Monday, 11 April 2016

"Fairytale" by DONOVAN (2002 Sanctuary 'Expanded Deluxe Edition' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...Songs For Sunshine People..."

Released in October 1965 – "Fairytale" was Donovan's 2nd album for Pye Records - and in 2016 is a very hard-to-find 60ts Folk-Rock classic on original vinyl. The British version was MONO-only on release while the Hickory Records US edition came in both MONO and STEREO with a slightly altered track configuration (drops the Bert Jansch song "Oh Deed I Do" and adds on a hit single – his cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier"). To confuse matters more – the UK budget label Marble Arch Records reissued the vinyl album as a 10-tracker in 1969 by dropping two key tracks – "Colours" and "The Little Tin Soldier". Luckily this superb Sanctuary Records 'Expanded Edition' CD Reissue/Remaster from 2002 will allow fans to sequence all three 'Mono' variants. Here are the breezy details...

UK released February 2002 (reissued April 2010) – "Fairytale" by DONOVAN on Castle Music/Sanctuary CMRCD 360 (Barcode 5050159136025) is an 'Expanded Deluxe Edition' CD Remaster and plays out as follows (53:52 minutes):

1. Colours
2. I'll Try For The Sun
3. Sunny Goodge Street
4. Oh Deed I Do
5. Circus Of Sour
6. The Summer Day Reflection Song
7. Candy Man
8. Jersey Thursday
9. Belated Forgiveness Plea
10. The Ballad Of A Crystal Man
11. The Little Tin Soldier
12. The Ballad Of Geraldine
Tracks 1 to 12 are his 2nd album "Fairytale" – released June 1965 in the UK on Pye Records NPL 18128 in Mono Only. All songs are Donovan originals except "Universal Soldier" by Buffy Sainte-Marie, "Oh Deed I Do" by Bert Jansch, "The Little Tin Soldier" by Shawn Phillips, "Candy Man" by Mississippi John Hurt and "Circus Of Sour" by Paul Bernath.

13. Universal Soldier
14. The Ballad Of A Crystal Man
15. The War Drags On
16. Do You Hear Me Now
17. Turquoise
18. Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)

To sequence the US 1965 Mono LP variant of "Fairytale" (Hickory LPM-127) use the following tracks:
Side One: 13, 2, 3, 1, 5 and 6
Side Two: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12

To sequence the UK 1969 Mono 10-track version of "Fairytale" (Marble Arch MAL 867) use the following tracks:
Side One: 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
Side Two: 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12

The very cool card slipcase repro’s the original 1965 UK album sleeve with DONOVAN bowing his head on the rear photo surrounded by Folk-groovy types. The LP's liner notes on the simulated flip-back cover declared that the contents within were "Songs For Sunshine People" – and in this particular case - the hype was right. STEPHEN HAMMONDS and ANTHONY AMOS co-ordinated the project for Sanctuary, LORNE MURDOCH does the in-depth liner notes (he handled the first 1991 CD reissue) and long-time and much-respected Audio Engineer ANDY PEARCE did the Remaster at Masterpiece Studios in London. The audio is great – very clear and clean and full of presence and not too hissy in that way some Sixties recordings can be.

The album's opener "Colours" is a balls-to-the-wall 60's classic - it truly is. "Fairytale" features a lot of tracks like that - just Donovan and his acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica  - more Folk than Pop really. In fact when you hear almost any track on this very hard-to-find LP - it's easy to see why Donovan was often referred to as Britain's Bob Dylan. And it wasn't just because of the similar vocal styles - they were both such good songwriters and commentators on their times. There are great lyrics in here as well as tunes.

Highlights include "The Ballad Of A Crystal Man" which is represented on this disc twice - the full album version (track 10) and the edited EP version (track 14) - it's a fantastically strong and emotive anti-Vietnam piece equal to anything his Bobness put out on the other side of the pond. Lyrically the other songs are equally clever and even witty too. There's a "...violent hash smoker..." in "Sunny Goodge Street" - while a quietly sinister "Jersey Thursday" gives us sly white powder references like "...on a tiny piece of coloured glass, my love was born...and reds, and golds and yellows were the colours of the dawn..." A very Nick Drake vibe oozes out off "Sunny Goodge Street" with its cello and brass and complimentary flute (flute by Harold McNair). "Oh Deed I Do" is a Bert Jansch original exclusive to the album (never appeared on one of his own albums to my knowledge) and it's easy to hear why Donovan loved it – a gorgeous acoustic strum that would make John Renbourn envious. Shawn Phillips provides 12-string guitar on the lovely "Jersey Thursday" and wrote "The Little Tin Soldier" which Pye put on the flipside of "Josie" – his fourth British 45 on Pye 7N 17067 in February 1966.

The 6 Bonus Tracks are clever inclusions that make the purchase so worthwhile for fans. "Turquoise" and "Hey GYP (Dig The Slowness)" are the A&B-sides of his 3rd UK 7" single on Pye Records 7N 15984 released November 1965 - both tracks being non-album at the time of release. It’s arguable that “Turquoise” and its Folk-Funky flipside are equal to and better than some of the album tracks. The other four songs - "Universal Soldier", "Do You Hear Me Now", "Ballad Of A Crystal Man" and "The War Drags On" are again non-album and make up the 4-tracks of the rare UK-only "Universal Soldier EP" on Pye NEP 24219 from September 1965. Hickory Records in the USA released "Universal Soldier" as a 7" single with the Bert Jansch cover "Do You Hear Me Now" on the flipside (Hickory 1338 in September 1965).

So - a good 60ts Folk-Rock album bolstered up with relevant bonuses, liner notes worth reading and quality mastering. After this you will need to buy the "Breezes Of Patchouli..." 3CD set from April 2013 on EMI with stunning Peter Mew Remasters. It offers his studio output between the halcyon period of 1966 to 1969 and much more (see separate review).

For the uninitiated and brave - "Fairytale" is a great way of discovering the wildly underrated Donovan and his great songs - especially those who want to veer away from his better-known hits. Sanctuary also reissued his 1965 debut album "What's Bin Did And What's Bin Hid" with the same packaging, mastering and equally cool added bonus-tracks too.

There's just something wonderful about this album as a stand-alone - and for that matter its straight up and simple predecessor is the same. Highly recommended...the both of them...

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