Donovan Leitch, at his most memorable, reflected and connected the folky beginnings of Bob Dylan with the pop instincts of the Beatles, and counted both among his friends. The singer-songwriter's airy voice and whimsical s... more »ongs were malleable enough to encompass wildly diverse styles, including the sparse protest-folk of "Universal Soldier," the smoky cabaret jazz of "Sunny Goodge Street," and the harder psychedelia of "Hurdy Gurdy Man," as well as the easygoing sunshine sound of "Mellow Yellow" and the plush, orchestral "Lalena." Add some whimsical fairy tales, darker blues, and bouncy Caribbean rhythms, and you have an artist whose enormous swath is difficult to absorb, let alone anthologize. This three-CD-plus-one-DVD set covers Donovan's work from 1964 to 2004 and is the most ambitious attempt yet to organize his extensive career. It includes 60 tracks, 15 of them previously unreleased or hard to find (many of these live and acoustic). The remastered sound is so clear it often seems Donovan is whispering into your ear. Try for the Sun is geared toward the hardcore fan, as those just wanting a taste can make do with Donovan's Greatest Hits or Troubadour: The Definitive Collection, 1964-1976. But for those with the time, interest, and patience, this nearly four-hour set, with its sumptuous packaging, extensive liner notes, and rare video footage, is a journey of its own that presents the most complete portrait available of this enigmatic and legendary artist. --Hal Horowitz More Donovan
Donovan Leitch, at his most memorable, reflected and connected the folky beginnings of Bob Dylan with the pop instincts of the Beatles, and counted both among his friends. The singer-songwriter's airy voice and whimsical songs were malleable enough to encompass wildly diverse styles, including the sparse protest-folk of "Universal Soldier," the smoky cabaret jazz of "Sunny Goodge Street," and the harder psychedelia of "Hurdy Gurdy Man," as well as the easygoing sunshine sound of "Mellow Yellow" and the plush, orchestral "Lalena." Add some whimsical fairy tales, darker blues, and bouncy Caribbean rhythms, and you have an artist whose enormous swath is difficult to absorb, let alone anthologize. This three-CD-plus-one-DVD set covers Donovan's work from 1964 to 2004 and is the most ambitious attempt yet to organize his extensive career. It includes 60 tracks, 15 of them previously unreleased or hard to find (many of these live and acoustic). The remastered sound is so clear it often seems Donovan is whispering into your ear. Try for the Sun is geared toward the hardcore fan, as those just wanting a taste can make do with Donovan's Greatest Hits or Troubadour: The Definitive Collection, 1964-1976. But for those with the time, interest, and patience, this nearly four-hour set, with its sumptuous packaging, extensive liner notes, and rare video footage, is a journey of its own that presents the most complete portrait available of this enigmatic and legendary artist. --Hal Horowitz More Donovan
Donovan's Greatest Hits
Troubadour: The Definitive Collection, 1964-1976
Donovan Captured Quite Rightly
Norm | Montana USA | 09/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The sound on these remastered tracks is terrific. Donovan's earliest recordings are a remnant of a time when innocent musings and magical wonder of the cosmos were a quiet force prevailing against a war machine and deaf leaders. This music can be a medicine that helps sooth human spirits in this violent, self-destructing civilization. With the crystal clarity of the remastered recordings, Donovan's music is new again. Although the documentary on dvd is a dated curio upon first viewing, Donovan's music and the performance footage make it worthwhile.
This description is from Sony Music: Spanning his recording career from 1964 to 2004, TRY FOR THE SUN presents 60 tracks, 20 of which are in glorious original mono sound. Included are every one of Donovan's 17 U.S. chart singles (and 8 well-chosen B sides), plus more than a dozen signature album tracks, 12 previously unreleased studio recordings, 7 previously unreleased live concert numbers (from 1967 and 1971), 2 live concert numbers previously unissued in the U.S., and a track from his rare 1964 demo. The bonus DVD marks the long overdue premiere of the 1970 documentary, There Is An Ocean. Filmed during a voyage to Greece, the doc presents a revealing portrait of Donovan in the company of friends and family, with plenty of never-before-seen live performance footage included."
CORRECT TRACK LIST
BOB | LOS ANGELES, CA | 10/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
Since Amazon can't seem to get it together & publish a complete track list, here's the one off AMG:
1 Catch the Wind [Single Version] 2:17 2 Josie 3:27 3 Co'dine [demo version] 4:47 4 Colours 2:45 5 Universal Soldier 2:12 6 Sunny Goodge Street 2:55 7 Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness) 3:10 8 Sunshine Superman [Extended Version] 4:33 9 The Trip [Single Version] 4:34 10 Legend of a Girl Child Linda 6:53 11 Three King Fishers 3:17 12 Season of the Witch 4:56 13 Guinevere 3:41 14 The Fat Angel 4:12 15 Mellow Yellow 3:43 16 Sand and Foam 3:17 17 Young Girl Blues 3:46 18 Museum 2:56 19 Hampstead Incident 4:42 20 Sunny South Kensington 3:49 21 Epistle to Dippy 3:10 22 Preachin' Love 2:39 23 There Is a Mountain 2:35 24 Wear Your Love Like Heaven 2:25 25 Oh Gosh 1:48 26 Isle of Islay 2:22 27 Epistle to Derroll [live] 5:43 28 To Try for the Sun [live] 3:20 29 Someone's Singing [live] 3:55 30 The Tinker and the Crab [live] 3:06 31 Jennifer Juniper 2:42 32 Poor Cow 2:57 33 Hurdy Gurdy Man 3:20 34 Get Thy Bearings 2:53 35 Lalena 2:56 36 Barabajagal (Love Is Hot) 3:24 37 Lord of the Reedy River [#] 3:04 38 Moon in Capricorn [#] 2:03 39 To Susan on the West Coast Waiting 3:13 40 Atlantis 5:08 41 Celia of the Seals 3:00 42 The Song of the Wandering Aengus 43 The Ferryman's Daughter [#] 1:49 44 She Moved Through the Fair [#] 2:52 45 The Traveling People [#] 1:50 46 Riki Tiki Tavi 2:55 47 Clara Clairvoyant 2:52 48 Young But Growing [live] 4:33 49 Keep on Truckin' [live] 2:53 50 Stealin' [live] 4:09 51 I Like You 5:17 52 Maria Magenta 2:12 53 A Working Man [live] 3:09 54 Tinker Tune [live] 2:50 55 Sailing Homeward 2:57 56 Your Broken Heart 3:33 57 Dark-Eyed Blue Jean Angel 3:52 58 Please Don't Bend 4:12 59 Love Floats 4:20 60 Happiness Runs [#] 3:43"
Sony finally starts to get it together
William M. Feagin | Upstate New York, USA | 12/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While Sony-BMG has long been probably the best of the majors (you've got to give props to a major label with an actual customer service division that will replace your defective copies of their CDs at no charge), I feel they have done a very scattershot job on many of their classic artists where remasters are concerned. (Still not quite as horrible as the short shrift EMI has given the Beatles' CD catalogue, which sorely deserve some audiophile remasters--SACD, anyone? Preferably hybrid? Even DualDisc, which I am lukewarm about, would do.) Donovan has probably suffered the most of any artist--the expanded remaster of his Greatest Hits album that Sony released in 1999 showed real promise, but beyond that and the Troubadour set, they dropped the ball. And those two comps only came out as well as they did because Donovan himself was directly involved. They haven't bothered with any of his original albums for Epic, save early CD releases of Sunshine Superman, Hurdy Gurdy Man and Barabajagal. EMI, Donovan's UK label when he left Pye (Hickory in the US), has definitely picked up the slack with their recent remasters, however, and Sony ought to take a page from their book and license those CDs for U.S. release on the Legacy imprimatur--snap to it, Sony!
Fortunately, they *have* presented us with this lovely box set, which redeems them considerably. This, as some reviewers have noted, is certainly not for the casual Donovan fan (they'd do better just buying the Greatest Hits CD) but for the truly dedicated who have great regard for this gentle Celtic bard. And they've presented us with a wealth of gems--this was the first time I'd heard the single mix of "Catch the Wind" (nice, though I feel the version with just Donovan on guitar, voice and harmonica and Brian Locking on bass is superior--for simplicity's sake if nothing else), and there are more of the Pye/Hickory tracks here than on prior Sony comps (although Summer Day Reflection Songs, released in 2000, covers those first 2 albums most completely). I loved the live tracks recorded for (but not included on) the In Concert album--absolutely magickal versions of "Epistle to Derroll" and "To Try for the Sun" that make me wish I'd been able to see Donovan live on his most recent tour of the States--and the unissued Moon in Capricorn tracks like "She Moved Through the Fair" (one of the best versions of that traditional Irish ballad I've yet heard), "Lord of the Reedy River" and Ewan MacColl's "The Traveling People," which Donovan performs just beautifully, and the B-side "The Song of the Wandering Aengus" (even more captivating than Judy Collins' 1962 recording of that song). And this, too, is a career-spanner for Donovan, covering the albums he released in America--there are a number of mid '80s releases for British RCA that remain out of print and which didn't really cover any new material, and his sole Arista album, 1977's Donovan, is not covered here--with a track each from Sutras ("Please Don't Bend") and Beat Cafe ("Love Floats," a sexy, atmospheric song that slightly recalls "Barabajagal").
The real bonus, however, is the DVD containing the documentary "There is an Ocean." While I could have done without watching Donovan's stepson, Julian Jones, having an innocuous little boy's pee on the side of a hill, the rest is certainly worth watching, seeing Donovan, Candy John Carr and Mike Thomson set up and play open-air acoustic sets for native Greek and international hippie audiences, playing songs from the Open Road album and other projects that would surface later on. There are tracks that I wish they had included on the box--I particularly miss "Breezes of Patchulie," "The Quest," "Yellow Star," "What the Soul Desires" and a couple others included on Troubadour--but if one really needs these tracks, Troubadour is indeed still in print, and there are EMI's expanded remasters. For now, we have this set, which is certainly fine. Kudos to Sony for finally getting it together, and kudos to Donovan for all the wonderful music he's given us."
THERE IS AN OCEAN,
M. Zarro | RI USA | 11/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sony did their homework this time with this Donovan boxed set. Getting fans involved is the best thing they could have done. This boxed set has all you need for the hardcore fan. A little of everything from almost every studio album. Like most Donovan fans, I feel there were a ton of classics left out, Ex)Celeste, Summer Day Reflection Song, Turquoise, There is an Ocean, Ballad of Geraldine, Can Ye Dance, The Divine Daze of Deathless Delight, House of Jansch, Marjorie Margerine, Maya's Dance, Peregrine, People Used To, The Sun Is a Very Magic Fellow, Universe Am I, The Voyage of the Moon, Voyage into the Golden Screen, A Well Known Has Been, Ride-A-Mile, The Quest, Heights of Alma, Curry Land, Sleep (from Cosmic Wheels), Appearances etc.... I could go on and on but all fans would have their own setlist preference. The liner notes are almost correct and the photos are amazing, very rare from Donovan's personal archive. Displays Don's hand written setlist from the Isle of Wight show from 1970 with Open Road. Priceless material never scene before. We Also get a glimpse of the alternate HMS Donovan album that was pretitled A Jewel Day. Mind-blowing for the involved fan. The Box is also great for people just discovering the Celtic Bard. Has all the greatest hits and most B-sides, album tracks that will get you hooked. We are teased with a few tracks from what would have been a 1969 album called Moon in Capricorn. The tracks include Moon in Capricorn, She Moved Through the Faire and Ewan MacColl,s The Traveling People. Wish they would have added traditional Willy O' Winsbury to the set which was recorded for this. (Hint) Maybe on an HMS Donovan re-release with bonus tracks. Nice to see a studio version of The Ferryman's Daughter see the light of day. The Set is worth it for the Velvet box, cd's and booklet alone. The bonus is the real selling point of the box. Donovan finally releases the rare documentary There is an Ocean. It was filmed in Greece with his Open Road Band, Candy John Carr and the late Mike Thomson who passed away from cancer a few years back. The film is what all Donovan fans have been waiting for, footage of Open Road playing live and messing around writing songs on Donovan's Yacht. Some of the songs played live include the brilliant Electric Moon, this is one of Don's most beautiful songs ever, needs to be released on cd. Barabajagal came to Blythe Faire, the story of the herbalist. The first appearance of The Garden later released on the 1996 studio album Sutras. Great version of Riki Tiki Tavi. The Very Thing would have fit nicely on the follow up to Open Road Lp and ends with the beautiful There is an Ocean. Sailing Homeward is played a few times during the film, most fans will know this track from being on Essence to Essence. The Pee Song is annoying as always, we get to see son Julian Jones draining the vain. Sadly the film was edited by like 18 minutes. Not sure why Sony decided to do this but we miss out on Two Days Late, Big Moon Rise, Twist and Shout and a couple others. The DVD is a must see, Nigel Lesmoir Gordon is the director and did a fabulous job. This is a very special release for Donovan celebrating his Brilliant 40 year career. Cheers to Sony for an excellent job. You must buy this Boxed set."
catfan | dhahran, saudi arabia | 01/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a Donovan fan since those sunny summer days of the mid sixties when I first heard "Catch the Wind" and "Colours", I eagerly awaited the release of this Donovan jewel box. I agree with many of the other reviewers that these remastered versions of his many classic songs alone make the purchase of this set worthwhile. There is not one weak track here, but for me the most amazing songs are the previously unreleased live cuts. I dare any music lover or aficionado of "fine art" to listen to Donovan's live version of his 1967/68 "Someone's Singing" (originally recorded when he was still 21 or so and just returned from India)and not wax lyrical about this gem. For me, this one track encapsulates Donovan's enduring magic. "To Try for the Sun", another live cut, is yet one more reason to buy this jewel box today. Music as good and timeless as this was always rare; what "artists" of today can even fathom the complexties and simple genius of Donovan's life's work?
As a teenager I attended two sold-out concerts in Vancouver, Canada in the fall of 1968 and 1969. I saw him again at the Roundhouse in London in April 1972. Now, all these years later, his music and poetry are still a soothing balm. It is so true that even in the sixties his voice was said to relieve the anxiety of those strung out on drugs. I remember fondly those three concerts and the admiration we showed Donovan on stage: "our man", truly "everyman's musician". Donovan, with acoustic guitar and harmonium, sat on a Persian carpet (strewn with flowers mostly throw by devotees) and delivered the most exquisite, captivating performances. The capacity crowd showed him the respect he deserved by hardly breathing a word throughout the entire performance. Donovan knew his value, worth and purpose as the bard of a generation. He never failed in transporting us - sans artificial incentives - to planes we couldn't otherwise reach.
Now, if you still are unconvinced of Donovan's genius for the most memorable song writing and musicianship, view the 40 minute bonus DVD that's included with this set. Here, Donovan and "Open Road" friends and family take a sail through the Greek Isles. I have watched this DVD many times now and never fail to be utterly amazed at how Donovan creates his magic. This film is very special; repeated watchings will only make you appreciate Donovan even more. There are some really incredible live outdoor acoustic perfomances that are as good as you could ever wish for. Donovan reads the famous Cavafy poem "Ithika" in which he wishes all travellers a long and eventful journey before reaching "home". This is precisely what Donovan has given us and for which we are eternally grateful.