DONOVAN – “There Is A Mountain” / “Sand and Foam” (Pye 7N 17403) October 1967
Donovan “There Is A Mountain” – Magic minstrel skips out of the mist and into the pool of warm sunlight to look beautiful again. Donovan is Donovan and he’s back with another graceful, enterprising song breathing with life and pulsating with natural, vital energy like an internal combustion engine tunefully chugging in his head.
A relaxed “live” studio recording, timing, lyrics – “caterpillar sheds his skin to find a butterfly within” – plus the cool, sighing sounds of flute, clopping bongos and congas, coupled with Don’s vocal expression gives this record the disturbing gentleness of both “Sunshine Superman” and “Mellow Yellow” and the power of a thousand exploding suns.
(Melody Maker, 21/10/67)
After what seems like an age – and where HAS he gone anyway? – Donovan pops up with this rather pretty jazz orientated record. It is “Mellow Yellow” with a west Indian influence, bongos, and warm, shuffling sound, hand-clapping, and his voice sounding like sand going through a timer.
It’s hard to tell, at this stage in things, whether it is commercial. Certainly it will offend nobody’s parents – and that’s the kind of thing that’s making the chart these days.
Actually the flip “Sand And Foam” has more moving beauty, sounding like the crystal-voiced Donovan of his youth, on a lively tale of Mexico. Let’s all go.
(Disc & Music Echo, 21/10/67)
Completely different from any previous Donovan single release, it’s a blend of South American bossa nova and west Indian calypso rhythm. set to a pulsating beat, employing conga drums and maracas, with a repetitive flute riff throughout, it’s a light-hearted song delivered in suitably happy style by this talented young performer.
It has a decidedly tropical feel, emphasised by the shouts of encouragement as Don wends his way merrily through the lyric, and great charm and atmosphere.
The tune is catchy, too – and all things considered, I reckon it’s very probable that the disc will emulate its U.S. success.
FLIP: The more serious side of Donovan. A folksy ballad, with a beautifully descriptive and highly evocative lyric. And just an acoustic guitar.
Tremendous, Latinish-calypso sort of beat and the utmost simplicity in the lyrics. But the bloke just lays it down the line and I defy anyone to remain static while hearing it. He is an original talent as far as I’m concerned. And he does keep changing.
FLIP: Slow, more subdued, good lyrics.
(Record Mirror, 21/10/67)