Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Donovan - Sutras

After Rick Rubin revived Johnny Cash’s career with the stripped down American Recordings album in 1994 he went looking for another artist who needed a shot in the arm. He signed Donovan, that psychedelic folk rocker who wasn’t heard from much after 1970, to his label. Sutras was the result of this and it is a very good record but unfortunately it didn’t garner quite the attention or sales as Johnny’s did.

Rubin used the same concept as he did with Cash in that it is a very simple recording with acoustic guitar and Donovan’s voice being the center on which all the tracks are built with some bass and keyboards added on some tracks and only a few feature drums or percussion of any kind. Many of the songs have a mellow, spiritual/introspective tone to them and Donovan’s voice sounds almost exactly like it did in his heyday and his guitar playing is very good as well. I saw him perform many of these songs in a small club around the time the album came out and I was extremely surprised at how good a performer/storyteller he is as I really didn’t know what to expect.

Here is the song Eldorado with the words of Edgar Allen Poe put to music by Donovan. The Way is the closest the album comes to sounding like his old 60’s psychedelic pop songs.

Now Rick Rubin has done the same thing with the new Neil Diamond record called 12 songs and apparently it is getting good reviews!

I wonder who the next one will be?

Lou Reed? Joni Mitchell? Leonard Cohen? Just thinking out loud.

But it here.

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