Today’s Music to keep me SssSsaAaanNNnNEeee in Isolation – Donovan – Fairytale

Donovan’s second album – a widening of his style with a lot of jazz influence. A lot of great antiwar songs – Buffy St Marie and Bert Jansch. I was sixteen and I loved this album.

Donovan – Fairytale (1965 – Full Album) – YouTube

Do You Hear Me Now? – Bert Jansch

I first heard this song sung by Donovan. He produced a brilliant EP of anti-war songs¬†with this, Buffy St Marie’s Universal Soldier, Mick Softley’s The War Drags On and his own Ballad of A Crystal Man. Quite a brilliant EP.

This was the mid-sixties and I was very much into lyrics and a complete pacifist. The Vietnam War was raging so this was one of my favourites. I had a girlfriend who was into Donovan in a big way and I remember putting that EP on my Dansette and playing it on repeat.

I had another friend who was into contemporary Folk by the name of Neil Ferby (he nicked one of my girlfriends off me). He introduced me to Bert Jansch and John Renbourn who I considered to be more authentic and less commercial than Donovan so that was good.

That first Bert Jansch album was more political than his later stuff and I liked social/political songs so it was right up my street.

This was a very powerful song and I loved both Donovan’s and Bert’s versions.

“Do You Hear Me Now”

Freedom fighters, speak with your tongues
Sing with the might of the wind in your lungs
Do you hear me now? Do you hear me now?Peace loving women, single or wed
Give thanks for the mercy of a child with one head
Do you hear me now? Do you hear me now?

My mama told me, papa said it too
Son, the world’s divided and you know your cause is through
Do you hear me now? Do you hear me now?

There’s snow-men in the winter, blossoms in the spring
If they drop the bomb in the summertime, it won’t mean a doggone thing
Do you hear me now? Do you hear me now?

Freedom fighters, speak with your tongues
Sing with the might of the wind in your lungs
Do you hear me now? Do you hear me now?

The War Drags On – Mick Softley

This was another song that I first heard on that great anti-war Donovan EP. It took me quite a while to track down the original Mick Softley version but well worth it. He’s a bit of an unsung hero.

Back in the 1960s there was a ferment of social commentary and anti-war songs that the Press had a habit of calling Protest Songs. They were my favourites. I like songs with meaning, poetry and purpose.

It was Dylan, with his fantastic songwriting, who sparked the interest and paved the way for others like Mick Softley to follow. Already, at this early stage in the Vietnam war, one can see clearly from Mick’s lyrics that it was not going well. War is bloody and always catches the innocent. It is bloody and cruel and makes enemies out of friends. The very people that the US was ostensibly their to save were becoming the main victims. It was a breeding ground for hatred.

Mick ends the song with a vision of a nuclear holocaust. I hope people in the Trump administration and North Korea have copies of the song and play it before they go to bed.

The War Drags on – Mick Softley

Let me tell you the story of a soldier named Dan.
Went out to fight the good fight in South Vietnam,
Went out to fight for peace, liberty and all,
Went out to fight for equality, hope, let’s go,
And the war drags on.
Found himself involved in a sea of blood and bones,
Millions without faces, without hope and without homes.
And the guns they grew louder as they made dust out of bones
That the flesh had long since left just as the people left their homes,
And the war drags on.
They’re just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they’re doing it, it don’t seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country’s known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
Last night poor Dan had a nightmare it seems.
One kept occurring and re-occurring in his dream:
Cities full of people burn and scream and shoutin’ loud
And right over head a great orange mushroom cloud.
And there’s no more war,
for there’s no more world,
And the tears come streaming down.
Yes, I lie crying on the ground.

Donovan at the Great British Folk Festival – Photos!

I’ve seen Donovan here before. I was looking forward to it. He is quite a character. As a young kid of sixteen I was very taken with a documentary about him and Gypsy Davey wandering around the Scottish islands in what looked to me like the idea bohemian freedom.

He’s worked with the likes of the Beatles and in between songs regaled us with anecdotes that were humorous and insightful. It made for an interesting evening.

Donovan with his guitar and songs was delightful. He tended to focus on his early work and particularly his first two albums which was great for me – bit of a nostalgia trip. I enjoyed it a lot. It was great to hear the Buffy St Marie Universal Soldier!

Here’s a few photos: