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Barabajagal

Donovan

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Album Review

Donovan was in a tremendously creative phase during the latter part of 1968, owing to both a tour of the United States (which yielded a live album) and the chemical and social stimulation of his surroundings. Amid all of that activity and his subsequent recordings, his European performances, and the slightly late catch-up of his British career to his American success, Donovan's work blossomed in several different directions on the resulting album, Barabajagal. He still sounded like a folkie, but on the title track as well as "Superlungs My Supergirl," he was backed by the Jeff Beck Group and an outfit that included Big Jim Sullivan and John Paul Jones, respectively. With Barabajagal, Donovan intermingled soft, lyrical, spaced-out folk, hard psychedelia, children's songs, anthems to free love (along with a lusty appreciation of the fairer sex that runs throughout the album), and even antiwar sentiments ("To Susan on the West Coast Waiting"). The result was the most challenging album then issued by Donovan, but also one of his most successful, with album sales driven by the presence of the U.S. hit "Atlantis."

Biography

Born: 10 May 1946 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Upon his emergence during the mid-'60s, Donovan was anointed "Britain's answer to Bob Dylan," a facile but largely unfounded comparison which compromised the Scottish folk-pop troubadour's own unique vision. Where the thrust of Dylan's music remains its bleak introspection and bitter realism, Donovan fully embraced the wide-eyed optimism of the flower power movement, his ethereal, ornate songs radiating a mystical beauty and childlike wonder; for better or worse, his recordings remain quintessential...
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