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Fairytale (Deluxe Edition)

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Album Review

Donovan's second album found the Scottish folkie in possession of his own voice, a style of earnest, occasionally mystical musings indebted neither to Woody Guthrie nor Bob Dylan. True, Fairytale's highlights — "Sunny Goodge Street," "Jersey Thursday," and "The Summer Day Reflection Song" — use a sense of impressionism pioneered by Dylan, but Donovan flipped Dylan's weariness on its head. His persona is the wistful hippie poet, continually moving on down the road, but never bitter about the past. The folkie "Colours," already a hit before the album's release, is also here (though without Donovan's harmonica). A few of his songs are inconsequential and tossed-off ("Oh Deed I Do," "Circus of Sour"), but a few of these ("Candy Man" especially) succeed too, thanks to Donovan's effervescent delivery. [A 2002 Castle reissue added six bonus tracks, including a version of "Universal Soldier" and the B-side "Hey Gyp (The Slowness)."]


Born: 10 May 1946 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Upon his emergence during the mid-'60s, Donovan was anointed "Britain's answer to Bob Dylan," a facile but largely unfounded comparison which compromised the Scottish folk-pop troubadour's own unique vision. Where the thrust of Dylan's music remains its bleak introspection and bitter realism, Donovan fully embraced the wide-eyed optimism of the flower power movement, his ethereal, ornate songs radiating a mystical beauty and childlike wonder; for better or worse, his recordings remain quintessential...
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