Night Music: Donovan, “Young Girl Blues”

This gets complicated fast. I didn’t know this song except I’ve been reading Rachel Kushner’s “Novel of the Year,” The Flamethrowers.

And in it there is reference to this Donovan song, which describes the interstices between the fashion and the art world just the way the novel does.

But this isn’t a great song, and when Dylan mocks him in that movie (D.A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back) it’s because Donovan at that point was a bigger star with fewer chops, and I suppose both knew it. But only Dylan was the asshole. Dylan was also the Flamethrower.

If you read the Flamethrowers, which has lots of historical tourism in 1975-1977 artworld Soho and Little Italy NYC, you are likely to be massaged and blown away by Rachel Kushner’s writing. She brings both sensual immediacy and historical fluidity.

I’m less sure of her emotional center, but that’s not a talk for now or this song by Donovan, which is not surprisingly deep. But sounds nice.

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