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3.9 out of 5 stars
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 1 December 2015
'Barabajagal' is a Donovan Leitch album which often divides the critics and fans alike, but I have always had a real soft spot it. This was the Scottish poet's final studio record of the 1960s, which was the man's most commercially successful decade as a recording artist, and initially, was only released in America, where it peaked in their charts at a respectable no. 23, but never in Britain, due to a running contractual dispute.

The most famous song on this Mickie Most produced album has got to be the title track, which is a relatively heavy rocker, with it's backing provided by The Jeff Beck Group, and this was to become Donovan's last top 40 hit single in any country. Other gems include the upbeat rocker 'Superlungs (My Supergirl)', which was originally recorded during the 'Sunshine Superman' sessions but neglected, with it's fabulous psychedelic effect, the gentle, laid-back 'Where Is She', the pure joy which is the sing-along track 'Happiness Runs', the sheer brilliance of the song writing of the atmospheric anti-war tune 'To Susan on the West Coast Waiting', and 'Atlantis', which had Paul McCartney on backing vocals, and is a folky song so good that it's even mentioned on the front cover. The others aren't quite as noteworthy, but I do enjoy the very silly but charming 'I Love My Shirt', which was aimed at children, and really is lovely in it's innocence.

Whilst not as strong as Donovan's previous offerings, there are plenty of little treats to taste on 'Barabajagal'. If I was to rate this album based on it's original listing, I would still have given it a five star review. However, this excellent 2005 re-issue from EMI, to celebrate the man's 40th anniversary, like all of the others, is a ten star release, with a booklet featuring detailed liner notes, rare pictures an memorabilia, but best of all - the generous inclusion of 13 previously unreleased bonus tracks which were hidden away for far too long. Some of these rarities are better than the album's final cuts which I haven't mentioned, namely the soothing 'The Swan (Lord of the Reedy River)', and two demos, the beautiful 'Marjorie (Margarine)', and 'Palais Girl', which, with the remaining 10, double the length of the record. Each track is digitally remastered, and they all sound superb.

This was Donovan's final LP of his best decade, and one which doesn't deserve to remain so largely unheard.
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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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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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on 19 October 2016
It was the title song I heard on a recent telly advert. Spent a few days tracking it down, as I remembered it being played on the radio when I was tiny, but had no idea of the singer, or title! I couldn't 'hear' what the lyrics were on the ad, so after spending ages looking for the song details, I finally found this album.

I've always enjoyed Donovan's music, so this will be a treat, even though I really wanted the Barabajagel record!
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on 2 September 2016
Although the tracks on Sunshine Superman for instance may be more consistent this later album has a few groovy gems such as the title track and Atlantis. The bonus tracks include several little-heard gems, in my case The Swan (Lord of the Reedy River) as I adored the divine Kate Bush's cover from a vinyl single B-side. A few underwhelming tracks but all are worth a listen.
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on 12 March 2018
Garbage! Not nearly enough work or effort put into the songs.
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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 12 March 2017
Nostalgic Donovan with the Jeff Beck Group on a couple of tracks
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on 3 June 2017
very pleased.
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on 23 February 2017
Great - As described
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