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...you're my singer, let me be your song...




More reissues for this album

The Hurdy Gurdy Man

Side 1:
01. Hurdy Gurdy Man
02. Peregrine
03. The Entertaining Of A Shy Girl
04. As I Recall It
05. Get Thy Bearings

06. Hi It's Been A Long Time

07. West Indian Lady

Side 2:
08. Jennifer Juniper
09. The River Song
10. Tangier
11. A Sunny Day
12. The Sun Is A Very Magic Fellow

13. Teas

All songs by Donovan P. Leitch, except: 09 and 11 by Donovan P. Leitch and David J. Mills (aka Gypsy Dave), 10 by David J. Mills.

Bonus tracks from other reissues

Teen Angel

Poor Cow


Aye My Love

What A Beautiful Creature You Are**


Catch The Wind*

All bonus tracks by Donovan P. Leitch.

* Non original albums versions.

** Previously unreleased.

Released: October 1968

Recorded: Nov 1967-May 1968

· Olympic Studios


Label: Epic BN 26420 (stereo)

Country: USA

Format: vinyl LP

Producer: Mickie Most


Billboard: 16/11/1968

20 weeks, #20

Cash Box: 17 weeks, #18

Record World: 17 weeks, #14


· Donovan: vocals, acoustic guitar. Tambura on track 01, harmonium on 02 and 10, harmonica on Teen Angel.

· Alan Parker: lead electric guitar on track 01.

· Big Jim Sullivan: electric guitar on Colours and Catch The Wind.

· John Paul Jones: bass, arrangement and musical direction on track 01. Bass on Colours and Catch The Wind.

· Clem Cattini: drums on track 01.

· Danny Thompson: bass.

· Tony Carr: drums and percussion.

· John 'Candy' Carr: bongos and percussion.

· Harold McNair: flute and saxophone.

· David Snell: harp on track 08.

· Deirdre Dodds: oboe on track 08.

· John Cameron: arrangement and piano. Harmonium on Poor Cow.

· Lulu: vocals on What A Beautiful Creature You Are.

Singles out of this album:

· Jennifer Juniper/Poor Cow

· Hurdy Gurdy Man/Teen Angel


· Donovan wrote and recorded part of this album in November 1967 (Peregrine, As I Recall It, Jennifer Juniper, The River Song, Tangier, A Sunny Day and Teas). The rest of the songs were recorded on April 3, 1968, after Donovan's visit to Rishikesh, India, to study meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. John Lennon, Cynthia Lennon, George Harrison, Pattie Boyd, Jennifer Boyd, Paul McCartney, Jane Asher, Mia Farrow, Prudence Farrow, and Mike Love were there as well.

· Hurdy Gurdy Man was written for Donovan's old friend and guitar mentor Mac MacLeod. MacLeod was in a Danish band at the time called Hurdy Gurdy. Donovan's first purpose was to give the song to Mac's band, as a present, but he changed his mind following Mickie Most advise: the single was a great hit and Hurdy Gurdy never recorded Hurdy Gurdy Man. The song features a harder rock sound than Donovan's previous recordings but shows the Indian influence with the use of a tambura. It was an anthem for free-spirited hippies with a great psychedelic sound, later to be called "Celtic Rock".

· The lyrics recount the tale of a nameless narrator being visited in his dreams by the eponymous Hurdy Gurdy Man and his close associate, the Roly Poly Man. Both men come "singing songs of love".

· Donovan has claimed in several concerts that he played the song for George Harrison when they were in Rishikesh, India, and George said: "I can write a verse for that song, Don". He did, but it wasn't recorded for the studio version, because the producers said it would be too long for a single, and they prefered to keep the guitar solo rather than an extra verse. Donovan said the verse is a summary of the Maharishi's explanation of the way the teaching of transcendental consciousness has eventually re-awakened after it has been forgotten for a long period of time, and is based on part of the Maharishi's commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. Donovan said the Hurdy Gurdy Man is the one who re-awakens this knowledge, and in this case is the Maharishi, though there have been others as well. On the 1973 live album Live in Japan: Spring Tour 1973 Donovan sings the "lost verse" for the first time in an official recording:

When the truth gets buried deep

Beneath a thousand years of sleep

Time demands a turn around

And once again the truth is found

Awakening the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Who comes singing songs of love

· Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones formed Led Zeppelin after the recording sessions for The Hurdy Gurdy Man. Jimmy Page was in The Yardbirds at the time. Although Donovan has declared in several interviews that it was indeed Jimmy Page who played the famous guitar solo on Hurdy Gurdy Man, John Paul Jones, Clem Cattini and Jimmy Page himself have said that it was actually Alan Parker. At first, Donovan wanted Jimi Hendrix to play guitar in the song, but he was unavailable so they contacted Jimmy Page instead. Jimmy wasn't there so Alan Parker played the guitar solo.

· Peregrine was dedicated to George Harrison. Metaphorically, the "boats upon the sea" were George Harrison's thoughts.

· Donovan wrote West Indian Lady when he was in India studying Meditation, he actually had a poster of an Indian girl on his bedroom's wall.

· Jennifer Juniper was written for Jennifer Boyd, Pattie Boyd's younger sister, on whom Donovan had a crush. Juniper was the name of a boutique Jennifer Boyd ran in London. They went together to the famous trip to India with all the Beatles. Jennifer Boyd appears in a short movie directed by Karl Ferris called Wear Your Love Like Heaven, when Donovan was preparing his album A Gift From A Flower To A Garden. Despite the rumours around the song and the possibility of a love affair between them, Donovan denied anything happened in his autobiography The Hurdy Gurdy Man. He just wrote the song because he felt like doing it. The words Jennifer and Juniper are etymologically the same. It was recorded in January 1968, right before they went to India.

· In 1968 a lot of girls were named Jennifer, after the song's title.

· In the film Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, Natalie Portman plays Jennifer Juniper on the piano.

· This album includes two songs Donovan wrote in collaboration with his best friend Gypsy Dave, The River Song and A Sunny Day, and a song completely by Gypsy Dave, Tangier. It is especially in these songs where a big influence of Indian's music can be heard.

· Donovan says in his autobiography that Mal Evans (The Beatles' road manager) co-wrote The Sun Is A Very Magic Fellow while in India.

· This album was not released in the UK because of the continuing contractual dispute.

· Teen Angel was originally the B side to the Hurdy Gurdy Man single.

  • · Poor Cow through many changes since Donovan first composed it. Its original title wasn't Poor Cow, but Poor Love. Originally, Donovan composed Poor Love as part of a series of songs he was writing for The Lord Of The Rings. He had the idea of making a film based on the book, but then he learned that the Beatles were working on a similar project and were first in line. The project was stopped because J. R. R. Tolkien didn't want his story made into a film or even illustrated, he wanted everyone to imagine the characters by themselves. The original lyric of Poor Love includes the lines:

    Oh, I dwell in the north, in the green country

    Faramir, far from here

    Donovan sings this lines in the single version and also in the Donovan In Concert version, which was recorded (before the release of the film) at the Anaheim Convention Center on November 17, 1967 but was released in August 1968 - and in this concert he even introduces the song as Poor Love, although in the tracklist is listed as Poor Cow.
  • · Donovan changed the name of Poor Love when it was going to be featured in Kean Loach's movie. The film version was probably recorded during the first sessions for the Hurdy Gurdy Man album, in November 1967 and features only Donovan with acoustic guitar and a very brief instrumental intro. The lyrics were changed, too: the rural green landscape was replaced with a grey industrial one, to match the script. Thus, were the original version said "I dwell in the north in the green country", the film version said "I dwell in the town in the grey country". The word "wearily" replaced "far and near" (which already had replaced "Faramir"!). "I dwelt with my pride and my songs and things" was replaced with "I live with my pride and my babe (or kid) and things". The "greenwood" was replaced with a "wasteground". The part that mentions Sandy Lee ("And I dream of the girl with the sunshine eye/Sandy Lee, wherever she may be") didn't appeared at all in the film version because it wouldn't have made any sense, so Donovan sang instead "And I take to my rest at the end of day". And finally he doesn't "make a song" anymore, he just "hear a song".
  • · The studio version of Poor Cow was eventually released as the B side for the single Jennifer Juniper (although the American single was first scheduled to have Poor Cow as the A side). It was recorded in an unknown London studio, probably Olympic Studios, with producer Mickie Most, Danny Thompson on bass and Tony Carr on percusion. It is unclear who played the accordion, maybe Jack Emblow. Strings were added later by an orchestra arranged and conducted by John Cameron. The single version was probably part of the Hurdy Gurdy Man album sessions, in November 1967.

· Lalena was released as a single and wasn't included in any official album, but in compilations. Donovan never revealed the origins of the title Lalena until 2004, in an interview with Jim Bessman for the Entertainment News Wire. Donovan declared:
It's not very well-known, but Lalena is a composite title made up from the name of the German actress Lotte Lenya. I was fascinated with The Threepenny Opera as a socially conscious musical, so when I saw the movie version with Lotte Lenya, I thought: "OK, she's a streetwalker, but in the History of the world, in all nations, women have taken on various roles from priestess to whore to mother to maiden to wife". This guise of sexual power is very prominent, and therein I saw the plight of the character. Women have roles thrust upon them and make the best they can out of them, so I'm describing the character Lotte Lenya is playing, and a few other women I've seen during my life, but it's a composite character of women who are outcasts on the edge of society: Bohemia».
That explains the verse "That's your lot in life, Lalena/I Can't blame ya, Lalena". The Threepenny Opera was an "opera for beggars" written in 1931 by Kurt Weill (Lotte Lenya's husband) and Bertolt Brecht, which starred Lotte Lenya in the role of the prostitute Jenny Diver.

· In 1968, a lot of girls were named Lalena after the song (here's a Facebook group of people called Lalena or similar).

· The version of Aye My Love included on the 2005 reissue of The Hurdy Gurdy Man album is a bit different than the version that originally appeared as the B side to the single Lalena.

· The 2005 reissue includes a song that had never been released before, What A Beautiful Creature You Are, a spicy duet with singer Lulu.

· Colours and Catch The Wind are the versions that appeared on the 1969 compilation Greatest Hits, recorded in November 1968 at Abbey Road Studios, London. Epic wasn't able to get the rights to the original recordings, so Donovan had to record them again. He included a full backing band on these tracks and sings with a softer voice than in the original songs.

· Jennifer Juniper is often listed as Jennifer Junniper or Jenifer Juniper. In the Mellow Yellow EP is listed as Jennifer Jupiter!

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