Robert L. Smith | San Francisco, CA United States | 09/27/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"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.""
"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."
The best of Donovan collections
Bryan Wiggin | SF Bay Area | 12/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
BUY THIS DISC!
Timothy Schubert | Chicago,IL USA | 06/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Forget all the other reviews here.This CD is the FIRST to include the TRUE STEREO versions of almost all of Donovan's hits.If you own a home STEREO and not a home mono or if your car has a STEREO and not a mono,BUY THIS CD!I REPEAT!!!!!! BUY THIS CD!!!!!"