There are many of you who can warmly remember when you heard (for the first time) the opening of “Sunshine Superman”, leading into the vocals of the man who would go on and leave us even warmer memories. Donovan, who’s career began in the UK, adopted the psychedelic period to gain a foothold into the American consciousness. After leaving a grand string of hits that include “Hurdy Gurdy Man”, ” Season of the Witch”, the incredibly fantastic “Mellow Yellow”, “Atlantis”, and a few lesser known tracks, Donovan left behind fewer songs that captured Top 40 imagination. But then, music was changing so rapidly.
In 1978, Donovan released a self-titled album on Arista (US), and RAK Records in the UK. That album was an excellent collection of music but yet, the mystique of Donovan had run its course for the current audience, which was more than ten years of age removed from Donovan’s most fruitful period. However, this diminishing of one of the ’60s most talented singer/songwriters did not in any way reduce the charm of the early material that brought fame to Donovan.
This recent release of collected music from Donovan on Legacy’s noted Essential series heralds not only the singer’s earned induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it also brings a few previously unreleased on CD (in the US) tracks to light. Those include an early mono version of “The Land Of Doesn’t Have To Be”, two live tracks (” Sunny Goodge Street”, “Sand And Foam”), and a previously unreleased in the US song, “Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)”. It further explores Donovan from the earlier single CD release collection of the same name.
Much of the music found on The Essential Donovan, of course, can be found elsewhere in many forms. This reasonably priced, Anesini-remastered, 36-track, 2CD set is a nice collection of Donovan music that delves fearlessly into his most accessible period with a little extra.
The included booklet contains a personal note by the singer himself, a four-page essay by Anthony DeCurtis, in-depth credits for each song, as well as dialogue from various artists on Donovan’s music and influence. With a gathering of some nice photos, this booklet adds more value to The Essential Donovan.
For me, The Essential Donovan brings back not only great memories of that magical time, it also reconnects me to the singer that left behind an indelible mark on all our Rock and Roll hearts in a way that isn’t being done much these days.
Release Date: April 17, 2010