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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Through the Looking Glass of 1966-69 Psychedelia with Donovan, 27 April 2013
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This review is from: Breezes of Patchouli (His Studio Recordings 1966-1969) (Audio CD)
Donovan was always for me the "Ambassador of Flower Power" from across the pond. While growing up in San Francisco during the 60's there was an insullar bubble around SF and the musicians it fostered. Everyone in California was becoming tuned in to West Coast Psychedelica, California had the SF scene and Los Angeles.
No internet then. There were a handful of ways we were exposed to "outside" music. Word of moulth; vinyl bins; thy ears; and radio, AM and FM.

Donovan penetrated that insular SF bubble through the radio. His AM hits were everywhere, as well as featured FM bits. In a cool way Donovan pays homage to Jefferson Airplane in 1966's FAT ANGEL (frm Sunshine Superman lp) before the Airplane really took off (there was a kinship of sorts). Through osmosis like this (other bands' covers of 'Season of the Witch') Donovan became a crucial step in defining the genre of 'psychedelic folk', and agruably cleared the way for more eccentric and eclectic UK bands' like 'The Incredible String Band' and 'Tyrannosaurus Rex'.

This box set here does an excellent job of presenting Donovan's music through his glory years of 66-69. It's houses 6 releases on 4 cds in a 4cd Jewel case. Each cd is arranged thus:

CD#1 contains SUNSHINE SUPERMAN (1966) and MELLOW YELLOW (1967), 30 tracks, running back to back for a total time of 78+ min. All of cd#1 is in mono.

CD#2 contains HURDY GURDY MAN (1968) and BARABAJAGAL (1969), 38 tracks, running back to back for a total time of 77+min. All but 1 track is in stereo.

CD#3 contains A GIFT FROM A FLOWER TO A GARDEN (1968), 22 tracks, double lp with WEAR YOUR LOVE LIKE HEAVEN flowing into FOR LITTLE ONES. All in stereo with a total time of 62min.

CD#4 contains assorted tracks related to the previous albums (see amaz. track listing above).
Tracks 1-5 are Sunshine Superman related
Tracks 6-11 are Mellow Yellow related
Tracks 12-16 are Hurdy Gurdy Man related
Tracks 17-23 are Barabajagal related

I really like the fact that the "extras" are on the fourth disc and do not interfere with the flow of the official releases.

The booklet is a fine 24 page compendium of bio, track analysis, pix, historica et al. The print is small, the text expansive and up-to-date as to this specific release.
Keep in mind that the box set is packaged in a 4-cd Jewel case. There are no individual album sleeves, no clamshell box or slipcase. Even the 4-cd jewel case has its moments though: the inner jewel box has clear cd mounts allowing for the compiliers to design it with colorful artwork. This is no 'Original Album Series' pass-off either. It is a selected collection of Donovan's output (during the 2nd half of the 60's) an era immersed in an unprecedented "consciousness expanding" social experiment.

The overall effect of this presentation here is a well concieved, respectful and enlightening view of a wonderful musician whoose "vibe" meshed perfectly with the era...and in his own unique way helped to define it.

Get this along withSummer Day Reflection Songs and you'll have all the PYE recordings which preceed the years covered here. Don't hesitate to venture further into some other great psychedelic folk which I believe Donovan spearheaded includingOriginal Album Series and The Definitive Tyrannosaurus Rex. What a time it was!!!
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Apr 2013 14:06:04 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Apr 2013 14:12:23 BDT
Just a quick note. Love your review. As for "The Fat Angel" Donovan wrote that song for Mama Cass Elliot who was so essential to the West Coast musical movement in the US. She introduced Crosby, Stills and Nash to each other among others. The song was not a put down and Cass didn't take it that way. She loved it. But Donovan wrote the song and the Airplane later covered it. Your review is thorough and excellent. There are 5 albums here, A Gift was a double LP and the 6th disc is full of non-lp releases. The US releases of his albums differ from the UK releases, but "Sunshine Superman" "Mellow Yellow" "The Hurdy Gurdy Man" "Barabajagal" and doulbe "A Gift From a Flower To A Garden" are the lps released here. So there are 6 lps, but only 5 releases that comprise the box set. Disc 4 contains non-lp material. Like you point out so correctly Donovan put many nuances into his music. He might have been the one musician that Mickie Most did a good job producing, as opposed to The Animals, The Yardbirds, etc. Anyway, great review and glad to see I'm not the only one who really digs it. Oh yeah, I agree totally about String Driven Thing and Tyrannosaurus Rex. Donovan opened the door for their flavor of music. "Circus" from SDT's first LP and I fell in love on the first listen and Marc Bolan did lots of great stuff before becoming a bit over the top with some of his T. Rex stuff. Super, super good review.
All the best,
Kevin

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2013 15:46:42 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Apr 2013 15:57:41 BDT
Hey thanks for the good vibe. You know I never heard of String Driven Thing(!). When I first saw your comment I had to do a double-take, mistaking SDT for ISB (Incredible String Band). Certainly for me (back in the day) String Driven Thing were unknown. Heck, for San Francisco ISB were a stretch! The SF hippies then were not to be outdone by any 'outsiders' co-opting the scene (haha)...even us San Franciscans' thought the East Bay (Country Joe & the Fish, hello) were "intruders".

The Dead and Airplane were the big shots in SF during 66-69. I saw free concerts up the wazoo, especially JA. Less folk, more rock, the Airplane were much edgier and not necessarily the most "mellow" for serious "psychic explorations".
Donovan is (was) the perfect guide. I am a big fan of the Moodies during the years we speak of... beautiful vibes as well. Sabu

Posted on 6 May 2013 10:31:51 BDT
Marcia says:
Completely brilliant review. I had bought this product and was going write a review but yours is just great and I would only be repeating a lot of what you are saying. I agree with you this is a great release. I have bought all the Donovan albums on CD since the late 80s and have re bought and updated with remasters etc, but anyone starting from scratch would be wise to start here. I am keeping my copies of the previously released editions of mono sunshine Superman, mellow yellow, Hurdy Gurdy Man and Barabajagal masters that they duplicate here since not all of the bonus tracks are included here. But this is a a great edition with everything layed out in good running order. And you are so right its great that the extra tracks are on a seperate disc.
This has to be the definitive review for this product, great.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 May 2013 09:15:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 May 2013 09:16:11 BDT
Thanks Miss Potter (and Kevin!) for your kind comments'. peace, Sabu

Posted on 23 May 2013 21:23:01 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 27 May 2013 07:39:15 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Jun 2014 05:24:00 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 14 Jan 2015 08:57:50 GMT]
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