the chorus absentmindedly after only a few plays.

You see this kind of chick in every town
Whenever there's a scene she's always hanging around
She's so naïve and innocent, stares at you with awe
She's only fourteen but she knows how to draw

She never gets involved with blowing her cool
She's too busy painting sky with her classmates in school
Teachers they ignore, they would if they could
She ain't quite grown up yet but her breathin's real good

Supergirl She's my supergirl and I love her

Donovan: Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)
Donovan: Superlungs – My Supergirl
From: Barabajagal [1969]

Well, after such a long introductory rant I guess the central point is that among all those albums or CDs that you own, are countless gems that lie dormant, waiting alongside the one or two tracks that you may have purchased the platter for in the first place. Do your musical inclinations a favor and spin the whole shebang.


  • Well-written post.
    And I totally agree about those...'deep cuts".
    That's what makes these discoveries so exciting.
    I especially enjoyed your musical offerings.
    Very little I know of for the usual tracks heard on the radio.
    Good stuff!

    By Blogger Casey, at 12:02 PM  

  • Good choices, indeed. I echo Casey's thoughts. I should add that one of my favorite versions of "Season of the Witch" is by -- of all people -- Lou Rawls.

    By Blogger whiteray, at 7:06 PM  

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