Digitally remastered reissue of the singer/songwriter's 1970 album. Includes the hit, 'Riki Tiki Tavi'. 2000 release. Digipak.
An Open Road ...that was a cul-de-sac.
Clyde D. Hoops | Back where I started from in Oceanside California | 06/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you only have one album by Donovan, this is a crime.If you only have two albums by Donovan you must have been pardoned somewhere down the line, but not by me. I say this because if you like or liked Donovan then most fans of his most illustrious music own many albums of his, through many different periods, but if you do not have this on vinyl,8-track (snicker, snicker) or reel to reel, or now on CD you need to ask yourself why?There are many periods of Donovan, the folkie from '64-65, the slick folk-popster of '65, the psychedelic pop-star '66-68, the revamping pop-star of '69, the often ignored and abandoned pop has been of '72-78, the recluse of the eighties, and the re-emergence of re-recognition at the middle of the Nineties. But the period often overlooked by too many people, is this one disc/album, that is so singularly different from any of Don's previous or subsequent releases that this is truly the gem of his entire recorded output."Open Road" was the name of the band and its eponymously titled album, and as such a new direction for the Mighty Donovan to persue, unfortunately for whatever reason, and many are given by those whose know and those who only wish they knew, the 'Open Road' was not a new avenue of approach but just a dead end cul-de-sac. This was the chance for Donovan to be anonymous within a band line-up and at the same time to be autonomous in the studio. The aninimity never happened needless to say, I wonder why? But the autonomy within the confines of the studio really paid off. Unlike the cut and paste ideals of the Mickie Most era, (which really seemed to hurt more bands than it ever helped, case in point The Yardbirds-Little Games, The Animals-AnimalTracks/Animalism/Animalization, just to name a few), allowed Donovan and the band the necessary freedom of time to complete a release, in this case a splendid one.The one technical difficulty observed with this particular release has been mentioned in an earlier review, is that there is a bottom end that is way to heavy and plays out as a distorted bass part, not all the way throughout but in all the wrong places and most particularly in the songs 'Celtic Rock' and 'Poke at the Pope'. Both songs need to be heard, although with this being the best current edition of these songs the problem can be overlooked, at least until a true 'remastered edition' is released.After this album Donovan can be found doing more story-based albums for film scores or childrens stories, which is by no means an insult to this incredibly talented artist but somewhat of a let down after the promise or rather the invitation to a promising avenue as "Open Road" was.The line-up for this album, Donovan-guitar/vocals/harp, 'Candy' John Carr-percussion/vocals, Mike Thomson-Bass guitar/vocals/lead guitar, with Mike O'Neill-piano/vocals, is as classic a line-up as ever for a self contained Donovan band.The track listing has only one light song in the old Donovan tradition which is 'Joe Bean's Theme' which is reminiscent of 'Jennifer Juniper or 'The Observation', some may state that the songs 'Song for John' and Curry Land' also reflect Donovan's earlier periods as well. The best tracks are where Donovan gets the boot in as in songs like 'Changes', 'Celtic Rock', 'Clara Clairvoyant', 'Roots of Oak', 'Poke at the Pope' and 'Season of Farewell', characterize the "Celtic rock" feel throughout the disc, the whole idea behind this disc was for Donovan to have a stripped down bare-essential Rock band that played "roots" music and with that knowledge, he truly succeeded. Of the other tracks 'Riki Tiki Tavi' is an upbeat tune that even became a small "hit", although the previously "unreleased" version heard on 'Troubador' is better, in that the real meaning of the song is heard. Alas one more terrible distraction from this wondrous disc is the exclusion of the lyrics, why?The last track on the album correctly titled 'New Years Resovolution' seems to be Donovan's attempt to take his fan base with him in a new direction, the song works, too bad the fan base didn't.The lyrical refrain "Do what you've never done before for fear of losing face, you have nothing to defend now, in your state of grace. So get on your bike and do what you like. Love is the gift of man, yet he will not receive within, is the church of man. Yet he cannot perceive without is the realm of man, he yet cannot conceive man is the plague of man, yet he will not believe. There go you go I" says it all baby!"
May be Donovan's finest moment
Garry Daniel | Knoxville, TN United States | 04/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As it all too often seems to happen, an artist produces his finest work at the same time his commercial appeal starts to slide.By the time this album was released in 1970, Donovan's string of hit singles was coming to an end. Riki Tiki Tavi was a minor hit on radio, and then...nothing.But, as I have said before, that doesn't mean the creative juices have dried up, or that artist is no longer relevant, only that the tastes of the mass market have shifted and are looking to something new. That's when an artist's fan base takes over and supports him (or her). Concerts are well attended and albums continue to sell to some degree, but the artist in question no longer finds his face on magazine covers or mentioned in the same breath as the current entertainers. This album,"Open Road" was, and still is, a magnificent piece of work. Riki Tiki Tavi, Changes, Clara Clairvoyant, People Used To, New Years Resolvolution (no, that's not a misspelling) are wonderful,well crafted, intelligent songs written and performed by an artist in his prime.It seems that Donovan went a little bit backward, toward his folkie style of music, but with a late sixties, early seventies twist. My opinion is that this is Donovan's finest album. If you know Donovan only as the guy who did "Mellow Yellow", then have a listen to the Open Road album. You'll be pleasantly surprised. You'll find that life is so much more rewarding sometimes if you kill your own snakes, instead of depending on the church, the government, the schools to do it for you. "
Eureka! I've Found It
Chris Stevenson | 06/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought the vinyl (twice) and had it pinched at parties (twice). I bought the tape (new technology then!) and well, you know what happens to tapes. When I went online, I scoured the internet for it. No luck. I even bought the sheet music just to prove to myself that I hadn't actually dreamed it. I was just about to get a different vinyl album changed to CD for a considerable charge and I thought.....why not.......give it one more go on the internet. I looked for that album and Open Road and couldn't believe my eyes...I can only echo what everyone else has said - you've not had the full experience of Donovan till you've heard this one. As much as I like his other, better known work, there was an extra magic here that infiltrates your mind and memory. Be warned! I hadn't heard the songs for 25 years but I could still sing them to myself so these are the type of songs you'll sing in the shower and hum in the supermarket."
The Great Lost Donovan Album
Chris Stevenson | Philadelphia Pa | 03/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the one that got away. Ask anyone about this record and 99.9% will have no idea. In vinyl terms, the second side of this LP is among the best stuff Donovan ever recorded.
Remember, this came out in 1970 and if you listen close you can see a signpost pointing the way to the future of T-Rex. Close your eyes and you can hear it. If Donovan took this band on the road and toured to support this album when it was released he may have had a chance to to re-vamp his career and claim a spot with the great "Glam Rock" artists of that time. The band supporting Donovan was perfect for him. The only thing preventing this review from 5 stars is the annoying habit of overdone falsettos (especially on Roots Of Oak) through-out the record but that does not prevent one from enjoying the truly outstanding songwriting and subtle musicianship. Poke At The Pope is typical Donovan - a cross of folk & jazz phrasing mixed together: Great Stuff! Go out and buy it!!!"