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Barabajagal
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 22 June 2009
Barabajagal was Donovan's sixth studio album of original material in three years, and unfortunately it shows. In circumstances reminiscent of the Sunshine Superman (2005 Digital Remaster) (Stereo) album, much of it was in the can for well over a year before being released in America, and Pye in the UK chose not to release it at all.

It features the hit single Goo Goo Barajagal (Love Is Hot)/Trudi (Bed With Me), both of which feature the Jeff Beck Group, and are about as sexualized and as heavy as Donovan ever gets. Trudi was actually a reworked and partially reworded version of The Lay Of The Last Tinker from A Gift From A Flower To A Garden: The Little Ones album. Atlantis, a previous single, which was coupled in America with the disarmingly childlike, if less successful anti-Viet Nam War song To Susan In The West Coast Waiting, is also a highly striking and atmospheric piece of work. What was used to fill up the rest of the album was distinctly below par, however, with the worst examples actually predisposing one by context against the rest.

Superlungs My Supergirl, a song he had attempted and discarded twice in 1966, is somewhat Jeff Beck-lite and is perfectly fine, with some nice guitar work from Big Jim Sullivan, though Donovan's boast at the age of 22 that the girl he loves is "only fourteen but she knows how to draw" might raise more eyebrows now than then. This, Happiness Runs and the lovely Where Is She, featuring Harold McNair's delicate flute work, were recorded during the sessions for the Hurdy Gurdy Man (2005 Digital Remaster) album in May 1968, but following a falling out with producer Mickie Most the remaining tracks, along with To Susan... were recorded later in the year in Los Angeles with Gabriel Mekler producing and Richie Podolor at the desk, and sadly miss his production skills and John Cameron's skilled arrangements, and make the album a somewhat mixed rag-bag.

There was a hippie tendency at the time for musical teenage couples to regress occasionally into faux-childhood (step forward Principal Edward's Magic Theatre and the Incredible String Band, to cite but two), and the charmless I Love My Shirt (which had already been inexplicably favoured with release as a B-side in the UK) and embarrassingly forced sing-along Pamela Jo illustrate why this trend, of which Donovan could be particularly prone, should be stamped out.

For me, Happiness Runs (aka The Pebble And The Man) falls into the same category, though as the song was taken up over the years by Mary Hopkin, Bridget St John and the estimable Kate Bush, though with rather more success, perhaps I'll let it pass.

Listening to the bonus tracks one finds an attempt at a single that was rightly rejected, despite quite a decent B-side featuring acoustic guitar picking, but also an indisputable Donovan classic in The Swan (Lord Of The Reedy River). How this could have passed up in favour of fare such as The Love Song is inexplicable to me. Perhaps it was being held over as the song turned up in the film If It's Tuesday This Must Be Belgium in 1969, and was re-recorded for the 1971 album HMS Donovan.

This expanded issue ends on a more optimistic note with seven more successful (apart from the dreadful cod-reggae Palais Girl) raw demos recorded in February 1969 of songs that were mostly to turn up on future Donovan albums.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Barababajagal and Trudi (In bed with me) with the JEFF BECK GROUP is a must ! We find a lot of bonus tracks : "runaway"
(alternate take of "ONE NIGNT IN TIME" Japanese release) - "The swan" (alternate take "Lord of the Reedy river" HMS DONOVAN) - "A poor man's Sunshine" & "Lord of the Universe" (Find long time after on "BEAT CAFE") - "Marjorie" (alternate take "Marjorie Marjoraine" LOVE IS ONLY FEELING the last only LP release, not on CD !!!!!) - "Little white Flower" (only released on the bootleg LP OLD FASHIONNED PICTURE BOOK) - "Good morning Mr Wind" (alternate take HMS DONOVAN) - "Palais Girl" (1968 studio recording for shelved proposed album). All the other songs sound smooth and pretty : Where is she ? , The love song, To Susan..., and of course ATLANTIS (the hit used for the Walt Disney picture ATLANTIS re-recorded with NO ANGELS not this version here).
John Lennon said : Listen to this man, he's a poet. He is as important as we are (The Beatles), I'm in France and his music came to me. He is a major poet.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2005
This EMI remastered version of the album "Barabajagal" is truly a release of the previously unreleased if I ever saw one! No less than 13 previously unreleased tracks are featured on this CD. Some of them are alternative versions of already released songs (e.g. "New Years Resolution"), but some of them is material, which has not been released ever before. An example of that is the song "Stromberg Twins", which was originally meant for "Barabajagal", but never made it unto the record. Or the amazing songs "Little White Flower" and "Lord of the Universe", which have gone unreleased until now. Strange, but true.
But in ones excitement about all the previously unreleased material on this CD one should not forget "Barabajagal" itself. "Barabajagal" is very much a worthwhile album to lend an ear. From the upbeat hills of "Superlungs My Supergirl" and "Barabajagal" to the introspective seashore of "Happiness Runs" and "To Susan On the West Coast Waiting" this album addresses a wide spectrum of moods and insights.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2007
"Barabajagal" was Donovan's last album to be released in the 1960's and his fifth produced by Mickie Most.

Compared to his previous albums this is probably the most versatile, partly due to the fact that it was recorded during several sessions, featuring different musicians.

The three hit singles "Atlantis"; "To Susan on the West Coast" and "Barabajagal" are good examples of the album's great variety. "Atlantis" is a fine folky tune with an ecstatic ending ending much like the Beatles' "Hey Jude". "To Susan on the West Coast" is an acoustic anti-war song and "Barabajagal" is an almost riff-based rocker with solid backing by Jeff Beck Group.

Among the tracks I like "Happines Runs" and "Superlungs My Supergirl", but the rest are mostly sub-par tracks. The original album had a very short playing time, a little more than thirty minutes. Fortunately a lot of relevant bonus-tracks have been added to the album.

Interesting to hear "Stromberg Twins", another track with backing from Jeff Beck and his band; and song that ought have been included originally. But the strongest material are found among the last seven tracks, which are just demos; but all sounding great.

"Marjorie" and "Palais Girl" are really great songs that finally get a deserved release.

The booklet contains the final chapter of the Mickie Most Years ( part 4, Nov. 68 to Dec. 1969 ), which is great read; and although the album is not quite up to the standards of its predecessors, it's still a quite fine album.
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on 14 January 2012
Barabajagal contains Donovan's final two charting singles, the funky, saucy Barabajagal and ambitious New-Agey Atlantis. Sex and mysticism are Donovan's main pre-occupations here, and sometimes things getting a little questionable in these regards. The best tracks are sound if not truly outstanding, Happiness Runs and To Susan On The West Coast Waiting are nice but fall short of his finest work. There is a good mixture of styles providing variety from rock through some perky reggae to folk, but there are a few shaky moments such as the throwaway, plain awful I Love My Shirt and painful singalong Pamela Jo, which manage to taint the album as a whole.

I get the distinct feeling with this album that Donovan had used his best ideas elsewhere and was basically treading water, with diminishing results. Whether this was a consequence of consciously struggling to live up to his myth or over-confidence that everything he wrote must be good, I suspect Barabajagal's faults are a side-effect of fame and success. Like Paul McCartney and so many others "silly love songs" became the order of the day. Sweet nothings. This feeling is magnified at times when taking a traipse amongst the plentiful bonus tracks, where lyrics often seem feeble, repetitive and pointless. Saying that, some of the cd's best tracks are tucked away here too, The Swan (Lord Of The Reedy River) and Little White Flower (demo) are both gorgeous, and I'm quite taken by the meandering New Year's Resolution (Donovan's Celtic Jam). Elsewhere, having nothing better to do, he seems to be randomly picking girls names and coming up with something faintly amusing that rhymes with them, and voila, we have the core of a new song. Sometimes there are some lovely melodies behind these weak lyrics, which go some way to redeeming them.

I don't think this album is likely to see as much wear and tear as the likes of the excellent Gift From A Flower To A Garden and Mellow Yellow, but it's not a disaster by any means.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 21 February 2007
I wouldn't call myself a Donovan fan but one listen to this album and I knew I had to own it. There's just the right mixture of sublime acoustic jangle and electric groove. Donovan's mellifluous, lilting vocals are an absolute joy, and boy! can he pen a tune. I've been put off his stuff in the past by the childish quality of some of his songs and that element is present here but in very small doses. "I Love My Shirt" is the main offender and that's not too bad. The rest of the album is pure bliss. I love the story-telling style of "Atlantis" and the cheekiness of "The Stromberg Twins". The title track and "Snakeskin" both have really catchy grooves but for me the bonus tracks are the best. "The Swan" is like a W B Yeats poem, with its dream-like quality and superb lyric. "Runaway" reminds me a bit of Syd Barrett's solo, acoustic stuff and "New Years Resolution" shows off Donovan's proficiency as a Celtic-style guitarist to impressive effect. Overall, I'd advise this album for relaxing by the fireside on a winter's night, mug of tea in hand and carpet slippers on feet.
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on 2 August 2015
A++++++
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