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The Essential Donovan

4.4 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 17, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

A magical, mystical figure in rock history, there is only one Donovan. From his Celtic roots to his influential era as Bob Dylan s peer... Through psychedelic nights in swinging London and contemplative days meditating alongside The Beatles in India... Came the mesmerizing sound of a visionary with a who s who of British rock behind him, including Jeff Beck (Yardbirds), Ron Wood (Rolling Stones), and even three-fourths of what would become Led Zeppelin not to mention an uncredited Paul McCartney on background vocals and tambourine. Now, as the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts this legendary poet in its 2012 class, Legacy Recordings proudly presents The Essential Donovan.

These are the timeless original recordings that became cultural touchstones, making Donovan a worldwide icon and creating a legend that has grown over the decades while his tunes have been covered, sampled, imitated and admired but never duplicated. The Essential DONOVAN collects 36 key tracks on two newly remastered CDs. Classics like "Sunshine Superman," "Mellow Yellow," "Season Of The Witch," "Catch The Wind," "Wear Your Love Like
Heaven," "Atlantis" and more are featured, as well as four tracks previously unissued in the U.S. With Donovan highly visible this year surrounding his Hall of Fame induction, once again the world will be just mad about Donovan.
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Disc 2
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 17, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: April 17, 2012
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • ASIN: B00795C4DK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,362 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert L. Smith on September 27, 2004
Format: Audio CD
While it is incredibly good news that Donovan--who has always been under rated--is being included in the "Essential" series, the compilation itself is a disappointment. All of the tracks included here, and one other as well, can be found on the expanded version of Donovan's Greatest Hits released last year. The album notes and the sound quality on "Greatest Hits" are also superior. Unless you are a Donovan completist (and I admit that I am), I would strongly suggest "Greatest Hits" instead of "The Essential."
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Format: Audio CD
After checking out Epic/Legacy's latest repackaging of Donovan's Sixties material, one has to wonder if they had been smoking those banana skins referenced in "Mellow Yellow." Yes, this single-disc collection includes all twelve of Donovan's Top 40 hits [plus "Colours" (No. 61) and "Season of the Witch" (not released as a single)], but so does 1999's expanded GREATEST HITS, which also included 1970's "Riki Tiki Tavi" (No. 55).
So if you're looking for a top notch single-disc collection, I'd recommend GREATEST HITS. [I first bought it on vinyl when it was originally released in 1969.] If that isn't enough to satisfy your appetitie for the music of this folkie-turned-hippie flower child, 1992's 45-track TROUBADOUR should satisfy even the most die-hard fan.
Bottom line? This is a terrific collection, but there's nothing new here to justify its release.
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Format: Audio CD
During the "Sixties," I was not particularly a fan of Donovan. I thought he was a bit soft. But about three months ago, I heard him interviewed on the NPR program "Fresh Air." I was impressed by how intelligent and articulate he is, and the excertps from his songs stuck me as wonderfully fresh and engaging. So I bought "The Essential Donovan" and have been playing it continually, enjoying it more and more.

For Donovan to have moved from a ballad like "Colours" to "Sunshine Superman," with its surrealistic poetry and multi-colored orchestration, in only a few months, is a real artistic advance. At that time, 1966, Donovan was twenty, and he was consistently writing better songs -- with more imaginative lyrics and more sophisticated rhythms -- that did either The Beatles or Bob Dylan at the same age.

I've since explored more Donovan albums. I am increasingly impressed by the abundance of his imagination, and I find it dismaying that he is so little remembered, especially considering that he is one of the truly emblematic figures of the age and was, at the time, almost as famous as The Beatles.

I call this the best of Donovan anthologies because the versions of "Catch the Wind" and "Colours" are the clean and simple ones, without backup strings and vocals; because the version of "Sunshine Superman" is the long one; and, most importantly, because the songs are presented in chronological sequence.

The insert notes about original release dates and popular chart success are a welcome addition.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I purchased this CD to replace my vinyl copy of "Donovan"s Greatest Hits" that was originally released back in 1969. That collection had a couple of major flaws. First, there were absolutely no liner notes offered. More importantly, "Catch The Wind" and "Colours" were re-recordings and not the original hits that appeared in the U.S. on Nashville's Hickory Records.
While under no circumstances would I ever consider Donovan to be a five star performer, this recently released CD gives me just what I am looking for. All 14 tracks are indeed the original recordings and the disc also includes three tunes not included on the original Epic "Greatest Hits" package. They are "To Susan On The West Coast Waiting", the Top Ten hit "Atlantis" and finally a song I had not heard in years (somehow I survived the trauma) "Goo Goo Barabajagal" which Donovan recorded with the Jeff Beck Group. Donovan proved to be equally popular on both sides of the Atlantic, achieving approximately the same chart success is Britain as he did here in the States. He had a considerable amount of success on the Billboard Hot 100 Album charts as well. In the early 1970's Donovan walked away from it all. According to the liner notes "Six years of fame was enough. I had done everything. It was extraordinary; you couldn't get any more famous and any more successful." In the early 1990's, my wife and I saw Donovan perform in a local park about a mile from our home. It was just him, his guitar and a microphone. He clearly was enjoying himself and the crowd loved him.
One final note--the remastering job on this CD is first rate. Combine that with the aforementioned liner notes and a great price and you have pretty good bang for your buck.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This two CD collection brings together great tunes from all periods of Donovan's career including his early material issued on Hickory Records. The set is well programmed chronologically and disc one features mostly the mono versions from his catalog while disc two is mostly stereo. The booklet is nice but unfortunately lacks session notes about the various musicians who play on his albums. Still a great set that I recommend for all fans and those interested in Donovan's transcendent words and music.
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