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on 23 August 2004
One of the most versatile artists of his generation Donovan carries many labels on him but none do him justice.From his first folks albums to his pop ,folk-rock through every genre to his last album the Rick Rubin produced 'Sutras' he defies the critics.
Beat Cafe returns Donovan to the jazzy-beat poet smoke filled clubs of the 60's but with a contemporary edge.This time Donovan has teamed up with producer John Chelew (also on keyboards)with the wonderful Double Bass of Danny Thompson and the expert touch of Jim Keltner on percussion-drums.
As mellow sounding as ever Donovan delivers an interesting mix of songs.Love Floats and Whirlwind have a Buddhist feel to the lyrics which fits in nicely with the Beat-Jazz style of the music.
Other notable tracks include Beatnik Cafe which describes the feel of those 60's hang outs in typical Donovan style . The double Bass of Thompson makes Poor Man's Sunshine a real toe tapper.
Lord Of The Universe is a fun bluesy number,The Cuckoo cover is a catchy version of this traditonal track taught to Don by his old mate Mac MacLeod (who also covered the song on his anthology). The Question has a hypnotic and spooky Donovan in full flow.Two Lovers and Shambala have a return to the Buddhist theme's of love and Utopia,the later sounding like a track from 'Sutras'.Lover O Lover is a erotic mantra like song.
Donovan's real master stroke is his cover of Dylan Thomas's Do Not Go Gentle which is simply superb and has a sound of a David Lynch movie soundtrack.Donovan is back!
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on 21 May 2006
This is the coolest, grooviest album you will ever hear. The fact that it was recorded recently is quite a shock as upon hearing it you will instantly feel you are in a small, smoky, happenning club in the swinging 60s.

The playing is magnificent, from Donovan's husky delivery to Jim Keltner's tight drumming to Danny Thompson's (frankly amazing) bass playing.

Welcome to the Beat Cafe. Have a seat, pour some coffee. You may never want to leave...
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on 5 December 2014
Gone are the gentle folk songs of yesteryear, and the Jazz that was always in his routes has come to the fore. Not intricate or electric jazz, but a acoustic folk club jazz with double bass, reasonably relaxing, but with too much life to call it easy on the ear. The rhythms are from various influences that are difficult to pin down. Some of the lyrics are a little out of date to the real modern day, but that was always Donovans way, so we cannot hold this against him, as it is him. This is not the case with the whole CD.
The complete content is listenable because every song is different from the other, so boredom is not an issue, I can't honestly say this CD has much to show any great steps forward in the music world, but it is new for this particular artist, and for me breaths new life into him.
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on 2 July 2014
Nothing like the Donovan of old. No passion just a load of mumbo jumbo. I wish I had not bought it and just remembered the Donovan of the early 70's.Played it once and the next time I take it out of the CD rack may well be to use it for target practice.

Sorry if you do not like this view but my advise is, If you can listen to it before purchase, then do,

Kind Regards
Jim (age 58....just)
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VINE VOICEon 31 January 2009
I've only just finished listening to the whole cd in a one sitting and I am really impressed that Donovan sounds as good as ever, maybe even better. Excellent production with Donovan being backed by world class musicians, Danny Thompson and Jim Keltner, plus keyboards courtesy of the producer John Chelew (also very good, I just haven't heard of him before).
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 November 2015
Released in 2004, just one year short of Donovan's fortieth year in the music business, the versatile poet, a real survivor of the 1960s, treated his loyal fan base to this genuinely cool, jazzed up record.

On 'Beat Cafe', only his first collection of new material since 1996's 'Sutras', Scotland's masterful troubadour and lyricist paid tribute to his vagabond roots and the jazzy/bluesy music that influenced him in the early days. With this album, he manages to brilliantly capture the groovy sound and flavour of those times gone by so well, that it gives the listener the illusion that they are actually there, sat having a cup of coffee in a smoky, 'happing' beat cafe at the height of the swinging '60s. It's deliciously retro in it's sound, but also has elements of contemporariness.

For me, the highlights are the jazzy title track, the toe tapping 'Poor Man's Sunshine', and the very catchy 'Yin My Yang'. With first class production from excellent musicians, and Donovan's fine voices, 'Beat Cafe' might just win over a whole new audience who didn't really care for Donovan's much more famous folkish style, as this is a whole different flavour of gravy. For devoted fans, and jazz enthusiasts.
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