Donovan's acoustic, pre-psychedelic work was shoddily packaged in the United States, spread out over several albums in a haphazard fashion. This 24-track double LP reissue covers most of his work from this period (basically, 1965), including the hits "Catch the Wind" and "Colours," as well as his cover of Buffy St. Marie's "Universal Soldier" and the memorable originals "Josie" and "Hey Gyp." This early phase is often unfairly dismissed as sub-Dylan musings by critics; Donovan was indeed the closest counterpart to Bob in the mid-'60s, but was distinctly more pop-oriented, and had a gentle, wistful songwriting voice all his own, even if it wasn't as complex as Dylan's. While this material lacks the punch of his best psychedelic work, it is of a consistently high standard, and lacks the occasional overly cosmic vision that has dated some of his later '60s recordings. While this reissue captures all the essential highlights of Donovan's pre-electric career, it's missing a few cuts and is packaged rather tackily; a comprehensive double-CD compilation of the thirty or so tracks he recorded for the British Pye label during this time would be welcome.
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