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The Best Of Donovan: Sunshine Superman
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 31 August 2007
Glasgow-born Donovan Leitch had his best success in the 60s with a string of Mickie Most-produced pop singles which combined catchiness with an unthreatening eco-hippy sensibility. Songs like Mellow Yellow, Jennifer Juniper, Wear Your Love Like Heaven and the eponymous Sunshine Superman were arch, memorable, sometimes twee and very, very English. It was a style that had evolved out of his earlier, Dylan-inspired acoustic folk songs like Catch the Wind and Colours, both also represented here.

These weren't your average bubblegum throwaways, though. Moving in the rock aristocracy circles that also embraced the Beatles and the Stones (Paul McCartney sang backup on Mellow Yellow and Donovan's long-time partner Linda had previously had a child by Brian Jones) Donovan had access to the best of London's sessioneer talent. Jeff Beck, Jack Bruce and Jimmy Page played on his songs; John Paul Jones arranged many of them, including the darkly haunted Hurdy Gurdy Man.

He often recruited jazzers, too, and celebrated flautist Harold McNair helped make There Is A Mountain a memorably oddball hit in '67. Jazz influence also touches lesser-known songs like Sunny Goodge Street, one of the highest musical points on this collection, and the finger-clicking swing number Preachin' Love, which would give Jamie Cullum a fair old run for his money today.

Other gems abound; the eerie, Doors-like Season Of the Witch (later to be covered by Brian Auger) the mind-altering four-voice round Happiness Runs (sung with Graham Nash, Leslie Duncan and Paul McCartney's brother Mike) and the string-laden oddity Lalena. Perhaps the track that's dated best, though, is the sinister funk of Goo Goo Barabajagal, recorded with Jeff Beck, Ron Wood and Nicky Hopkins as the sixties drooped and soured towards their inevitable end.

first published at subba-cultcha.com
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2006
I am biased because I love all Donovans songs so this review will be more about the particular selection of his songs.

There is a good selection: notably 'Colours' and 'Sunny Goodge Street' for the classic Donovan with some of his more 'experimental' songs Atlantis and Barabajabl.

Also includes the staples Hurdy Gurdy Man and Sunshine Super Man.

Altogether a nice addition to someones general collection but for the more serious collector Troubador: The Definate Collection would probably be the better bet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2013
Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan Leitch has enjoyed a long, if patchy musical career, with sporadic revivals of interest in his often innocent-sounding, slightly-dated folk-pop, and gently psychedelic rock.

However, this fairly extensive retrospective - that comes clothed in a banana-yellow coloured, clichéd sleeve - rightly decides to focus on the work that he created in his mid- to-late-1960s prime. All of the familiar radio-friendly UK hit singles that he crafted in collaboration with producer Mickie Most, can be found here, including: 'Mellow Yellow'; 'Sunshine Superman'; 'There Is A Mountain'; 'Season of the Witch'; 'Jennifer Juniper'; 'Wear Your Love Like Heaven', and 'Hurdy Gurdy Man'. Those pungent efforts prove that it was wrongheaded and demeaning to merely portray him as 'the British Bob Dylan', as he often was at the time. Also included are his understated, original versions of 'Colours' and 'Catch The Wind' (rather than the contentious re-recordings he made with a backing band a couple of years later). They are supplemented in the 22 song running order by a broad array of material that is of variable quality. Some of the best efforts include the funk-fuelled 'Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)', jazz-y oddity 'Sunny Goodge Street', and the finger-clicking 'Preachin' Love'. They show that he was a bit more than a fey folkie expressing antiquated hippy-ish sentiments for light and laidback summery Sunday afternoons. However, a couple of choices, like the cod-medieval ballad entitled 'Guinevere', and the morally dubious 'Superlungs My Supergirl', don't stand up to the high quality established elsewhere. At least one of those efforts could have been replaced by the one really notable omission from this compilation - his popular cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie's peace song 'Universal Soldier'.

But, at 75 minutes, EMI's generally enjoyable The Best Of Donovan: Sunshine Superman is pretty well-balanced when it is compared with other overviews, such as Epic's short, sub-40 minute Greatest Hits from 1969, and Sony's sprawling 1992 box set Troubadour: The Definitive Collection 1964-1976.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Every now and then there are revivals in interest of Donovan, and he hasn't done as well as others over the past years, which is a shame. This album contains twenty two tracks; within these are all the top hits that he had in this country. Of course there are a lot of tracks that couldn't be included on this, but the ones here are definitely a very good pick of the crop. Personally my favourite has always been 'Mellow Yellow' which I do sing quite a bit when I am working away at home.

This is a great introduction to someone who is coming to Donovan's music for the first time. The booklet in this does give you quite a bit of information on this performer as well, so whilst you listen to this you can also read up about him. From laid back, to more jazzy and harder hitting, Donovan, despite his hippy type image and folk roots does manage to blend different musical genres effortlessly, that is why so many of his songs have been covered by others over the years. For musical enjoyment you can't really go wrong with this album.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 7 December 2006
I'm a big Donovan fan owning nearly everything he's done and seen him live so bias is inevitable. However, this looks a pretty good start for anyone wishing to get into Donovan.

There are a few gripes though. Firstly, they may be his hits but a couple (atlantis for example) aren't so great. In fact, Donovan towards the 70's and later got a little bit embarrassing as he lost his inspiration. Also, where are the great 70's tunes? What about Cosmic Wheels, I Like You, There is an ocean? Where is Open Road, the celtic rock band he formed? And where is the Rick Rubin Sutras stuff? Please don't bend and give it all up are among his best. (This was an album in the style of Johnny Cash's American recordings - less sucessful though). Also missing is his near return to form, Beat Cafe.

It's a good place for the cream of the 60's and shows his originality and diversity but perhaps for someone who's had a career of some 40 years, theres a little bit too much missing
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I still remember seeing Donovan for the first time on UK TV, Ready Steady Go! I think and someone in the room, who was a musician, said, "He's only playing in the key of C but he has talent" Now I don't know about if it was the key of C, but certainly he had and has talent. A decent CD, available for little money which has all his major hits and as originally recorded, so what more could you possibly want ??!! Well you could see "Donovan's Greatest Hits" which also has all his major hits but only 15 tracks, it depends which is available at the lowest price really, BOTH ARE EXCELLENT, CB

s stereo, m mono

1. Sunshine Superman (Extended Version) s
2. Mellow Yellow m. does s exist
3. Catch The Wind (LP Version) m, does s exist
4. There Is A Mountain s
5. Colours m
6. Jennifer Juniper s ? unsure, perhaps the fake electronic stereo done in the 60/70's, better mix exists, see 2005 remix.
7. The Trip m
8. Sunny Goodge Street m
9. Happiness Runs m
10. Poor Cow m
11. Preachin' Love m
12. Hurdy Gurdy Man s
13. Superlungs My Supergirl m
14. Season Of The Witch s
15. Turquoise m
16. Epistle To Dippy s
17. Sand And Foam m
18. Atlantis s
19. Guinevere m
20. Wear Your Love Like Heaven s
21. Barabajagal (Love Is Hot) s
22. Lalena s
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on 12 November 2014
Bought this for a friend after we had been lucky enough to catch Donovan in concert in Madrid. I'd written to ask for requests and we even managed to meet him for a while. Needless to say, this gift was a a complete winner with my friend as a reminder of the great night we had. A very complete "best of" indeed.
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With 22 classic tracks, each sporting very good song quality, EMI's 2002 compilation offers up a great introduction to Donovan's work in the 1960s. This was the talented Scotsman's most fruitful decade as a recording artist, where he made some timeless, gentle, and infectious music that incorporated elements of folk, pop, light psychedelic rock, and world music.

Most of the obvious tracks are here, including every UK top ten single (apart from 'The Universal Soldier', surprisingly absent): 'Catch the Wind' (LP version), 'Colours', the US chart-topper 'Sunshine Superman' (the extended version), 'Mello Yellow', 'There is A Mountain', 'Jennifer Juniper', 'Hurdy Gurdy Man', and some interesting album only tracks like the haunting 'Sunny Goodge Street'. Many of the charting songs were produced by proven hit maker Mickie Most, who also worked with fellow 1960s musical icons such as The Animals, Herman's Hermits, The Yardbirds, and Lulu.

The CD's attractive booklet contains some excellent, extensive liner notes, lots of good vintage photographs, and memorabilia. 'The Best Of Donovan: Sunshine Superman' is in many ways the perfect introduction to the work of a truly great singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and offers up excellent value for money. Buy this album, and discover Donavan - the King of Flower Power. For fans of Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, and The Byrds.
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on 25 May 2013
Good clear production, good selection of tracks, I bought this to replace some old vinyl recordings which are now wearing rather thin, I am not disappointed.
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on 13 July 2013
I had not listened to this music for 40 years and amazingly it still sounds just as good as it did all those years ago.Good value and quick delivery.
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