The Bickershaw Programme: Donovan .
"There was Open Road and various studio groups" says Donovan , "but I've never really had a band before, its early days yet. We're trying all sorts of different things . We're playing at a very low level , trying to get an acoustic sound from our electric instruments."In March Donovan did a short tour of Ireland with Pete Cummings on electric bass, Phillip Donelly on lead guitar and Stewart Lawrence on drums . And for those who think that Donovan as an ethereal sunshine figure, get this, the fourth member of his band , John Ryan , has been playing an RMI electric piano. It sounds like a pretty muscular outfit.
"The records and concerts slowly ran down., I want to get it together again. The joy of coming back is communication with the audience. We'll be looking and writing towards sing-a-long stuff. I noted down the numbers we seemed to be getting off on and most of them were country type things. Then there was surprise when I started playing a lot of harmonica again . "That's typical Donovan, there's always been an accidental flavour about him . Never heavy , always as light as a feather. He has always gone his own way, steadfastly ahead of fashion and behind it. Who but Donovan, in the midst of war torn 1971, could bring out an album of children's stories set to music ?
Does he notice any changes in coming back to England after a year in tax exile. ?
"Yes , lots of things, like more cars in London . And money, things costing a lot more. The Rainbow has been and gone awhile I've been away. Marc Bolan is a giant now - that photo of Ringo Starr at Wembley, the amazing thing was the look on Ringo's face"Don has a family now and he's not going to rush into a big American tour. He'll do two concerts in Scotland, one in Edinburgh University, plus a benefit for the shipbuilders in Glasgow. Then the Roundhouse in London just before Bickershaw. Don hopes to record an album this summer, then maybe go on to Europe. "There's an Italian idea in the air about a travelling show on a train, maybe we'll do thatî
" I suppose I listen to them more than I used to , The Burrito Brothers, Neil Young, Johnny Cash and the band he uses on the Carter Family programme. We've been doing a thing called ìLess Of Me ì , which I lifted off a Loretta Lynne LP . She's a big country queen, its a song I could have written . "Years ago Don's American affairs were handled by Allen Klein
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Updated May 2023
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