The Hurdy Gurdy Man
One of the most fascinating albums of the late ‘60s, Hurdy Gurdy Man is a brilliant collaboration between Donovan and producer Mickie Most. The instrumentation is wild and diverse. Donovan performs a variety of styles each to jarring effect. On the title track his usual sunny disposition is given a dark shadow to rumble through the jungle. The band crafts a tough, firm backbeat for “Get Thy Bearings.” “As I Recall It” rallies toward the Kinks’ take on English Music Hall. “West Indian Lady” uses expressive percussion. “Jennifer Juniper” relies on a gentle gait. “The River Song,” “A Sunny Day” and “The Sun Is A Very Magic Fellow” continue Donovan’s paeans to nature. “The Entertaining of A Shy Girl” works a serene acoustic magic. “Tangier” forms the mystical palette for Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” (Future members of Led Zeppelin played on many Donovan tracks.) “Teas” is psychedelic in the best sense. The balance between Donovan’s acoustic whimsy and his deep investment in psychedlelia makes for some of the era’s most intriguing listens. Donovan may be “dated” to his period. But what a stunning period!