My pick for the day is a track off Donovan’s “A Gift From a Flower to a Garden” album. As a listener whose normally so averse to twee music…I always have to admit a profound love for Donovan’s music because it stays just this side of that line. This double album was released to wide derision in 1967 because of its sound (one side soft-psychedelia, the other side celtic folk), its message (anti-drug/proto new age), and its themes (the second LP the “For Little Ones” side of this double LP was intended to be composed entirely of children’s songs). Its only recently that people have gone back and rightly given it its due.
“The Mandolin Man and His Secret” is the track I chose and for good reason. Donovan’s guitar picking is just masterful, so nuanced and traditional that you forget its an original. His hushed voice just gently gliding along, ushering you to wonder a bit. It’s this sincere naivety and innocence heard here that is sorely missing in music now. People forget how it is to value when such feelings come up. Too much music in a quest to rock or pretend, amounts to being a lot sound and fury signifying nothing. Here, when the mood is right for you, Donovan let’s you explore a small world that signifies a whole lot with just a little bit of something. Lord knows, I’ve heard this album through various stages in my life, and in every new stage it endears itself to me even more.
Before you check out the track, check out this wondrous performance of another A Gift… track “The Lullaby of Spring”: