Video: Donovan – “I Am The Shaman”
Directed by David Lynch. Single out now.
I love Donovan. I have since high school. For my birthday last year my wife got me a signed copy of his Sixty Four collection of demos on vinyl. I still frequently find myself getting angry at Bob Dylan for being mean to him in Dont Look Back. I love his fingerpicking style and his gentle Scottish voice. His sixties stuff is the best, but every once in a while I will put on Sutras, his 1996 album produced by Rick Rubin immediately after resuscitating the career of Johnny Cash.
I haven’t checked out his latest album, Lunarian, released this February but the singles he has shared have been intriguing, especially a 1969 recording called “Still Waters” that features Nils Lofgren.
So now it turns out that Donovan has been hanging out with filmmaker David Lynch and extolling the virtues of transcendental mediation together. Who knew!
Donovan says, “It was all impromptu. I visited the studio and David said, ‘Sit at the mics with your guitar Don’. David in same room behind control desk with my Linda. He had asked me to only bring in a song just emerging, not anywhere near finished. We would see what happens. It happened! I composed extempore … the verses came naturally. New chord patterns effortlessly appeared. On another day David ‘Sound Sculpted’ my Ferrington acoustic guitar ‘Kelly’ and he played his unique Modal Chord Ferrington Guitar textures with ‘Effects’. David and I are ‘Compadres’ on a creative path rarely travelled.”
The results are psychedelic and a little spooky. Yeah mon.
Underrated psych-pop-folkie Donovan has received the medal of Officier dans L’Ordre des Arts et des Letttres from the French government and loves the internet:
“The dream of the ’60s, of me and John Lennon and the others, was: How do we speak to everybody on the planet at the same time?” said Donovan, whose career has been revived in TV commercials using his hits. “The first answer was via satellite, but that didn’t connect to everyone. Then John would say, ‘How about telepathy?’
“Then we forgot about it until now we realize that the Internet fulfills that dream of communicating with everyone. I’m not afraid of the Internet because it’s that the dream we had. The Internet is the new ’60s as far as I’m concerned.”
Donovan: web, myspace, wiki.
I watched the movie Don’t Look Back last night which features a lot of Dylan and his friends being mean to Donovan. And I realized I don’t own any Donovan on cd, and most of my Donovan collection was on tape, which I’ve since given or thrown away, and I couldn’t even rememeber the melody of the song, “Colours.” I kept singing it to the tune of “Blowing in the Wind.”
So as I was playing Donovan’s greatest hits lp while I was getting ready for work, it struck me that I used to be a really huge Donovan fan. He was right up there with the Beatles, the Smiths and the Dead Milkmen: the trinity of “all I listened to in high school” as my revisionist history tells it. So now I have to add Donovan to that list. The Beatles, the Smiths, the Dead Milkmen and Donovan were all I listened to in high school. And while that’s not factually accurate, I think it goes a long way to describe me then (in musical terms at least, or as Nick Hornby writes: it’s not what you’re like that matters, but what you like). The added Donovan factor reveals the dippier side of me that the Smiths (and to some extent, the Beatles) only hint at. I wasn’t into Dylan; I was into Donovan. That statement’s not really fair to Donovan, because the Dylan copying ended very early in his career. But still. He was/is considered a poser by a lot of the rockcrit elite, and I don’t care. I guess I do care because I would argue about it over beers with anyone who would accept the challenge. This fairly recent punk rock attitude/faux Lester Bangs machismo side of me might seem to be in direct contrast to the Donovan-loving, lovebeads-wearing goof I was in high school, but it’s not really. Or maybe it is.
Either way: Hail Atlantis!