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Don Robertson

Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

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Don Robertson Dawn album cover
3.97 | 13 ratings | 3 reviews | 23% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dawn (9:33)
2. Why? (0:53)
3. Contemplation (3:06)
4. Where? (0:48)
5. The Candle (3:48)
6. Gateless Gate (5:22)
7. When? (1:18)
8. Belief (8:37)

Total Time: 32:05

Line-up / Musicians

- Don Robertson / 80-string guitar-zither, organ, piano, celesta, harp, tabla, bells, claves, jaltarang, arranger

- Márcia / flute, recitation voice
- Suzie (Don's wife)/ tambura, recitation voice, harp (5)
- Rand Elias / bass guitar (6)
- Michael Dahlgren / drums, hand drum, steel drum, gong, chimes, hand bells, voice

Releases information

LP Limelight ‎- LS 86067 (1969, US)

CD Akarma ‎- AK 240 (2003, Italy)

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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DON ROBERTSON Dawn ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DON ROBERTSON Dawn reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Muzikman
3 stars Don Robertson's album "Dawn" was originally recorded for Mercury's subsidiary label Limelight in 1969. Akarma Records gave this sought after release a well-earned rebirth with their recent reissue. The original album artwork is included with a detailed tri-fold insert on nicely textured paper with a history, pictures and biography of Roberston. Robertson contributes the story of his career and a detailed account of the recording session for the album as well. This treats the collector to a complete package that was previously unavailable.

There was no written music or scores to follow while recording was taking place during the "Dawn" sessions. Everything about the project was spontaneous and committed to tape in one take. These are points of interest that have made this album a valued collector's item and a wonder in the recording industry to this very day.

In 1969, the hippie counterculture was in full bloom. Their mottos were love not war, free love, and lots of dope smoking to enhance the carefree attitude that prevailed. The entire album is all instrumental music with a few spoken word passages. The instruments utilized on the album give it a World-Indian flavor with spaced out sound effects in the background with things like crickets chirping for a calming effect. Although none of this was unusual at the time of its inception, the way it all was accomplished put it in a category all by itself. The use of unconventional instruments was finding their way into modern rock music (i.e. The BEATLES) more and more. This is but one more example of that practice.

Robertson's premise was to make positive music; prior to that, he felt that he was recording negative music that would have such a dreadful influence on those that listened to it that he felt compelled to change direction entirely. From that point forward, he focused on our human spirituality and music that would encourage energy to that end. He presently has a website with MP3's dedicated to this style of music. Although I was not very crazy about the music itself, I certainly could see the value and importance of how and why its validity remains strong today.

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars An other long lost classic from late 60's raga rock musical excursions. "Dawn" is an artefact from the composer and multi instrumentalist Don Robertson. This is an ambitious album full of raga ornamentations and almost strictly instrumental (excepted female narrations in one title). Taken all together the compositions are articulated as a colourful evocation of Hinduism mysticism and abstract energies taken from mental, introspect pictures. The album opens with an eastern, acoustic spaced raga entirely composed for buzzing sitar chords and crystalline harp echoing effects. This gentle spiritual theme carries on "Why?" a peaceful interlude made of natural sounds. "Contemplation" is a wonderful freak out rock instrumental for electric guitars, rolling "ritual" drum parts and a "droning", "haunting" organ ambiance. "Where?" is an other little, simplistic raga piece for sitar. "The Candle" is a dreamy evocation of sounds, delivering a delicate trio between organ, bells and sitar. "Belief" is an epic drone composition with long form sitar sequences, luminous bells, deep monotonous organ patterns and sound collages of rain and thunder. Raga rock mantra. So good!
Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars As for the flow of the derivation of the music that shifted as a result in the 70's in the 60's, the part of psychedelic and Folk might have especially carried everything before one the market with the fashion. Psychedelic and Folk that happens in the flow of music faced in the 70's might be advanced with some establishment.

A variety of music characters are gradually involved to the diversification and the progress of the music character. However, a special part of this album is not only construction of the sound as the result with the age. The ability that Don Robertson had already established it as the arranger and the composer and the methodologies of the expression are satisfactorily demonstrated by this album.

He has been born in China. It is said that the environment that besieged him overflowed with music. He might already adhered in the childhood to him the method concerning the research and the composition of advanced musical instruments and it adhere to the body. It is likely to have polished further in the method of man who took the element of all music as an expressionist. Those methods appear remarkably of course in this album.

It is said that the preparation concerning the composition of the score and the tune was not prepared at all in this album. The construction of the music that had to be done completely exactly might already have been completed. And, work to take heart the recording back is not done at all. Construction and the desire by each musician who is related to the recording are overwhelming. And, the perfection of construction concerning the music character consistently recommended by Don Robertson and the idea and the tune might be obviously wonderful. It is possible to evaluate it high as a part where the ability has already been projected to the album as a composer in the derivation of the music at this time.

The flow of psychedelic, Blues Rock, and Acid Folk was indeed main currents as the market of music at time when this album was announced. The element concerning various Music is included enough as a constructed impression in the album. The processing of the sound effect and busy of the collage might also have the part where the element of New Age is strong. However, the continuousness of the sound that Don Robertson constructed it with this album is an overwhelming expression that his talent began to make exactly. The sale of LP at that time was announced by contracting "Mercury's Limelight". CD can be bought by the copyright of "Akarma Records" of the subsidiary company now. Akarma Records is label of Italy.

Composition of tune by collage of sound. Or, it is effective partial by the narration. Part where sound of nature was effectively processed as SE. The flow that these parts are constructed without using the score is overwhelming. The desire of Don Robertson is completely exactly blocked in this album. The part of psychedelic and New Age might go out to previous overall. However, the music character to involve the element and everything as Raga Rock and to construct boasts of a complete perfection. And, the arrangement of Don Robertson that has already understood characteristics of musical instruments as a point that should make a special mention can be enumerated. I think that I made this work as there is a part has well informed for the arrangement and the operation of musical instruments.

"Dawn" expresses complete space. Guitar, chime, sense of relief caused by Sitar, and expression of light. And, one gaga mental part by the narration. The part of Raga Rock has already been expressed in the state in the top. The talent as the arrangement has appeared exactly. The repetition of a repetition of the melody and constant Chord constructs completely original music.

"Why?" plays the role of Interlude of this album. Flow that bird call is introduced as SE. The sound with a transparent feeling that flows constantly advances effectively.

"Contemplation" continues an overwhelming dash feeling and the tension. Part of coming in succession of tension with organ and heavy sound. The flow of the rhythm where it dashes completely makes a good effect to dare intermittently to do. An enchantment melody in close relation to there might be indeed splendid. The construction of the sound done by a minimum unit is complete.

"Where?" plays the role of Interlude in this album. The melody of complete Sitar flows comfortably after introducing the sound of nature and the roaring sound of the thunder as SE.

The repetition of Sitar and Hand Bell of "The Candle" is effective. The narration twines while advancing the part of the nucleus of Raga Rock. The rhythm by Bell will advance more effectively before long. And, the melody with the anacatesthesia to get on the flow twines. The progress of the melody and Chord used here is perfect. Atmosphere and power of expression have the overwhelming might. A complete arrangement by Don Robertson might be expressed.

"When?" is constructed the sound of a complete enchantment with the sound of Gong and starts. The flow of the rhythm that gives a ceremonial impression gives a good impression. Coming in succession of sound done only by rhythm. Or, the processing round which the high pitched sound and the bass twine well method. And, the sound effect with coming in succession and the tension of various percussion instruments is introduced. Composition in which extra is completely excluded. Or, the effect of Drone. Flow of complete improvisation with Steel Drum. These idea and expression are complete. And, the idea that ties intermittently the voice, the sound effect, and the melody at the end of the tune is also impressive.

"Belief" plays an effective role at the same time as completely expanding the width of the impression of this album. The sound of nature is effectively used and the sense of relief is produced. Part of melody of Harp that flows quietly. Or, it is partial of the collage that effectively uses the sound in which the scenery of the bird call and the port is recollected. Coming in succession of a metallic sound in close relation to there is very avant-garde. The music character of Don Robertson is very a conspicuous figure. The method, the idea, and the purpose of all the expressions might already have been completed. If the element as New Age was considered at this time, the interest is very felt and the desire is felt deep by me.

This album will not be able to be caught simply. It is possible to tell it enough to the listener as a work to project a complete desire as an initial album that Don Robertson did as an arranger and a composer.

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