This review is from: The Best Of Donovan: Sunshine Superman (Audio CD)
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 At least one of those efforts could have been replaced by the one really notable omission from this compilation - his popular cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie's peace song 'Universal Soldier'.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.