Hurdy Gurdy Man - Epic (US) 1968

Tracks: 1. Hurdy Gurdy Man / 2. Peregrine / 3. Entertaining of a Shy Girl / 4. As I Recall It / 5. Get Thy Bearings / 6. Hi It's Been a Long Time / 7. West Indian Lady / 8. Jennifer Juniper / 9. River Song / 10. Tangier / 11. Sunny Day / 12. Sun Is a Very Magic Fellow / 13. Teas / 14. Teen Angel [*] / 15. Poor Cow [*] / 16. Lalena [*] / 17. Aye My Love [*] / 18. What a Beautiful Creature You Are [#][*] / 19. Colours [*] / 20. Catch the Wind [*]


"Hurdy Gurdy Man" was Donovan's 1968 album, built up around the strong singles "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and "Jennifer Juniper". Like Donovan's other Micky Most produced albums this one touches upon a great varity of musical styles and instrumentations, with tasteful and original arrangements by John Cameron. Some of the more rocking tunes were arranged by John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin - e.g. the stunningly build-up title track, starting with Donovan's silent humming joined by his acoustic guitar and building up towords its climax with electric guitars and drums. The overall sound-quality of the recent re-mastered version is great!

"Jennifer Juniper" is a beautifully arranged pop-ballad featuring both oboe and harp. The album features a handful catchy free and easy tunes among which "The Entertaining of a Shy Girl"and "The Sun is a very Magic Fellow" stand out!

A couple of the droning tunes, combing traditional Eastern sounds with Celtic sounds, may sound a little dated. "West Indian Lady" revives memories of the Caribbean feel of Donovan's earlier single "There is a Mountain". A few tracks like "As I Recall it" and "Get Thy Bearings" are quite jazzy, and "Hi, It's Been a Long Time" is a great pop-tune, beautifully instrumentated.

Among the 7 bonus-tracks several stand out. The B-side "Teen Angel" is an early Donovan composition; a fine melody and a great addition. The album out-take "What a Beautiful Creature You Are" is a fun track with a very catchy melody. The song features singer Lulu. The song ought have been included on the original album.

The two re-recordings of "Catch the Wind" and Colours" done for a for a best of album, are both fine, though they lack the charm of the original versions.

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