Friday, October 07, 2005

Donovan - Try For The Sun

Try For The Sun - The Journey Of Donovan is the most expansive stateside collection of Donovan yet with 3 discs and a DVD. It's a deserved and lavish treatment for a critically underrated artist. The chronological collection gives you a good dose of Donovan's folk rock Hickory sides, all of the hits, an ample selection of of album gems, some live performances, and some of his children's recordings. The macrocosm of the Sixties musical explosion is contained within.

It begins simply with Donovan in his folkie persona highlighted by "Catch The Wind" which is currently being used to sell Volvos. Donovan was very good at folk music. During this phase of his career he stole a scene from Dylan in docu-pic Don't Look Back. I wish this period of Donovan's career had lasted longer. The folk playing segued right into a sometimes ornate psychedelic period in which Donovan hit the big time with hits like "Sunshine Superman", "Mellow Yellow", and "Hurdy Gurdy Man" all produced by Mickie Most. This material would define Donovan and inspire such things as smoking banana peels and the Allman Brother's "Mountain Jam". The boxset digs deep into this sometimes sublime and silly well. "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" retains a childlike romanticism, but the spoken word bits on "Atlantis" bring to mind Spinal Tap's "Stonehenge".

Donovan's musical journey continued to correspond to his peers. He went from simply produced to more complex production and then back to simple. He recorded children's songs. His material began to harken back to the folk era with echoes of the blues which can heard on some of the live performances included in Try For The Sun. A handful of Donovan's later material is also included. Liner notes were written by Anthony DeCurtis. Donovan chose which songs to compile and I think he did a good job. He's one hippie I like.

"Included are every one of Donovan's 17 U.S. chart singles (and 8 well-chosen B sides), plus more than a dozen signature album tracks, 12 previously unreleased studio recordings, 7 previously unreleased live concert numbers (from 1967 and 1971), 2 live concert numbers previously unissued in the U.S., and a track from his rare 1964 demo. The bonus DVD marks the long overdue premiere of the 1970 documentary, There Is An Ocean. Filmed during a voyage to Greece, the documentary presents a revealing portrait of Donovan in the company of friends and family, with plenty of never-before-seen live performance footage included."

1 comment:

papa herman said...

i had the opportunity to see Donovan play once in Long Beach, CA at Bogarts (RIP).

Milo Binder opened for him.

Good show-- great version of Hurdy Gurdy Man (i imagine it was the full length version).