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on 29 January 2009
This review is mainly for Donovan fans.

The first CD release of this was by BGO back in 1993 and it was mono, although the remastering was great. BGO realised their mistake and quickly issued a stereo version. Unfortunately they did a crap job 'remastering' (for want of a better word) and the result was that it stayed in the CD drawer and was rarely played.

I was apprehensive when I saw the upcoming release of this by EMI using THAT word 'Remastered' again, but ordered it none the less. 4 days after release date it turns up on my doorstep on the other side of the world for less than a local release (including postage). Great job Amazon U.K..

The verdict: SOUND IS SUPERB. Don't hesitate getting this one.

The only down side is EMI couldn't use the Karl Ferris cover shots, but they do have most of the Mick Taylor and Sheens McCall artwork and the presentaion is top class.
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on 13 April 2017
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on 5 April 2006
The best of this double album undoubtedly shows Donovan at the height of his artistic powers: songs are poetic but succinct, with sensitive backing from Harold McNair and others when it's needed (Enchanted Gypsy; Tinker and the Crab) or his own acoustic guitar when it isn't (Isle of Islay; Epistle to Derroll).

If you are only familiar with the numerous permutations of the much-reissued early stuff then this is a clear development, though the songs retain Donovan's sense of seeing beauty and wonder in the simplest things, especially in Isle of Islay or a song like Starfish on the Toast: "Holding whelks and periwinkles tingling in his hand / Little does he know they hold him too."

I agree that the second album is better than the first, as others have said, but one of the beauties of Gift... as a whole is that several styles, including a relaxed, jazzy feel on some numbers like Sun, blend effortlessly together without feeling forced - indeed, ease and unselfconsciousness are the key words here. Other Donovan albums have their merits but in my view this record simply has the highest concentration of excellent songs.
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'A Gift from a Flower Garden' was Donovan's first double LP, released in the US in 1967, and the following year in the UK. Produced by legendary hit maker Mickie Most, the first record was titled 'Wear Your Love Like Heaven', and the second was 'For Little Ones'.

The first album, aimed at the adult listeners, is named after the catchy opening song, which is the epitome of 'Flower Power', and although it was a minor hit in the US, but shamefully wasn't welcomed by us Brits. Other magic moments on this cheerful and pleasant record include 'Mad John's Escape', 'There Was A Time', and 'Sun'.

The second album, as the title indicates, is pitched a younger listeners, and made up entirely of acoustically played children's fairy stories, all originals from Donovan's pen. Some of these charming songs, beautifully crafted and innocent, are rather amusing, and sometimes sad. Predictably, they can also be enjoyed by the adult audiences. My favourite story is 'The Enchanted Gypsy', followed by 'The Tinker and the Crab', 'Widow with a Shawl', and 'Starfish-On-The-Toast'.

Many have labelled this Scottish bard as the ''Poor man's Bob Dylan'', of which he was actually painted at the time, but I just don't see it myself. Dylan was and is a king certainly, and course there are similarities between the two of them (as Dylan was such a major influence, the majority of singer/songwriters of this period were inspired by his sound), especially when you listen to his early material. However, Donovan was a very complete artist in his own right, and had his own unique sound and vibe as far as I can hear, and was also a very good songwriter.

I regard this double album, now on one beautifully remastered (EMI, 2009) CD (complete with a booklet with full lyrics, the original note from Donovan, and reproductions of some of the lovely illustrations which graced the inlay of the records), as a masterpiece, which illustrates the King of Flower Power at his creative peak. It's one of my favourite albums from the 1960s, and one which I can always turn to whenever I need comfort or inspiration.
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on 31 August 2000
Released as a limited edition boxed double album when Donovan was at the height of his fame. Record 1 was infectious pop songs with lavish production. Record 2 was pure folk songs about gypsys, banjos and starfish. Just voice, guitar and a bit of pipe and maybe banjo.
If you like Donovan then you owe it to yourself to buy this. I can't praise it enough.
This is the pinnacle of Donovan's art
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on 7 November 2006
Donovan is simply one of those genius singer sonwriters who kept producing wonderful, evocotive and beautifully realised songs but was also a brilliant interpreter of other peoples songs. Here he is on top form. He took a step back from the mainstream pop oreientated music with which he had become associated. That is not the devalue any of that work, it is wonderful too, however, this is a perfectly realised Donovan album that exudes a towering writing and performing confidence. The songs here are as fresh as the day they were written.

For many people this is the peak of Donovans career, however, I believe that he went on to record many more wonderful albums. I would advise anyone who is at all interested in this great artist to check out any of his albums they are all head and shoulders above much of what you will find in the avaerage record collection

Although he became less commercially successful in the 1970s, to paraphrase Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, it was not Donovan that stopped being big but the music that got small.
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on 17 December 2004
Very rarely do albums such as ''A Gift from a Flower to a Garden'' come along. If ever you seek comfort, inspiration or wonderment from a musician then settle upon this record as your resting place.
For within each song is a magical (some would say twee) world where Donovan employs Jazz, Folk, Psychedelia, Shakespeare and Indian philosophy as his musical and lyrical templates of choice.
It is a testament to Donovan's white hot creativity of this period that he manages to cover so much ground just on a lyrical basis over so many songs.
Suffice to say, buy this album immediately and dig ''Skipalong Sam'', ''Sun'', ''Wear Your Love Like Heaven'' and best of all ''Mad John''.
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on 1 June 2005
Here we have another fine album from one of my now all-time favourite singer-songwriters. Be aware the two albums are distinctly different: the first is a collection of more upbeat and more commercial material (most of which was added as the record label felt the music of the second half of this album wasn't commercial enough but I'll come to that in a moment) and the second half is mainly folky, acoustic material, with 'songs for children' as Donovan himself put it.
For me, the first half of the album is good, but the second half is amazing. Check 'The Enchanted Gypsy', 'Isle Of Islay' and 'Lullaby Of Spring', wonderful songs about nature, enchanting tales and the passing of the seasons. It's perhaps not as surreal as the music on 'Sunshine Superman' but as the cover art suggests, Donovan's love of the seaside really shines through on this set.
Whilst I am quite a fan of music with the darker emotions I can't help but appreciate this guy's mastery of writing about all that is good and beutiful in this world. I wouldn't quite say it's 5 out of 5 for me because of how I feel about the first 10 songs overall but this CD is worth the last 12 alone. Highly recommended.
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on 15 July 2003
Master songwriter Donovan recaptures the pure innocence and unconditional love of youth in this vibrant collection of magical songs. If you want to unhook from the drab grind of life and shrug off the all too serious cloak of adulthood, plug yourself in to this Donovan masterpiece. Sing along, enjoy, be young and feel your 'joie de vivre' being restored. It is indeed a gift !
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on 22 October 2000
Donovan has stood the test of time. This collection of songs represents all that is Donovan, an excellent song writer and performer at his very best. Simple and tuneful, the songs have come down through time and have never been equalled. We are waiting for Donovan to record more of the same.
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