Donovan: What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid

ON THIS DATE (47 YEARS AGO)
May 14, 1965 – Donovan: What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4/5
# allmusic 3.5/5
What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid is the debut album from Donovan, released in the UK four days after his nineteenth birthday on 14 May 1965, through Pye Records (catalog number NPL 18117). It was released in the US as Catch the Wind on Hickory Records in June 1965. Terry Kennedy, Peter Eden, and Geoff Stephens produced the album.
In late 1964, Peter Eden and Geoff Stephens offered Donovan a recording contract with Pye Records in the UK. Donovan had performed around Britain and had become well known in British folk circles before his record contract. His 1964 demo tapes (released as Sixty Four in 2004) show a great resemblance to both Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, which probably prompted the “British answer to Bob Dylan” press line that was subsequently released. What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid is notable because it captures Donovan at a point where his style and vision were starting to diverge significantly from those of Guthrie and Dylan.
The music primarily consists of Donovan singing and playing mouth harp and acoustic guitar, much like his live performances of the time. He still had some vestiges of Woody Guthrie’s style, and here covers Guthrie’s “Riding in My Car (Car Song)” — retitled as “Car Car”. What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid also includes British folk (“Tangerine Puppet”) and even some jazz (“Cuttin’ Out”).
Donovan rerecorded “Catch the Wind” for the album, which was initially released as his debut single in the UK on 12 March 1965.
Other musicians featured on the album are Brian Locking on bass, Skip Alan (from the Pretty Things) on drums, and Gypsy Dave on kazoo.
REVIEW
by John Bush, allmusic
Donovan’s album debut, What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid, presented his breakout British single “Catch the Wind” and added an assortment of pleasant folkie jams. Though he was often derided at the time as a pale imitation of Bob Dylan, there isn’t a lot of evidence here; true, he does cover a Woody Guthrie song (“Car Car Riding in My Car”) and gives it some twang worthy of the master, but his style is his own, slanted toward the mysticism of British folk less than the earthiness of its American cousin. Donovan summons the proper age-old weariness for “Goldwatch Blues,” gets a bit bluesy for “You’re Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond,” and lets it all hang out for “Keep on Truckin’.”
TRACKS:
Side 1
“Josie” (Donovan Leitch) – 3:28
“Catch the Wind” (Leitch) – 2:56
“Remember the Alamo” (Jane Bowers) – 3:04
“Cuttin’ Out” (Leitch) – 2:19
“Car Car” (Woody Guthrie) – 1:31
“Keep on Truckin'” (traditional; arranged by Leitch) – 1:50
Side 2
“Gold Watch Blues” (Mick Softley) – 2:33
“To Sing for You” (Leitch) – 2:45
“You’re Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond” (traditional; arranged by Leitch) – 4:04
“Tangerine Puppet” (Leitch) – 1:51
“Donna Donna” (Aaron Zeitlin, Sholom Secunda, Arthur S Kevess, Teddi Schwartz) – 2:56
“Ramblin’ Boy” (Leitch) – 2:33
2002 CD-reissue
The original album plus the following bonus tracks:
“Catch the Wind” (Single version with strings) (Leitch) – 2:18
“Why Do You Treat Me Like You Do?” (Single b-side) (Leitch) – 2:56
“Every Man Has His Chain” (French EP track) (Leitch) – 2:12
“Colours” (Single version) (Leitch) – 2:45
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