Friday, October 09, 2009


Yesterday I read an article on Donovan being given the title of "icon" at an awards ceremony by the US performing rights organisation Broadcast Music, Inc. I am not sure what the 'award' means, but I figured it is a good an excuse as any to post on an artist that I have a continuing appreciation and love for.

For the longest time I just didn't get Donovan. I guess for the most part I just dismissed him as a Dylan wannabe, my enduring image of the artist being the brief appearance in the D.A. Pennebaker film 'Don't Look Back', especially in the scene where Dylan wipes the floor with him in a hotel song swapping session.

I can't pinpoint when all that changed, but I am thankful it did.

There are so many ideas, innovations and fantastic songs in the Donovan cannon. The Dylan likeness of early recordings can be excused by the reality that they had both been influenced by the same sources (Ramblin' Jack, Jesse Fuller, Woody Guthrie, etc), but even without that there is immense quality and craft in his early folk compositions. From late '65 Donovan started incorporation a variety of other influences in his music (Jazz, psychedelic pop, Easter & Blues), and in collaboration with the producer Mickie Most produced a series of weird, wonderful and critically underrated albums including Mellow Yellow, Sunshine Superman, Barabajagal & The Hurdy Gurdy Man.

Donovan split with the producer in 1969 and his post Most albums are on the whole hit and miss affairs, but not without highlight. Not always the best route to take, but I think for the uninitiated a good entry point in discovering Donovan is with a best of, to work out which period takes your fancy most and go from there.

MP3: Donovan - To Sing For You
MP3: Donovan - Wear Your Love Like Heaven

Donovan on Myspace
Support The Artist. Buy.Buy.Buy.

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