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3.8 out of 5 stars19
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 16 October 2004
When I was 18, which was about the third summer of love (1990) I had a copy of the 'Record Collector' magazine and had read about Donovan...one day (one of the hottest days that year) Radio one were playing 'Hot Summer' tracks and I heard this song that was so damn catchy - I turned to my dad and said that's Donovan even though I'd never heard this song before...turned out it was 'Sunshine Superman' the first track on this album. I knew I'd love Donovan after that.
During the 60's under the production of Micky Most, Donovan produced some of his greatest music, everything from Dylanesque folk to Beatles backed tracks such as Mellow Yellow. This album concentrates on Donovans electric heyday 66-69. You won't hear all of Donovans styles on this album (folk and jazz to name a few) but you will hear some of the gentlest, insightful tunes ever written - just listen to 'Happiness Runs' which is like a childrens nursery rhyme but somehow manages to transcend generations and be relevant on many levels - 'Happiness runs in a circular emotion, thought is but a little boat upon the sea.. Happiness Runs Happiness Runs...' This is a great representation of Donovans heyday but by no means is a definitive collection. Thankfully though all the songs are representative of Donovans best albums of the 60's except the playfull and acoustic 1967 set 'Donovan in Concert' which spins a whole new take on these songs.
Start here though and if you like what you hear then there is better to come on the American imports of Donovans 1966 and 1967 albums 'Sunshine Superman' and 'Mellow Yellow'...Don't waste your time with the UK version of 'Sunshine Superman' which for legal reasons is an abridged version of the first two albums and misses some great tracks from the full albums.
To sum up.. you can hear the embodiment of the 60's in this album, you really can hear the innocence in his voice..not fake and certainly not cashing in (there is a lot of debate about whether Donovans 'Sunshine Superman' single or the Byrds 'Eight Miles High' was the first Pyschedelic single).
If you long for a better place when you shut your eyes then this is a good starting place...but that is what it is, a starting place that isn't represntative of all of Donovans styles. Hey, you have to start someplace though and it's where I started my long appreciation of this mans brilliance.
I hope you enjoy.
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The original and first Greatest Hits compilation was released in January 1969 and although this CD edition shares the same picture cover it does not have the original album release content. However it may not matter to most people,
This is a good compilation and the sound is brilliant

The original 1969 issue was significant in its release at the time and stands out as not just a greatest hits album but almost a new album in its own right, And this CD edition that borrows the originals picture cover and art work is good.
The original album Greatest Hits was a big seller and had significant tracks on it. For a start it collected three singles that were previously unreleased on any album. Epistle to Dippy, There is a Mountain and Lalena. Ok, those tracks are included here so that is fine. The album also included the previously un released longer version of Sunshine Superman. Also on here so again that is fine. Then two of the songs Catch the Wind and Colours were actually re recorded with Big Jim Sullivan playing guitar and this time produced by Donovan’s producer Mickie Most. These two songs had of course been two of the most significant hits for Donovan in the early days and the record company that Donovan was now signed to, Epic, could not get the rights to obtain or release the original recordings. So rather than leave out two of the biggest hit songs they just re recorded them in 1968. But to save legal complications and to take the chance to do things differently Donovan came up with new arrangements for these new re recordings. (they were studio re recordings and not live recordings as some reviewers have suggested,) It was an attempt to arrange them so they sounded more like the more recent and new recordings. Now these versions were slower with full backing band and lavish productions. They do sound different and do lack the vitality of the original recordings. But they are very interesting and the arrangements help to make the album feel more like an album rather than a compilation.
This edition has changed the running order of the tracks from the original release and adds other tracks that were hits after the original album was released. The running order of the tracks is different from the original 1969 edition but its all there and more. The sound is great and it is a good compilation.
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on 16 May 2014
Finally got round to adding Donovan to my eclectic music taste a while ago now with this and on the whole it is pretty good except for the omission of 'Universal Soldier'. I would have preferred to original version of 'Catch the Wind' as well. Some of the lyrics are more banal than I remembered and some of the tunes sound somewhat twee now but you have to make allowances for the time - the 60's and all that went with it. None of this has made me regret buying this CD though. The sleeve notes are nicely informative as well. Finally, it was not until recently that it dawned on me that 'Mellow Yellow' is not exactly what it seems, I bet I'm probably not alone either?
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on 29 January 2001
The most outstanding aspect's of this album are probably the the fantastic backing vocals that always feature in Donovan's studio work coupled with the top class pop production of Micky Most and the variety of styles which feature on this title, Donovan travles from his folk roots through to psycodelic funk and soul. This album provides a good taste of Donovan's mellow fantastic song Stylings, a good starting point for any budding fan.
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on 7 June 2013
Loved this on the first play,some nice rarities and surprises along with the expected hits.
As a T.Rex fan,you can clearly see the influence Donovan had on Bolan's early work.
What is such a nice surprise, is the inclusion of tracks previously unavailable in the UK.
So if you think you know all there is to know about this influential artist,check this out.
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on 27 October 2012
Reading down the list of tracks on this album, anyone who wants a representative starting point for Donovan's music must think they've hit it all in one album. Most of the great Donovan classics are here and, to be honest, for a 20-track selection I think they've got it just right.

But beware! These are not all the original versions. Listen on other albums to the essentially solo wistful acoustic classics like Colours and Catch The Wind. Now listen to them on this album. It may be Donovan's voice, but what's happened to the tempo, where did the backing musicians and voices come from, what are all these other instruments? These are most definitely NOT what made Donovan in the 60s. If you've never heard the originals then fine, plunge right in. You won't know what you're missing. But if you're expecting to hear Donovan as he was when he cut these tracks first time around, you'll hardly recognise them.

I haven't listened to every track sample here. I don't know whether they are all affected by this re-recording or studio trickery. All I can suggest is 'caveat emptor' - let the buyer beware. You may be as well assembling (or improving) this collection by downloading selected tracks from other Donovan albums available.

Absolutely fantastic songs, so evocative of their time and place in music history, badly treated on this release.
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on 25 July 2013
What more can I say. Donovan's music, style and clarity shines through. One of the best from the sixties and a thoroughly nice chap as well
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on 3 June 2013
The 60s had a great variety of performers and Song Styles.

Donovan is in a class of his own, reflective and captivating.
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on 22 June 2013
I hadn't listened to Donovan for years. Some of these are still lovely but some haven't aged well. I've deleted some from my MP3.
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on 9 April 2016
Great value and good sound.
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