This single-CD compilation -- issued in 1998 from the Australian-based Raven Records -- gathers 23 tracks from Scottish pop folky Donovan. While this was not the first, it may well -- as its title implies -- be the most essential for both collectors and casual fans alike. With a total running time that clocks in at over 78 minutes, the track list has room to include both hits as well as deeper album tracks and rarities from both Donovan's earliest recordings for Pye (1965-1966) as well as his later work on Epic (1967-1973). A vast majority of the rare tracks -- such as the arguably inferior version of "Superlungs" -- were first issued on Sony/Legacy's two-CD Troubadour: The Definitive Collection 1964-1976. However, this set includes a few additional tracks -- such as his seminal cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Solider," as well as "Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness)" and "Josie" from his brief yet heady stint on Pye. Although the average consumer might not know the difference, Love Is Hot, Truth Is Molten bests other CD compilations by offering several of Donovan's best-known recordings in true stereo -- rather than simply rechannelled mono -- for the first time on CD. Most notable among these are: "Season of the Witch," "Sunshine Superman" (in its extended 45 rpm edit), "There Is a Mountain," "Wear Your Love Like Heaven," "Hurdy Gurdy Man," "Lalena," and "Atlantis." To top it all off, the disc utilizes Sony's Super Bit Mastering (SBM) for high-end audiophiles possessing machinery that can decode the SBM signal. The packaging is also worthy of mention as it contains a 24-page liner notes booklet replete with rarely published photos and excerpts from a Goldmine magazine article from 1992. Those looking for the quintessential starting point/career retrospective from Donovan need look no further.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer
feat: Jeff Beck Group