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The Essential Donovan

Donovan

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iTunes Review

Expanded from the 2004 compilation bearing the same name, 2012's The Essential Donovan features 36 tracks that neatly sum up the gypsy minstrel's best work. Hardcore fans should also seek Summer Day Reflection Songs or a similar set to further explore his early acoustic folk years, but Essential features six solid early tracks, including "Turquoise" (a touching song for Joan Baez) and Donovan's take on Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier." Then, with "Sunshine Superman," the exploration into sounds previously unknown begins. Featuring milestone productions from Mickie Most and session musicians like future Led Zeppelin members John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page, Donovan's work has proven to be both of its age and beyond it. "Season of the Witch," "There Is a Mountain," and "Mellow Yellow" may be the obvious numbers, but the album also adds the underrated "Legend of a Girl Child Linda," live versions of "Sunny Goodge Street" and "Sand and Foam," and the single versions of his many other hits.

Customer Reviews

Donovan, good stuff

You know, I had never heard of Donovan until this years rock n roll hall of fame. So I thought I would look him up. Wow guys, you have got to get this album. I can hear The Smiths, Violent Femmes and a whole lot of other 70's 80's, plus a lot of folk. This album definitely in my circulation.

A rare talent!

The more I listen to this, the more I see what a rare talent Donovan was. Here’s a guy who started as England’s answer to Bob Dylan, complete with wool cap and weathered guitar emblazoned with Woody Guthrie quotes and thoughtful songs like “Catch the Wind” and “Universal Soldier”. By the end of the sixties, with his elfin looks and gentle nature, he was a musical version of a Tolkien character with songs inspired by childhood fables eagerly snapped up by flower children everywhere. And then he walked away from it all in 1970 as the hippie dream ended. In between though were some songs that still sound great today. The turning point for Donovan was when he switched producers and began working with American Mickie Most, who encouraged his move away from his folkie beginnings and toward a more psychedelic sound. The results were songs like “Season of the Witch”, “Atlantis”, and his first number one hit “Sunshine Superman”. Along the way, he accumulated some great musical friends too. Paul McCartney does backup vocals on Mellow Yellow (and Yellow Submarine was supposedly inspired by his work with Donovan). John Lennon learned finger picking-style guitar from him while they studied with the Maharishi in India and was an inspiration for several songs on the White Album. The Allman Brothers would use “There is a Mountain” as the basis for their epic “Mountain Jam”. Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham first played together on “Hurdy Gurdy Man” and formed Led Zeppelin soon after. And for his last major hit “Barbajagal”, he had the Jeff Beck Group backing him. Essential is just that, all of Donovan’s best songs in a perfect package.

Biography

Born: May 10, 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...
Full Bio

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