The Essential Donovan
First Appeared at The Music Box, May 2004, Volume 11, #5
Written by John Metzger
Itís unfortunate, but The Essential Donovan isnít nearly as inclusive as it could be, largely because it ignores the reclusive Scotsmanís oft-overlooked 1996 masterpiece Sutras, as well as a few of his notable í60s gems like The Trip, The Fat Angel, and The River Song. Yet, despite these flaws, the aptly titled collection succeeds in offering a rather remarkable overview of a criminally underappreciated artist. Presented in chronological order, the set examines Donovanís transformation from an enchanting troubadour (Catch the Wind) into a psychedelic pop star (Atlantis); and his flower-power missives ó which view love as an omnipotent, spiritual healer ó float upon their dreamily ecstatic architecture, only to be punctuated by the kaleidoscopic textures of pure aural bliss. Even those not seeking enlightenment through song simply must marvel at his charmingly playful sense of melody, which yielded a string of hits that was as indicative of the í60s as that of any artist. From the sparkling buoyancy of the swirling Sunshine Superman to the innocent grace of Jennifer Juniper, from the zen koan There Is a Mountain to the darker-edged fury of Season of the Witch, thereís nary a dud in the bunch, making The Essential Donovan the perfect introduction to the very first performer ever to be dubbed the "new Bob Dylan."
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box