Donovan

The Definitive Collection [Sony]

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Donovan was always an affected performer and songwriter, relying too often at times on stances and mannerisms he probably really didn't need, and he never really let go of the cosmic flower-power phase that washed over the 1960s. But underneath the silliness, Donovan had a flair for melody and arrangement, and no one could accuse him of creatively selling out since whatever hits he had back in the day were odd, left-field maverick things like "Sunshine Superman," "Mellow Yellow, "Atlantis," and "Hurdy Gurdy Man." Unfortunately, Donovan's particularly ornate genius didn't quite shine outside of the '60s, and while he kept recording, his output past 1969 isn't particularly interesting and borders on bad parody. This set is hardly definitive, although it does have the quirky gems "Sunshine Superman," "Hurdy Gurdy Man," "Barabajagal," and the irresistible "Riki Tiki Tavi," but it also has a lot of tracks, particularly later in the chronology, that would be forgettable if they weren't so ridiculously silly. Call Donovan a guilty pleasure. At his best, he was more than that, but at his worst, well, that's where the word guilty comes in.

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