Sixteen Things We Know About Damon is a short film by Andrew Gura: a voice and music driven story that uses animated archival stills, stock footage and typography, lo-fi textures, left-field sound design to tell the nearly impossible backstory behind Damon’s Song of a Gypsy
ON SALE: DAMON – SONG OF A GYPSY
Damon’s Song of a Gypsy, underground psychedelic rock from the late 60s – reissued album from Now-Again Records
Damon’s Song of a Gypsy is regarded as one of the finest privately-pressed psychedelic rock records ever made. It has, for over twenty years, been one of the most sought after late 60s rock artifacts in the world, with the scant original copies that exist exchanging hands for thousands of dollars. Bad bootlegs and scrappy reissues have spread the music a little but left Damon’s story untouched, leaving Song of a Gypsy high on its own plateau: out of reach and indescribable.
This edition investigates Song of a Gypsy’s seemingly impossible story – one that encapsulates the last bloom of the flower power movement before it decayed into the haze of the ‘70s underground. It traces the arch of a pop hopeful descending into chaos, becoming the tortured soul who would create an LP to file alongside works by other lost greats of the late ‘60s, from Shuggie Otis to Rodriguez.
Of course, juicy late ‘60s anecdotes abound: it was an acid trip that took Damon on a meandering journey to Big Sur’s Esalen Institute, where a chance meeting with Ravi Shankar and George Harrison turned everything around for him, as he nursed a five-string guitar back to spiritual health aside the maestros’ sitars under Big Sur’s endless sky.
This is an LA album – recorded in 1968 after Damon lead his musicians into a Hollywood studio to riff on Jefferson Airplane themes with a world-weary melancholy, to pay equal tribute to his idos Jim Morrison and Al Jolson with results that can only be described as sincere genius. Damon wrote with a childlike naiveté yet sang like a weathered old man, too exhausted to be anything but honest. There is no pretense to his Song of a Gypsy, just a transparent view into his churning soul.
The album Song Of A Gypsy was pressed in a run of five hundred copies. At some point, Damon’s master tapes disappeared. He only kept a 1⁄4” tape duped from a scratchy copy of the album.
Under the supervision of Now-Again’s Eothen “Egon” Alapatt and Damon, born David Del Conte, over the period of five years, Song of a Gypsy has been lovingly remastered and finally sees its definitive release, a beautiful listening experience, a reminder of the marvels man is capable of creating under even the most adverse circumstances.