+1/2 - Greatest hits with a few twists and a few missed hits
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 10/10/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Legacy's latest version of the single-disc artist overview has a few novel twists. Rather than a strict chronological recitation of an artist's chart hits, the song selections are meant to gather those tracks a fan might compile for themselves. The 14-track playlists are still hit focused, but don't always provide a full accounting of an artist's chart success. Mono singles, longer album versions, out-of-print and non-hit tracks are sequenced to optimize song-to-song segues and draw out an impression of the artist's overall catalog. The results are intended to deliver a listening experience rather than a hits archive. As a physical disc, Legacy's marketing these as CD-quality alternatives to MP3s, improving on the package's ecological aspects with a plastic-free digipack made of 100% recycled paperboard, and including additional materials (pictures, liner notes, credits, wallpapers) on the disc itself, rather than in a printed booklet.
Donovan's Playlist opens with his 1966 flower-power anthems, "Sunshine Superman" and "Mellow Yellow," the former in the longer stereo album version, the latter in the mono single mix. The Scottish Woody Guthrie's acoustic folk is heard in the mono singles "Catch the Wind" and "Colours," the latter featuring a harmonica bridge left off the album version. The body of the compilation runs through most of Donovan's US hits (including specific single versions of "There is a Mountain" and "Epistle to Dippy"), omitting "Jennifer Juniper," "Lalena" and "To Susan on the West Coast Waiting." In place of the three missing hits are the album tracks "Season of the Witch" from 1966's Sunshine Superman, "Young Girl Blues" from 1966's Mellow Yellow, "Isle of Islay" from 1967's A Gift From a Flower to a Garden, and "Happiness Runs" from 1969's Barabajagal.
Those looking for a straightforward accounting of Donovan's US chart hits should seek out the Greatest Hits or Essential CDs. Those looking for flavor beyond the hits will find the stark, piercing portrait of loneliness, "Young Girl Blues," particularly affecting, and the positivity of "Happiness Runs" a sweet folk round. What the album tracks show is that Donovan can't easily be captured in only fourteen tracks. Key protest titles ("The War Drags On," "Universal Soldier"), winning B-sides ("Sunny South Kensington"), and writerly album works ("Writer in the Sun," "Sand and Foam") await you on original album reissues, longer single-disc offerings like Best Of-Sunshine Superman, or longer-form collections like Troubadour: The Definitive Collection or Try for the Sun: The Journey of Donovan. As a short overview, though, this is a good place to start your journey into the world of Donovan. 3-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2008 hyperbolium dot com]"
Some missing songs and some strange versions
Daniel Bremenstuhl | Orange, CA United States | 03/06/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I do not think this is the "Very Best of Donovan" a few of the versions are not the originals as I remember them. I am not old enough to have heard the originals in the 60's or all the records but I got this to replace my Greatest Hits LP. Quality is fine, I should have just gotten Greatest Hits again. I still have the LP, time to hook up the record player again.
I do like some of the extra songs but they should have gone with the original versions and shouldn't have sacrificed Jennifer Juniper."