When bad songs happen to good people. The Scottish-born singer/songwriter Donovan has a slew of remarkable songs, inspired everyone from Jeff Beck to World Party (he even taught John Lennon how to finger pick on the guitar), and easily moved from folk, to pop, to jazz to psychedelic. But to many people, he is simply that guy who sang “Mello Yellow,” that acid-drenched, tie dyed novelty song that sounds exactly like that terrible soft drink of the same name (different spelling) tastes.
To those who have yet to discover the true brilliance of this single name musical legend, this two-disc best of just became required listening. The 36-tracks covers his career from the Dylan-esque “Catch the Wind,” in 1965, through his hippie faze just a few years later (yes “Mellow Yellow” and the more palatable “Sunshine Superman”) up to 1973’s beautifully calm “I Like You,” covering his time on Epic and Hickory records – his most prolific period.
This collection comes shortly after Donovan’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in mid-April. What better time than now to catch up on one of the most underrated folk musicians to come out of the late 60’s. If for no other reason than to realize he did much more than write a goofy hippie novelty anthem about smoking banana peels. On a somewhat unrelated note to Donovan: you’re not helping your image by stuffing the CD with an ad for the “Mellow Yellow Yoga Map”. But I guess even hippes gotta get paid.
Donovan – The Essential Donovan/2 CDs/36 tracks/Epic and Legacy/2012