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The Hurdy Gurdy Man
The Hurdy Gurdy Man
Genres: Folk, International Music, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Donovan
Title: The Hurdy Gurdy Man
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sony
Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genres: Folk, International Music, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Styles: British & Celtic Folk, Europe, Britain & Ireland, Singer-Songwriters, Folk Rock, Psychedelic Rock, British Invasion
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 074642642027, 074642642041

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CD Reviews

One of the greatest from 1968
MurrayTheCat | upstate New York | 04/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Donovan is an artist of great individuality. His work is superbly imaginative, and I rank him among my favorite artists of all time--any genre. While "progressive" is a word often flippantly tossed about today--describing seemingly anything but the ultra-mundane--Donovan's music has always seemed truly progressive and original to me. He understood the tasteful use of color, and its effect, in both his music and his lyrics. His albums from '66 through '68 are monuments of the psychedelic era--mystical, enchanting...irresistible. There are two that stand out in my mind as being absolutely essential, masterpieces in every respect and worthy of being heralded along with the greatest albums rock has ever produced: SUNSHINE SUPERMAN and this glorious one. (I hope that got your attention.)We begin with the title cut--hushed at first, but when that lead guitar strikes and bends, the drums kick in, and (look out!) Donovan gets heavy. It was a big hit in '68. Then the mystical melody of "Peregrine" floats about the clippety-clop of hand percussion, while a harmonium hums along, carefree, almost oblivious to the fact that the vocal line is doing the same. At once it is as earthy and as ethereal as you could ever ask for. "The Entertaining Of A Shy Girl" offers a calming effect that dazzles, much the way sunlight would, partially blocked by leaves, creating a pleasing sparkle that dances on our senses. "As I Recall It" is a jazzy little ditty that gets us bopping and dancing to this lighthearted tune, while Donovan ironically sings sad lyrics of a disappointing affair. The mysticism returns with "Get Thy Bearings," a moody, but strongly rhythmic tune with an evocatively bluesy sax line. "Hi It's Been A Long Time" is a delicate and flowery gem decked out with ornate (but not overly done) orchestration.Next comes the tropic delight of "West Indian Lady." Conga and guiro lay down an infectious beat, while the flute adds a certain ecstasy. Who can resist this? The subtle use of strings and woodwinds is divine in "Jennifer Juniper," one of the most delightful little ditties ever. Dreamy, blissful...Donovan falls in love. The understated percussion is ever so charming. "The River Song" is yet another meditative wonder. The acoustic guitar and the distant bongo hypnotize as Donovan's vocals carry us away. The effect of "Tangier" is like riding on a train, looking out at the despair as we pass by. The rattling percussion keeps the train moving right along. The indigenous guitar work assists in the pictures we are seeing, while the slightly off-tempo vocals speak as if they are our thoughts. "A Sunny Day" cheers us up, but ever so lazily. The song is punctuated by a brief business that picks us up for an instant, only to return to the skip-along laziness. "The Sun Is A Very Magic Fellow" is as tuneful a song as any I know. This magical, sunny wonder will stick with you long after it ends. A song that smiles this much almost makes us feel guilty for feeling carefree in a world with so many major problems; but then maybe that's how songs like this best serve us. We conclude with "Teas," another dreamy song of uncommon character. It's amazing what this guy can create with such spare accompaniment. The horns at the end brilliantly close this thoroughly entrancing album.Strongest recommendations, folks. This isn't music, it's magic.Cheers,
The anti-greatest hits | Vail, CA | 12/14/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If your only exposure to this magical artist is his greatest hits, you are indeed missing out. His innovative style produces an ethereal sound that is as visual as it is moody-- far more psychedelic than the greatest hits. I recommend putting your speakers on opposite sides of you, facing you, before you press play. If you like Beck's Mutations, you'll love the Hurdy Gurdy Man."
Gazing With Tranquility
Marc Ruby? | Warren, MI USA | 10/11/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Back in my counter-culture days it seemed like Donovan was always playing on someone's stereo during our regular Hajira's into psychodelia. And yet, if you asked anyone who their favorite performers were, Donovan never made the list. A genuine case of an music becoming popular for being a 'good trip' rather than great art. Of course, that wasn't important then, and it isn't particularly meaningful know. Donovan's work went through several phases, depending on what was popular at the time. So he started out as a Bob Dylan sound-alike, and then did a Beatles psychodelic phase before settling into what became a trademerk remaking that seemed to freely mix oriental rhythms with pre-war jazz/pop stylings. With a regular slap of psychedelic to keep things on an even keel. 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' would probably be considered the apex of that period, coming just before his breakup with Most. It is worth noting that this album, featuring Jeff Beck on lead guitar, was nearly his last - followed by a reunion album ('Cosmic Wheels') several years later, and then a long wait until the arrival of 'Sutras.'The album forshadows the coming discontent which eventually drove Donovan out of the music business. The title song, 'Hurdy Gurdy Man,' combines what are upbeat lyrics with a very dark performance. This ambivalence continues in a set of songs with a very bitter edge - "Teas," "Tangier," and "Hi It's Been a Long Time." Yet "Jennifer Juniper" and "Peregrine," among others, stand in stark contrast. The thinly concealed conflicts that the album captures will eventually drive Donovan into retreat in the U.S.While I will never see Donovan as one of that era's greatest musicians, he is often underrated because of the apparent simplicity of his delivery. This is unfair, since, while often imitative, he usually takes the familiar someplace where it didn't expect to go. I still enjoy his music, and believe that most listeners will find the experience worthwhile."