Try for the Sun: The Journey of Donovan
The Music Box's #9 specialty package for 2005
First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2005, Volume 12, #10
Written by John Metzger
In 1970, Donovan, along with an assortment of friends, family, and bandmates, set sail across the Mediterranean on a voyage to the Greek Isles. The resulting documentary There Is an Ocean featured footage from his excursion, and while it undoubtedly was meant to be a earnest and intimate glimpse at the troubadour plying his craft in a relaxed setting, it largely felt like an exercise in self-indulgence. Perhaps this is the reason why it has remained tucked inside a vault for the past 35 years. Recently resurrected for inclusion on the three-CD, one-DVD box set Try for the Sun: The Journey of Donovan, the brief film provides anecdotal amusement for the songwriterís fanatical followers. However, it isnít likely to be of much interest to his more casual fans.
Fortunately, the 60 songs that are featured on Try for the Sun: The Journey of Donovan make amends for this minor distraction. Indeed, with its near-chronological presentation of material that spans an astounding four decades, the collection is the ultimate waltz through Donovanís quixotic catalogue. Fusing together all of his well-known hits, numerous well-chosen album tracks, a suite of B-sides, 21 previously unreleased studio and concert recordings, and a demo from 1964, the package serves as the most ambitious attempt to date at encapsulating his oft underappreciated career. Employing music that shifted texturally from the Dylan-esque folk of Colours and CoíDine to the psychedelically delicious pop of Sunshine Superman and from Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)ís funky shuffle to Please Donít Bendís quiet meditation on love, Donovan brought an ambitious and imaginative vision to his craft. At the same time, his poetic ruminations never strayed from his romantically optimistic sense of spiritual enlightenment and fairytale wonder. As a result, Try for the Sun: The Journey of Donovan traces a remarkably consistent and cohesive arc that links together the decades separating the graceful simplicity of 1965ís Catch the Wind from the seductively swirling groove that embraces 2003ís Love Floats.
Of Further Interest...
Try for the Sun: The Journey of Donovan is available
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box