An overlooked contribution...
The Professor | Dayton OH | 05/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I could not help but write this review in response to the 2 existing reviews. Yes there is a seriousness to this album that is somewhat uncharacteristic of the John Denver that became famous, but this is an extremely important work in the progression of his career. The artist at this point is a mid-twenties up and coming folksinger (this is the predecessor of his breakout, Poems, Prayers, & Promises). Whose Garden Was This establishes Denver's mastery of covers (Lennon/McCartney, Tom Paxton, etc.) with some fairly interesting arrrangements of Eleanor Rigby, Mr Bojangles (I do agree with the one reviewer that this one is better than the NGDB's version and would add that this is the definitive version of this song), etc. The originals are strong as well. Sail Away Home is appropriately dark, but not without optimism. Yes the high-voiced female singers were a bit much, but a sign of the times. The song is timeless and with some updated production would sound as if it were written yesterday. Yes if you are looking for later day John Denver (that singer who enjoyed great commercial success at the cost of becoming a caricature of himself), don't buy this album. If, on the other hand, you want a glimpse of a young artist genuinely exploring his singing, poetry, and developing social/environmental consciousness, get this album. Then make certain you put this, Aerie (probably his best), and Farewell Andromeda right alongside Poems, Prayers, & Promises and Rocky Mountain High. These albums are John Denver... at his artistic best."
Not John's best
Kenneth R. Blaker Jr. | KENTUCKY | 08/16/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I am a hugh John Denver fan. I bought this album many years ago. I believe the year was 1977. I had heard several other albums by John at this time in my life and loved everything about his music. Until I played this one. I agree with the last reviewer. It is too dark and gloomy. I like to think of John as a positve and uplifting singer/song writer. I bought the CD to make my collection complete. However, if you are looking for a inspiring, uplifting John Denver album this one is not for you. Although, I try to look for positive messages in all of John's music, and there is some positve messages here for it's time. I don't believe the ocassional John Denver listener will enjoy this recording as much as some later recordings. Try his "Spirit" album, or his "I Want To Live" album. With these recordings you can't go wrong. They truly are, "FAR OUT"!"
Excellent performances in this recording
Charles - Music Lover | Phoenix, AZ, USA | 05/14/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Whose Garden Was This" seems to be a little-known recording in John Denver's overall output. This strikes me as a shame, because the recording is a top-notch collection. What this recording lacks in polish it makes up for in authenticity.
Denver sounds looser in his interpretations of folk-rock standards on this album than he did in later releases (I estimate that I've heard about half of his recordings). One writer called "Mr. Bojangles" a definitive recording of the song and I heartily agree. His interpretations of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and "Eleanor Rigby" are also striking.
For those who haven't heard "Whose Garden Was This," you are definitely in for a surprise. Released in 1970 before Denver rocketed to super-stardom, you hear an artist unburdened with commercial constraints."