Thursday, 16 June 2016

"Breezes Of Patchouli: His Studio Recordings 1966-1969" by DONOVAN (April 2013 EMI 4CD Reissue - Peter Mew Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"…Sunshine Superman…" 

Fans will know that Donovan Leitch's Sixties catalogue is a labyrinth of different LPs pressed up by Pye in the UK and especially Epic in the USA - with a raft of non-album singles and rarities thrown into the complicated stew. His stay at both labels has been comprehensively covered by superlative EMI CD remasters in 2005 and 2009 - most bolstered up with copious amounts of bonus tracks. And that's where this 4CD Anthology comes in. It gathers up 5 of those albums (one a double) across the first 3 CDs and gives you a fourth 23-track disc which contains a smattering of the bonus material that came with those original 2005 CD reissues. Here are the Joss Sticks, Super Lungs, Magic Yellow Suns and Jennifer Junipers...

UK released April 2013 - "Breezes Of Patchouli: His Studio Recordings 1966-1969" by DONOVAN on EMI 928 6052 (Barcode 5099992860520) is a 4CD set in a double jewel-case and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (78:01 minutes):
1. Sunshine Superman
2. Legend Of A Girl Child Linda
3. Three Kingfishers
4. Ferris Wheel
5. Bert’s Blues
6. Season Of The Witch
7. The Trip
8. Guinevere
9. The Fat Angel
10. Celeste
Tracks 1 to 10 are his 3rd album "Sunshine Superman" - released 'only' in the USA September 1966 on Epic Records BN 26217 (Stereo)

11. Mellow Yellow
12. Writer In The Sun
13. Sand And Foam
14. The Observation
15. Bleak City Woman
16. House Of Jansch
17. Young Girl Blues
18. Museum
19. Hampstead Incident
20. Sunny South Kensington
Tracks 11 to 20 are his 4th album "Mellow Yellow" - released 'only' in the USA February 1967 on Epic Records BN 26239 (Stereo)

Disc 2 (77:29 minutes):
1. Hurdy Gurdy Man
2. Peregrine
3. The Entertaining Of A Shy Girl
4. As I Recall It
5. Get Thy Bearings
6. Hi It’s Been A Long Time
7. West Indian Lady
8. Jennifer Juniper
9. The River Song
10. Tangier
11. A Sunny Day
12. The Sun Is A Very Magic Fellow
13. Teas
Tracks 1 to 13 are his album "The Hurdy Gurdy Man" - released 'only' in the USA October 1968 on Epic Records BN 26420 (Stereo)

Track 14 is "Jennifer Juniper" (Italian Version)

15. Barabajagal
16. Superlungs My Supergirl
17. Where Is She
18. Happiness Runs
19. I Love My Shirt
20. The Love Song
21. To Susan On The West Coast Waiting
22. Atlantis
23. Trudi
24. Pamela Jo
Tracks 15 to 24 are the album "Barabajagal" -released 'only' in the USA September 1969 on Epic Records BN 26481 credited to DONOVAN with THE JEFF BECK GROUP

Track 25 is "A Poor Man's Sunshine (Nativity)" - a previously unreleased session outtake that first appeared on the May 2005 Expanded CD for "Barabajagal"

Disc 3 (62:05 minutes):
1. Wear Your Love Like Heaven
2. Mad John’s Escape
3. Skip-A-Long Sam
4. Sun
5. There Was A Time
6. Oh Gosh
7. Little Boy In Corduroy
8. Under The Greenwood Tree
9. The Land Of Doesn’t Have To Be
10. Someone Singing
11. Song Of The Naturalists Wife
12. The Enchanted Gypsy
13. Voyage Into The Golden Screen
14. Isle Of Islay
15. The Mandolin Man And His Secret
16. Lay Of The Last Tinker
17. The Tinker And The Crab
18. Widow With Shawl (A Portrait)
19. The Lullaby Of Spring
20. The Magpie
21. Starfish On-The-Toast
22. Epistle To Derroll
Tracks 1 to 22 are the album double-album "A Gift From A Flower To A Garden". This April 1968 2LP Box Set with Art Prints gathered together two American-Only LPs on Epic both issued in December 1967 in Mono and Stereo - "You're Your Love Like Heaven" (Side 1 and 2) and "For Little Ones" (Side 3 and 4). The "A Gift From A Flower To A Garden" Box set was issued in both the USA and UK in Mono and Stereo - this CD remaster uses the rare STEREO mix.

Disc 4 - Associated Recordings (75:41):
1. Breezes Of Patchuli
2. Museum (First Version)
3. Superlungs (First Version)
4. The Land Of Doesn’t Have To Be
5. Sunshine Superman (Original Longer Stereo Version)
Tracks 1 to 5 are 5 of the 7 bonus tracks that first appeared on the May 2005 CD remaster of "Sunshine Superman" (below are also May 2005 CD remasters)

6. Epistle To Dippy
7. Preachin’ Love
8. Good Time
9. There Is A Mountain
10. Superlungs (Second Version)
11. Epistle To Dippy (Alternate Arrangement)
Tracks 6 to 11 are 6 of 10 bonus tracks that first appeared on "Mellow Yellow"

12. Teen Angel
13. Poor Cow
14. Lalena
15. Aye My Love
16. What A Beautiful Creature You Are
17. Colours
18. Catch The Wind
Tracks 12 to 18 are all 7 of the bonus tracks that first appeared on "The Hurdy Gurdy Man"

19. The Stromberg Twins
20. Snakeskin
21. Lauretta’s Cousin Laurinda
22. The Swan (Lord Of Reedy River)
23. New Year’s Resolution (Donovan’s Celtic Jam)
Tracks 19 to 23 are 5 of the 12 bonus tracks that first appeared on "Barabajagal"

His first 2 LPs "What's Bin Did And What's Bin Hid" and "Fairytale" (both from 1965) are not covered by this set - they're available elsewhere (see my review fro "Fairytale"). The good news is that the 2005 and 2009 remasters carried out by PETER MEW at Abbey Road have been used for this release and the STEREO sound is glorious to say the least. Songs like "Sunshine Superman", "Goo Goo Barabajagal" and "Mellow Yellow" sound amazingly good. The audio clarity is wonderful. And when you veer away from the chart hits - it's the LP goodies like the unbelievable cool "Season Of The Witch" and "Sunny South Kensington" with their guitars and clavinets that impress so much. The 24-page booklet is also pleasingly comprehensive with period colour photos and superbly outlined liner-notes by noted writer and musicologist LORNE MURDOCH (even though those "Flower" art-prints are still AWOL due to contractual reasons).

The acoustic "House Of Jansch" and "River Song" are gorgeous as are the Sixties Dream anthems "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" and "To Susan On The West Coast Waiting". He can also get surprisingly Rock Funky with tracks like the previously unreleased "Snakeskin" and all Sitar groovy on "Fat Angel". Even the re-recorded 1968 versions of his classics "Colours" and "Catch The Wind" are lovely - they don't trump the originals -by any means but remind you of how beautiful they really were and what a tunesmith the man is.

"Fly Translove Airways...get you there on time..." DONOVAN sings on "Fat Angel" - I'd agree. Too often dismissed, as a sort of lesser Dylan from England - this superb-sounding 4CD retro is a fabulous reminder of his huge songwriting talent.  Buy it...

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