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Donovan's Greatest Hits
An expanded reissue of Donovan's 1969 best-of compilation, GREATEST HITS is still the best single-disc distillation of the magic that was Donovan. (1992's double-disc TROUBADOUR, however, is great for bigger fans or rarities buffs.) One of the classic love-him-or-hate-him artists of the '60s, Donovan Leitch's mixture of folky sincerity ("Colours"), hippie-dippie humanism ("Atlantis", "Epistle To Dippy") and just plain daffy surrealism ("Sunshine Superman", "Hurdy Gurdy Man", "Mellow Yellow"), set to Mickie Most's Swinging London arrangements, heavy on the horns and strings, epitomises the Carnaby Street era like no one else can.
The handful of bonus tracks include Donovan's surprisingly cool collaboration with the Jeff Beck Group on "Barabajagal" and his theme for the Chuck Jones TV cartoon "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi". Novices should start here.
Catch The Wind
2003 compilation for the UK's finest 60s folk singer-songwriter. Highlights include 'Catch The Wind' (Original & Single Version With Strings), The War Drags On, 'Colours' (Original Single Version), 'The Universal Soldier', & 'Turquoise'. Castle Pulse.
Sequel Records' follow up to their Catch the Wind compilation, FAIRYTALE documents the era where Donovan Leitch was slowly turning from earnest folkie to pop oddball, though here he's still much more the former than the latter. Buffy Sainte Marie's "Universal Soldier" and his own "Colours", both heard here in two different versions, set the tone early on, but later in songs like "Sunny Goodge Street" and "The Summer Day Reflection Song", his SUNSHINE SUPERMAN-era twee-pop tendencies start to come to the fore.
Donovan's early records are rather unfairly judged these days, but they're actually most charming examples of mid-'60s folk rock--any Simon and Garfunkel fan, for example, will find FAIRYTALE interesting. The re-issue includes a number of rare single sides.
Originally released in 1967, MELLOW YELLOW is a US-only mishmash of singles, out takes, and old album tracks featuring Donovan at his hippie-era peak. It blends fanciful psychedelia, like the title track--one of his finest singles--with earthier material like "House of Jansch" (a tribute to the Pentangle's Bert Jansch, a longtime friend), the witty Swinging London tribute "Sunny South Kensington", and the downright bleak "Writer in the Sun". This is one of Donovan's most consistently entertaining albums, with very few weak songs and some excellent psych-pop arrangements by a pre-Led Zeppelin John Paul Jones.
A Gift From A Flower To A Garden
Originally packaged in a two-record box set with an expensively printed set of lyric sheets, A Gift was sincerely meant as a possible present for the hippie who has everything. The first album is the Wear Your Love Like Heaven album and it's a gem of mid-'60s Mickie Most-produced psychedelic pop. The title track and "Mad John's Escape" are prime pop, but "Little Boy in Corduroy" is the type of weird, childlike folk song that is featured throughout the second album. Titles such as "Song of the Naturalist's Wife," "Voyage into the Golden Screen," and "Widow with Shawl (a portrait)" give a clear idea of how "out there" Donovan went. --Rob O'Connor
If ever there was an album that should be packaged with a syringe full of insulin, it's HURDY GURDY MAN. However, there in lies the album's considerable charm.
Possibly the most refined examples of Donovan's special brand of imp-like psychedelic pop, these songs, including the hit title track and the superlative "Jennifer Juniper", are as wide-eyed and giggly as Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, minus all the creepiness. Which of course in some ways makes them that much creepier. The lesser-known tracks, like "Get Thy Bearings" and "Entertaining of a Shy Girl", are if anything even more entertainingly wispy and spacey. Good stuff, especially for fans of British psychedelia.
The Herb Alpert File- Book
The first ever biography of the great entertainer. From an unexpected Gold Record in 1962 on to his induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in the 21st Century- Herb Alpert has had a unique tale to tell...Now for the first time ever, a book pieces together the highlights and career of one of America's top entertainers! The Herb Alpert File provides the facts, figures and history of this long overlooked chapter in American music history. A multi-Grammy winner, dynamic executive and member of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, Alpert is the embodiment of the American dream. The Herb Alpert File finally provides the general reader with a chapter long overlooked in the annals of American pop culture.
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