42 CommentsBattle of the Bands (BOTB), Blogfests, Music, Rockchick Ramblings

Just in time for another edition of Battle of the Bands.

To see what I’ve been up in the meantime, please click HERE.
Feedback wanted. Thanks!

Battle of the Bands, #BOTB SEASON OF THE WITCH

BATTLE OF THE BANDS (BOTB), hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands. is where you listen to different recordings of the same song and vote for the one you like best. Two “Battles” per month, on the 1st and 15th. Votes will be tallied and posted the following week. (See below for further details.)

With Halloween coming up, this old favourite seemed like a good choice.


[reference only – please do not vote on this one]

Season of the Witch” is an early example of psychedelic rock, written by British singer, songwriter, guitarist, Donovan Leitch and first released in September 1966 on his Epic Records(USA) album, Sunshine Superman. Due to a contract dispute with Pye records, the UK version was delayed until June 1967. Although never released as a single,”Season of the Witch” became so popular with fans, that Donovan played it live more than most of his other hits. It has been covered by many artists.

The foregoing serves as background information only.
Now, on to the actual contest……

With so many covers to choose from, it was hard to decide which ones to use for this battle. In the end, I picked a short-lived British psychedelic band and an esteemed American singer-songwriter. Here we go!


Sam Gopal (also called Sam Gopal’s Dream) was an underground British Psychedelic rock band, active between 1966 and 1970. The band was named after its founder, Sam Gopal, born in Malaysia. From the age of seven, he played tabla, a northern Indian percussion instrument, which replaced drums in the band. “Season of the Witch” is the 10th track of their only album, Escalator, released in 1969. Interesting tidbit: the band featured a young Ian (Lemmy) Kilmister of Motörhead fame, on vocals, lead & rhythm guitar.

PLEASE NOTE: The video shown is restricted in Germany and Japan. Here’s an audio file instead:




Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack (born November 21, 1940), better known by the stage name Dr. John, is an American singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist, whose music combines blues, pop, jazz as well as zydeco, boogie woogie and rock and roll. The winner of six Grammy awards, Rebennack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 14, 2011. His version of “Season of the Witch” is from the Blues Brothers 2000 movie, released in 1998. It plays during the scene in which the band arrives at the swamp lands, and is featured on the soundtrack album. Dr John also appears in the movie, as part of The Louisiana Gator Boys, a blues supergroup created for the film.


Please state your preference in comments below and why you chose it.
Voting remains open until 11:59 pm EDT Oct. 20th,
after which I will count the votes, add mine and publish the results.

These are the other BOTB regulars and semi-regulars.
Please cruise on by their sites and, if they have a post up, vote on their selections as well:
[Check back – there’s no set posting time]

Angels Bark / Cherdo On The Flipside / Curious as a Cathy / DC Relief BOTB / DiscConnected / J.A. Scott / Janie Junebug Righting & Editing / Jingle Jangle Jungle / Mike’s Ramblings / Pedestrian Writer / Quiet Laughter / Sound of One Hand Typing / HOST: StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands / Tossing It Out / Your Daily Dose

As always, “Sharing is Caring”. Spread this musical joy all over your social networks.
Hashtag is #BOTB

Until next time.



♫♪♫♪♫ Rockchick Rapture!


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Debbie D. on FacebookDebbie D. on GoogleDebbie D. on InstagramDebbie D. on LinkedinDebbie D. on PinterestDebbie D. on RssDebbie D. on TwitterDebbie D. on WordpressDebbie D. on Youtube
Debbie D.

Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as “The Doglady”. Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal “hippie/rockchick”. Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!

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  1. Hey Debbie,
    Sorry I am late to your party, but at least I made it!
    I think Doctor John has the advantage of name recognition in this battle, but I preferred the less gritty vocal styling from Sam Gopal. Interesting battle!

    1. Thanks for coming over, Robin. I hope you’re feeling better. That’s another vote for Sam Gopal. This contest isn’t going to be as close as I thought. Oh well, they can’t all be squeakers.

  2. My favorite version of this is on the “Supersession” album with Al Kooper and Steven Stills playing it. I like that version better than Donovan’s, even.

    I liked both of these, but I’m going with The Night Tripper, Dr. John, on this one, because he just sounds righter doing it. I mean, “Season of the Witch,” you’d expect him to sing it, right?

    1. Hi, John; I thought about using that version, but there was something about Sam Gopal that attracted me a bit more. Of course, Dr. John was an obvious choice. 🙂 Thanks for your vote. He needs all the help he can get, here. If anyone is interested:

  3. First, wow, what a work this site is! Don’t think I even WANNA climb far enough out of the box to do something this… I guess amazing covers it. Salute for a fantastic job!

    Second, the vote. First guy I was listening to while perusing. After a bit I thought, “This guy sounds like Clapton trying to do something anonymously”, which ain’t bad. But Dr John sounds more like a song like this SHOULD sound. I give the vote to the good Doctor.

    1. Thank you so much, Chris! I’m fascinated by web design and this was a labour of love. 🙂 Interesting comment about Sam Gopal; definitely sounds a bit “Claptonesque”. Nice to get another vote for Dr. John. He’s fallen behind. Cheers!

  4. I like Dr. John and his guitar playing is great but I am voting for Sam Gopal because they have that 60’s vibe I love so much. They get my vote.

  5. I always loved that line “You’ve got to pick up every stitch”! I thought sure I’d choose Dr. Hook before I listened to their version of this song. It was quite a contrast to the band I remembered so fondly. My vote goes to Sam Gopal for a closer rendition to Donovan’s.

    1. HI, Diedre; The other contender was Dr. John, not Dr. Hook. Probably why it sounded so different! 😉 It looks like Sam is taking a healthy lead, now. Thanks for your vote!

  6. Sam Gopal won this one, hands down, and I’m actually a Dr. John fan. So, add a big pat on the back for Sam! I’d never heard this version before.

    Thanks, Debbie!

    1. Sam should be proud! 🙂 It’s a pretty obscure recording, but thanks to Youtube, little-known artists are getting more recognition. Thanks for your vote.

  7. Welcome back, Debbie the Doglady. Your new Web site is great. I am impressed. I vote for Sam Gopal because I think his vocal is more in tune (pun intended) with the lyrics of the song.


    1. I’m glad you like the new look, Janie. 🙂 It was a difficult but rewarding project. The in tune Sam Gopal gets another vote. Thanks! Could be an interesting battle.

  8. Debbie, WOW, you really went all out with the new design and layout, huh?! Very nice job! I really liked Sam’s whole 70s vibe and easy going vocals. Dr. John was a bit too harsh on my ears to enjoy. 🙁 My vote goes to Sam Gopal!

  9. DEBBIE ~
    First, I had been by here and saw what you were doing, so I never even bothered to ask you about your BOTB participation. I knew you’d be back when your blog was operational again. So, no worries. Your BOTB future was never even in question.

    Truthfully, I never really cared for this song by Donovan. I like the Sam Gopal version BETTER than the Donovan original. But I also like the DR. JOHN version BETTER’N the Sam Gopal version.

    I’m a big fan of Doctor John, and while it’s possible I could vote against him someday, I don’t recall it having happened yet in BOTB.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

    1. Hi, Stephen; BOTB is some of the best musical fun on the ‘net and I’m glad to be part of it. 🙂 It looks like participation is waning, though and that’s too bad. Dr. John is one of a kind. Thanks for your vote!

  10. Hi, Debbie!

    Several of your battles have required us to choose between recordings made in different time periods. The versions of “Witch” competing in your battle were recorded nearly thirty years apart. A clear winner emerged. I have never been a fan of Dr John’s voice or style and I didn’t like his synthesized version. Sam Gopal and his band did a much better job with their interpretation of the song. I listened through headphones and the stereo separation created an exciting soundscape. I appreciated the use of the tabla for percussion and the soulful backing vocalists, bringing to mind the women profiled in the documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, little known session singers who sang background on many of the great American and British recordings of the 60s and early 70s. For my money the authentic sound of British Psychedelic rock can’t be beat and they can’t be beat here in your contest I vote for Sam Gopal’s Dream.

    Thank you, Debbie!

    1. It’s always a pleasure, reading your analysis of these battles, Shady. You obviously know what you’re talking about! 🙂 Psychedelic rock, British or otherwise is a favourite of mine as well. That’s another vote for Sam Gopal. Thanks and have a good weekend. If anyone else is interested, here’s the trailer for “20 Feet From Stardom”:

  11. (trying a second time to post comment; the first time it said there was an error making a database connection, whatever that means…)

    Really great Halloween theme! Excellent song choice. I love Donovan’s version of this song.
    As for your contenders, I like both of them. I really like Dr. John, but I’m drawn more to Sam Gopal’s version — the instrumentation intrigues me. It must be the tabla…
    So I’m giving my vote to Sam Gopal (although I could’ve just as easily voted for Dr. John).
    Excellent battle Debbie!
    And thanks for your kind words on the passing of my Dad. I appreciate you. <3

    1. Hi, Michele; Yes, I got the same error earlier. That came from the server, something I have no control over. Sorry you had a hard time posting your comment!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the battle. That’s another vote for Sam Gopal. I like to make it tough to choose. That’s part of the fun. 🙂

      Losing a parent is never easy, especially when it’s so sudden. My heart goes out to you! ♥ I lost my mother on Oct. 3, but she was 92 and it was expected. Still, it feels so surreal! 🙁

      1. Oh Debbie, I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom! It’s not easy to lose a parent. I’m sure it is hard even when it’s expected. There’s just that sense of loss that leaves a hole in your heart. I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending love your way…

        1. Thank you, Michele. ♥ She had kidney cancer and Alzheimer’s and was bedridden for the last year, so it was somewhat of a “blessing”. I’ll be heading down to California end of the month to settle everything. Hubby can’t come with me and I’m not looking forward to that!

          1. That’s so sad. What age does to us! I’m so sorry that you have to go without your husband to settle everything. I hope you have siblings to help. My thoughts are with you…

            1. No siblings – just me! 🙁 It’s been a six-year stress fest, starting with my father’s illness and subsequent death. Thanks for your kind thoughts, Michele. I hope you and your Mom have lots of love and support. Sending best wishes your way! ♥

  12. You’ve given us a tough choice. Dr. John puts the right amount of creepiness into the song with his vocals and the bluesy back=up is very cool.

    Sam Gopal reminds me of Cream or the songs by Mountain that weren’t sung by Leslie West. I like this sound a lot. I’ve gotta give my vote to Sam Gopal.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. Tough choices make for good battles, yes? 🙂 Your comparisons to Cream and Mountain were interesting! I’ll have to listen again. Thanks for your vote. First one goes to Sam Gopal.