May 16, 2008

"Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness)"

Inspired by Camille Paglia's "dirge" (as she puts it) about an obscure Donovan tune:

As long as we're dealing with lost personal classics, I'll serve up another: Donovan Leitch's "Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness"), which I'm amazed to find on trusty YouTube. This acoustic blues song (which turns psychedelic at the end) is as obscure as it gets: Recorded in 1965, it was released in the U.S. the following year only as a single. But it made a huge impression on me in college -- that cracking bullwhip prefigured the Velvet Underground's 1967 breakthrough album, with its sadomasochistic motifs. Who was "Gyp," I wondered? One had heard that the lavishly talented Donovan, who would later become overexposed as a hippie guru, bummed around on his travels with a young man named Gypsy (later identified as musician Gypsy Dave). It did pique one's curiosity, shall we say.

I don't think I'd ever heard this before, yet it sounds so familiar. I guess that's the quality many classic songs have. How the heck do you imagine he's managed to fight off all those car manufacturers(!)?? They've no doubt thrown some awfully tempting financial offers his way over the years to use it as a commercial jingle. Or is that how I've heard it? A bit of info. from Wikipedia:

"Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness)" is a song by Donovan. The name "Gyp" refers to his friend Gyp Mills. It has been covered by Eric Burdon and The Animals and The Soul Survivors.

In July 1966, Hickory Records (USA) released the song as A-side (b/w "The War Drags On" 45-1417).

No comments: