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Donovan - Barabajagal (1969) review

Donovan "Barabajagal" (Music On Vinyl, 1969/2013)

After a huge success with 1968 album “The Hurdy Gurdy Man” and tour across the USA, Donovan found a lot of inspiration to write and record his 1969 masterpiece “Barabajagal”. Donovan continued his pervious tradition of making progress in his music and attracting famous session musicians. On this album he was supported with Jeff Beck Group with Ron Wood, Rod Steward, John Paul Jones (that year he became a part of Led Zeppelin) and many others. That’s probably the reason why this album sounds a little bit divided into good songs (recorded with JBG) and those not so good. It`s a mix bag of styles and trips that he had at the time. Album is a mix of hard rock psychedelic and his traditional folk sound. Original LP was released with ten songs:
1.     "Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)" – 3:20
2.     "Superlungs (My Supergirl)" – 2:39
3.     "Where Is She?" – 2:46
4.     "Happiness Runs" – 3:25
5.     "I Love My Shirt" – 3:19
1.     "The Love Song" – 3:14
2.     "To Susan on the West Coast Waiting" – 3:12
3.     "Atlantis" – 4:58
4.     "Trudi" – 2:23
5.     "Pamela Jo" – 4:24

Singles "Goo Goo Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)" / "Trudi" was released as a single in June 1969 in the UK and in August 1969 in the United States. Second single “Atlantis” with "To Susan on the West Coast Waiting" made a huge success in the USA, what resulted with another big tour.
Donovan had contractual dispute between Pye Records and Epic Records from 1966, so practically all of his albums from that period had some release delay in UK comparing to the USA releases.

Album opens with groovy “Barabajagal”, with great musical background supported with Donovan`s nice singing, that made impressions as the album will be more psychedelic than his earlier works. The same story is for second song “Superlungs My Supergirl”. Next two songs “Where is she” and “Happiness Runs” sound more like classic Donovan in all of his folk style. “I love my shirt” is like a children`s song. Really hard to understand what he wanted to achieve with putting it on this album together with “The love song”. “To Susan on the West Coast Waiting” is a song that gained a lot of popularity in USA, as its about Vietnam war, the topic that was very popular during the 60s. This song was released as the B side of the single “Atlantis”, that is the next song. Song about ancient civilization that doesn’t exist anymore became a sort of a hymn of the hippie movement. Next “Trudi” is a rewrite of "Lay of the Last Tinker" which appeared on "A Gift From a Flower to a Garden”. Album ends with “Pamela Jo” a Beatles style song…well it won`t be a pity if he excluded it from the album, but OK.

General impression is that as most of his albums – it has great moments with fantastic songs with some unclear moments, but that`s all the part of his creativity as the legend.

Review made by Andrija Babovic/2013
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