Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Sword and the Stoned

For a long while I shied away from the music of Middle Earth. Trolls and spells, hairy feet and scepters with purple crystals on top, all that twenty-sided-die one-legged-flute-solo shit, typically sung with tea-stained breath through crumbling teeth.


Well, Lindesfarne cracked open the gates of Mordor for me a bit and now I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at Donovan's 1970 album Open Road, the birth of the so-called Celtic rock genre. Donovan's backed by a band called Open Road and let me here list the band members in honor of how much these guys fucking rock: John Carr on drums, Mike Thomson on bass and lead guitar, Mike O'Neill on piano. Donovan's wispy way with a folk hook is leavened by a massive folk-prog drum and bass attack that gives Don instant heft -- the Sword of the Stoned. Heh-vee, my frond.

This album didn't go over in its time and the group disbanded. Too bad. As Wikipedia describes it, "Many of the songs on Open Road ponder the negative side of industrialization and the lost peacefulness of a previous time." That's practically a mission statement here at The Driftwood Singers. It's Donovan taking a journey into the black heart of the 20th Century via Hobbitan, a preface to everything from Ronnie James Dio to Genesis to Joanna Newsom and Mastodon. Lyrics, please:

i am the juggler of fortune and fame
let me not hear facts figures and logic
fain would i hear lore legend and magic
feathers of raven
slithers of coal
armour of silver
in the mackrel shoal
sun in the west
tis ruby blood red
travelers a-weary
do make their bed

("Roots of Oak")

I'm so enthusiastic about this I'm posting half the album, combining the last three songs together, a thrilling trilogy that starts with the gorgeous proto-indie rock "Season of Farewell."

Celtic Rock - Donovan

Roots of Oak - Donovan

Changes - Donovan

People Used to - Donovan

Season of Farewell --> Poke at the Pope --> New Year's Resolution - Donovan

[Noted: Hat tip to Ms. AGV for giving me this album. It's a gem.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

(john here)

mr. blau, coming soon to a theater near