DONOVAN Cosmic Wheels (1973)

Cosmic Wheels (1973)
Flawed, Curious, Odd… Another Post-60s Donovan Album

Donovan may have worn out his welcome by the time the 60s morphed into the 70s, but that didn’t stop him from recording interesting material that seemed to cherish his inner voice over commercial convention. Cosmic Wheels is just that kind of record. Admittedly, part of its appeal was the fact it was out of print for decades. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or some horseshit like that. But the fact is that Donovan, for all his faults, is a decidedly genuine guy and his good vibes and attitude could often buoy his weaker work. It couldn’t help his worst work (I mean, “Intergalactic Laxative,” come on…) but, the title track alone is a fun rebirth of Donovan’s psych experimentation, and a few of Cosmic Wheels acoustic tracks – “I Like You” and “Appearances,” to name two – capture the flower child’s flighty, easy-going appeal. Cosmic Wheels probably won’t convert the naysayers but those in tune with Donovan’s sense of play may well appreciate. Great cover, too. The original CD is not even available at Amazon.

Cosmic Wheels (4:10)
Earth Sign Man (4:03)
Sleep (3:54)
Maria Magenta (2:21)
Wild Witch Lady (4:36)
Music Makers (4:30)
Intergalactic Laxative (2:53)
I Like You (5:23)
Only the Blues (3:19)
Appearances (3:44)



  • Bombshelter Slim
    June 26, 2009 - 18:18 | Permalink

    Jeez, haven't heard this since it came out, if shitting is your problem when you're out among the stars the intergalactic laxative will get you from here to Mars (at least I think that's how it goes!!)

  • Johnny B
    June 26, 2009 - 20:24 | Permalink

    This is by far my favorite Donovan album, and one of my favorites of the 70's to boot- and the main reason why is the accompaniment, with its MVP Cris Spedding guitars and (especially) Lennonesque string arrangements as well as Cosy Powell's drums (love that hard, flat snare sound on most cuts). Mickie Most sounded committed as producer, being reunited with Don after a short estrangement, and I never once felt that Leitch wasn't singing from the heart on any of these cuts. Well, "Laxative" was a joke, sure, but it was a funny one just the same.

    I remember being really disappointed that he didn't reunite Cosmic's players on its mostly-blah followups Essence to Essence and 7-Tease

  • Capt. Willard
    June 26, 2009 - 21:09 | Permalink

    Good assessment Johnny.

  • Capt. Willard
    June 26, 2009 - 18:23 | Permalink

    You are correct, sir. Give Don credit for finding new subject matter (fecal matter), if nothing else.

  • Anonymous
    June 27, 2009 - 00:30 | Permalink

    great album, no question, good assessment, yeah, too, was there anything chris spedding wasn't playing on? thanks, cappo

  • Anonymous
    June 28, 2009 - 19:44 | Permalink

    a cross between trex and gene clak's no other [the track being played]

  • Paul McClelland
    June 29, 2009 - 00:40 | Permalink

    One of my prized albums of the early 70's…anyone with an acoustic guitar , and this album in their possession was learning 'I like you' "Intergalactic laxative" "Maria Magenta" and "Appearances". It's his best album since "Barabajagal" and , frankly..his last really good one, where everything came together…the songwriting, singing,musicianship.. production…the miking and recording of his acoustic guitar on this album was out of this world. I say album, because I bought the album when it came out. I have it on vinyl, but never could make myself color the gatefold in crayon, as Donovan suggested…you know, that middle ages woodprint that took up both sides of the gatefold. Incredible stuff that they cannot reproduce today with cd limitations…Not to mention the fact, if memory serves, he used Morgan Studios in London,a studio, with Trident , known for their innovative production techniques…Basically this album is 4 out of 5 for non-Donovan fans, and 5 out of 5 for Donovan followers, but I assume every follower of this man's music has already heard this collection countless times…Thanks for posting this classic…Paul

  • Capt. Willard
    June 29, 2009 - 01:30 | Permalink

    Hi Paul,
    Forgot about the color by numbers inside cover. Yeah… the sound was great (Johnny B reminded us that Mickie Most produced it) and you're right about followers knowing this album but, unfortunately, not many othes did. Between missing a bona fide hit and it's decades long out of print status, it was almost a forgotten relic until CD reissues came along (but those are OOP now too). I think I agree… it was his last really good one, though, he still had a few tricks up his sleeve on following releases. As always, thanks for weighing in.

  • Anonymous
    July 8, 2009 - 06:36 | Permalink

    Donovan's best work is the Sunshine Superman LP. I bought it new in '66 and listen to it regularly.

  • Capt. Willard
    November 6, 2009 - 14:07 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • Curly Joe
    September 17, 2011 - 03:19 | Permalink

    Yeah, great album, when you strip out the song about spacemen poo. This is why mp3 is the greatest listening format ever. Thanks Willard.

  • Ian of Cornwall
    October 18, 2011 - 11:59 | Permalink

    Spacemen poo, ha ha! Had this a couple of years n never got round to it. Started on the ‘laxative’ track, just now – yeah it’s funny but twee. The rest can only get better (I hope). Thanks, W. Peace.

    • Willard
      October 18, 2011 - 12:16 | Permalink

      Can’t get much worse.

  • Polk Salad Tranny
    October 27, 2011 - 02:19 | Permalink

    H.M.S. Donovan 1971

  • B
    February 9, 2013 - 19:53 | Permalink

    Thanks Capt.

  • January 7, 2015 - 08:24 | Permalink

    Regarding, “Intergalactic Laxative,” why is it that Harry Nilsson, Paul McCartney or even John Lennon can record a silly song indebted to their fondness for the English Music Hall tradition and poor Mr. Leitch gets taken to task for it? It’s just a dumb, funny song and that’s what it was meant to be and it’s not like it was the first time he wrote one (mostly on purpose too)

    • Willard
      January 7, 2015 - 08:41 | Permalink

      Probably because “Intergalactic Laxative” is shitty.

      (You see what I did there?)

  • towers
    January 25, 2015 - 16:56 | Permalink

    I really like this one and Open Road. I’m lucky to own both in vinyl. Many thanks Willard :)

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