Damon the Gypsy – Unknown Legend? 0xymoron?
Damon the Gypsy, his music is said to raise the hair on the back of your neck. It’s haunting, hypnotic, and the straight forward lyrics are a perfect fit with a glass of wine & a hit from a Phelps bong.
a time of love, a time of Haight -
a time of war, a time of peace.
Politics, protest, & passion.
A strange time indeed.
It was a time of rebellion.
It was a time where it was cool to be a misfit.
They called themselves Hippies.
Born from a ‘hip’ generation of beatniks and dropouts,
they despised war and loved love.
Free love they called it.
Sex, drugs & rock & roll was the call of the era.
He understood love. He understood that love could not be understood – but never did he understand hate. He did however, come to understand Haight – Haight Ashbury that is.
Free Love? He saw free love as empty sex. Not love at all. Sure he liked sex, who doesn’t? Drugs? They took us from reality. The problem with drugs is the law of gravity. “What goes up must come down, like a spinning wheel.” Bummer!
It was a time where Rock & Roll had moved over to make way for psychedelia. “Teenie Bop Rock” no longer ruled the Music scene. Sure, Carol King, Paul Anka, & The Beach Boys were still selling records, but names like Jefferson Airplane, Cream, Hendrix, & Joplin were dominating the airwaves, and especially concert venues. By then Haight Ashbury, San Francisco had become a magnet for musicians and wannabes.
Up to then, Damon (not yet ‘the Gypsy’) was a club singer, a card carrying member of Local #47, the Los Angeles Musicians Union. A bit of a crooner who really didn’t fit in any category. He did some rock, but he wasn’t a rocker. He did some standards, but he didn’t sound enough like Sinatra or Martin. (Too young to remember Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin? Oh, well. Sigh . . .)
Still growing as a musician, he was drawn to San Francisco. A bit of a misfit in life as well as music, here was an opportunity to find out who he was and where he fit. He wanted to find his slot, his niche, his destiny. This was the time and ‘Haight’ was the place. He too became psychedelicized.
However, in no time at all our hero found out he didn’t fit there either. He didn’t have a clue about the war, he wanted love more than he wanted sex, and Haight never was love. So Damon hit the road.
Traveling the California coast, he soon became a ‘Gypsy’ – Damon the Gypsy. I could go on and on about our gypsy’s adventures and escapades, but let’s get to the interesting part . . .
20 countries and 20 years after writing and recording his legendary record album “Song of a Gypsy,” like a Phoenix, rose from the ashes to become the most sought after vinyl in the world. Usually in the top 5 of every record collector’s list.
Released on his own label, Ankh (from Egyptian history), with no promotion, no hype, no nothing (OK, so I failed English grammar), it rose from obscurity to it’s current state of top collectible. Hmmm . . . How did an unknown record album rise to such prominence?
Story has it that a Canadian disc jockey was at a swap meet and saw a stack of 45′s. (If you don’t know what a 45 is, ask your granddaddy.) While combing through these mini vinyls, he saw a record that had the symbol of an Ankh on the label. He figured for 25 cents how could he go wrong?
Later that day, he listened to the record and was blown away. The straight forward simplicity of the lyrics, the mystical, hypnotic sound, with a mid-eastern influence and rock & roll under girding had an immediate affect on him.
Soon the news spread and “Damon the Gypsy” became a bit of an underground legend. As awareness of his music began to snowball, Damon’s music rose from 25c per recording up to as high as $3,000.00 on ebay. This album is in the record collectors standard, Goldmine’s Guide to Rare & Collectible Record Albums.
40 years from it’s birth, Damon has personally released a remastered version of his now semi-famous “Song of a Gypsy” on CD, and is now producing his third and final album in his Gypsy Trilogy which will come when it comes. I promise you, it’s worth waiting for.