Even if you are not familiar with his name, you have heard one or more songs written by Donovan Leitch. From classics Sunshine Superman to well referenced songs like Season of the Witch, Donovan’s music has almost become as synonymous with the 60’s as the music of the Beatles is. Interestingly, he is still relatively unknown to most people.
I became aware of Donovan and his music from the aforementioned tune ‘Season of the Witch’ from a rather interesting cover of the song via Hole’s cover from their Unplugged performance. Released on the 1997 compilation called My Body, the Hand Grenade, I became intrigued by the tune and soon tracked down the original recording and, with it, a plethora of classic psychedelic folk music from the 60’s I had not been aware of before.
Why this album?
Knowing I wanted to get to the meat of Donovan’s work, I found the Greatest Hits album and soon discovered that I had been missing out.
At first, Donovan might be considered a bit of an acquired taste. With his quirky lyrics and very psychedelic 60’s tone, Donovan comes across as an LSD infused Bob Dylan that has no limit to his energy and insanity. His lyrics are wacky and fun and his music goes from solemn to upbeat in the space of a heart beat. Although the lyrics can come across as nonsensical at times, truly listening to them gives you a sense of Donovan’s poetic genius creating sense where there was likely none to begin with.
In my research into Donovan and his music, I learned that he was in fact very influential to the music we know and love today. Playing with the likes of John Bonham, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones who would later go to create Led Zeppelin, Donovan also teaching John Lennon some guitar chords that would inspire several of their later songs.
Donovan’s Greatest Hits is the best entry to his music that you can get. Covering every style Donovan is known for and featuring some of his most interesting songs, this is the perfect primer if you want to get a taste of what this musician is all about. Who knows, maybe you will find the same appreciating in his music I did all those years ago.
Season Of The Witch. This tune is just rad. It’s surreal, clever and a little creepy all at once.
Atlantis. This one is both a song and a spoken word poem. Something about it just resonated with me though and it remains one of my favorites to this day.
Colours. This is classic 60’s folk music at it’s best. I find this tune to be one of the most relaxing and enjoyable I have found. It’s a good tune for waking up on a spring morning and just appreciating everything around you.
Ok, where do I get it?
You can pick this one up for around $10 these days and it is well worth it. Filled with some great tunes to add to your collection you really can’t get a better flavor of 60’s psychedelic folk music than the music of Donovan Leitch. If you want to listen before you buy, you can also find it on Spotify, but, trust me, you want to grab a copy for yourself.
Late to the Game 7/14/2020
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