Saturday, October 29, 2011

Richard Thompson: Season Of The Witch

For Saturday’s bubbling under hit, there are just so many versions of the Donovan song “Season of the Witch,” I had a hard time choosing which one – Bloofield, Kooper, and Stills? – like the guitar – but the horns, hmmm. Vanila Fudge – my first exposure to the tune – a little too psychedelic for a snowy Saturday before Halloween. Julie Driscoll and Brian Augur – too jazz influenced. Plus, I’ve already featured Donovan’s original version in the past.

What a dilemma, until I remembered that years ago I heard Richard Thompson’s version on the TV show “Crossing Jordan.” Thompson is one my favorite artists, so that decision was easy. His rendition appears on the “Crossing Jordan” soundtrack. It has an edge to help me prepare to drive over an hour this morning to a conference where I am participating as a presenter.

Thompson is at his best on this song – which was made for jamming – which is why every version that has been released has been in excess to a typical song’s release times. Even Donovan’s, which was recording in 1966, ran close to five minutes. Vanilla Fudge’s version was in the 9 minute range. Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, and Stephen Stills cover went close to 10 minutes in length. Even Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger passed 7 ½ minutes. Richard’s version comes in a 9:19.

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