Eartha Kitt purrs through two Donovan songs like a kitten drunk on catnip. Her post-orgasmic take on “Hurdy Gurdy Man” gives new meaning to organ grinding. And with her sultry rendition of “Catch The Wind” she curls her tongue around each syllable and then launches them into the air like opiated butterflies.
The joyful hedonism of the 1960s was in part a response to the trauma to the Second World War. The same way the twenties swung after the first great conflagration. And like that decade, it was primarily the white, upwardly mobile, metropolitan, middle class that enjoyed the sex, the drugs and the rock ‘n’ roll.
London may have been swinging in 1967, but for the rest of the country not a lot changed. It would take until the 1970s for most of the country to get a hint of what London experienced. The most important changes, apart from pop music and American TV shows, were the legalization abortion and de-criminalization of homosexual acts between consenting adults - both of which set the scene for bigger and more radical changes in the 1970s.
Yet, as so many of the media are Baby Boomers, the love of all things sixties ensures TV fills its schedules with documentaries on that legendary decade. 1967: The Summer of Love is better than most, as it covers the cultural, social, and political changes that the decade brought. With contributions form Germaine Greer, Donovan, Nigel Havers, Bill Wyman, John Birt and Mary Quant, together with some excellent color archive, this documentary is a cut-above the usual retro-vision.
This cover of Donovan’s “Catch The Wind” really works for me. It’s a straight ahead, honest and heartfelt version of Donovan’s ethereal folk tune. Buck puts some Bakersfield twang into the song that gives it a bit of barroom melancholy that would go down nicely with a shot of Jim Beam and a Bud. From Buck’s 1966 TV show.
I used to own one one of those Buck Owen red, white and blue guitars. Buck’s was custom made made by Mosrite and later mass produced by Gibson. I owned the Gibson model. I think I bought mine at Sears.
Back in the sixties, TV Guide referred to Bobbie Gentry as “the Mississippi hippie.” At the time, I don’t think hippies thought of Bobbie as one of their own, maybe it was the country thing. In retrospect, it’s pretty obvious that Bobbie had a very bohemian vibe going on, as manifest in these ultra-cool videos.
In the first clip, Bobbie and Donovan perform a version of Donovan’s “There Is A Mountain” that, in my opinion, improves upon the original, adding a Crescent City feel to the mambo beat. In the second, she sings “Louisiana Man” with Graham Nash, Allan Clarke and Tony Hicks of The Hollies. Both clips are from Bobbie’s BBC TV show which aired in 1968.
In video 3, Bobbie does a sultry go-go while singing P.J. Proby’s hit “Niki Hoeky” on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
Two years after the Summer Of Love, Andy Williams drops acid and organizes a be-in on his network TV show.
I experienced the things that most people did when taking psychedelic drugs – the intensely heightened senses, the beauty of colours and sounds, the contrasting phases of feeling. One moment, I would feel like I was a lord of the cosmos, the next I would be focused on a microscopic detail – a coloured thread fluttering in the breeze, or specks of dust hanging in the air.”
In this clip from Andy’s NBC variety series, which aired in March of 1969, Donovan and his parade of flower children create some Aquarian vibes and the audience is swept along on a contact high.
40 years later, Andy’s warm relationship with Rush Limbaugh and comments about Obama suggest he might be be due for another consciousness raising session.
“Obama is following Marxist theory. He’s taken over the banks and the car industry. He wants the country to fail.”