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Sunshine Came Softly: Donovan’s 1966-1969 Studio Albums Collected In New Box Set

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Donovan - BreezesWhen I look out my window, many sights to see….and  when I look in my window, so many different people to be, that it’s strange…so strange…

It’s once again the season of Donovan, in all his strange and beautiful colors.  EMI U.K. has recently released a budget-priced compendium that should make for a solid primer on the Scottish troubadour.  Breezes of Patchouli: His Studio Recordings 1966-1969 is a four-CD set bringing together Donovan’s five Mickie Most-produced albums of that period plus (most of) the bonus tracks originally included on EMI’s last round of remasters and one previously unreleased track.

Breezes of Patchouli includes the original albums Sunshine Superman, Mellow Yellow, The Hurdy Gurdy Man, Barabajagal and A Gift from a Flower to a Garden as presented on EMI’s 2005 reissues (2009 for A Gift) with the remastering from those editions intact.  As Donovan’s catalogue has had a checkered history, this box is one-stop shopping for its core, early titles.

We explore these titles and have more details on the box set – and its “missing” tracks – after the jump!

The success of Donovan’s earliest folk-leaning LPs, Catch the Wind, Fairytale and the American hodgepodge The Real Donovan, were mere prelude to the lysergic sounds of Sunshine Superman, the album and the single. And despite Donovan’s European origins, American audiences were actually ahead of the curve in savoring its far-out delights. It was late in 1965 when Donovan split with his original management team and signed with Ashley Kozak of Brian Epstein’s NEMS Enterprises. Kozak introduced the singer to the notorious American impresario Allen Klein, who recommended Mickie Most as a producer. In December of that year, Billboard reported that a deal between Donovan, Klein and Most was in the offing, as was an American signing to Epic Records. But Donovan was apparently still signed to Pye in the U.K. (home to Petula Clark, The Kinks and others) and Pye’s American licensee wasn’t Epic, but Warner Bros. Records!

The ensuing legal dispute was a lengthy one, and as a result, Donovan’s American and British releases differed significantly. Sunshine Superman saw its first issue on the Epic label in America in September 1966, and the U.K. release didn’t arrive until June 1967, by which time Donovan had already released its follow-up, Mellow Yellow, on Epic in March. (The British edition drew on both albums’ material.  As both Sunshine and Mellow Yellow are included in the new box, Sunshine adheres to the American album track list.) To make the most of the available material, this Sunshine Superman was an entirely different album created for the U.K. market, drawing on both the original LP and Mellow Yellow. Donovan’s contractual problems also prevented Mellow Yellow, The Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968) and Barabajagal (1969) from receiving U.K. issue.

With Sunshine Superman, Donovan embarked on a dazzlingly creative journey, introducing quintessential songs like “Season of the Witch,” “The Trip” and “Legend of a Girl Child Linda.” Mellow Yellow added another hit title song (No. 2!) as well as “Sunny South Kensington” to the list of perennials, while the ambitious double-LP A Gift from a Flower to a Garden introduced the sunny “Wear Your Love Like Heaven.” The Hurdy Gurdy Man took on a more ominous note with its eponymous track, though the album also included the bright “Jennifer Juniper.” By the decade’s end, Donovan was riding high, collaborating with the Jeff Beck Group (Beck, Ron Wood, Nicky Hopkins and Mickey Waller) on the Barabajagal LP.

Breezes of Patchouli presents Sunshine and Mellow on its first disc, Hurdy Gurdy Man and Barabajagal on its second, and A Gift from a Flower to a Garden on its third.  The fourth disc brings together all of the studio outtakes and alternates included on EMI’s last reissues of the five albums.  A couple of bonus tracks are placed with the albums, however: “A Poor Man’s Sunshine (Nativity)” with Barabajagal, and “Jennifer Juniper (Italian Version)” with The Hurdy Gurdy Man, both on Disc 2.  This Italian “Jennifer Juniper” is indicated as previously unreleased commercially and did not appear on the 2005 reissue.

Unfortunately, the demo recordings also included on those CDs have been dropped.  The following demos are missing from the box set:

  • Sunshine Superman – “Good Trip,” “House of Jansch”
  • Mellow Yellow – “Sidewalk (The Observation),” “Writer in the Sun,” “Hampstead Incident” and “Museum”
  • Barabajagal – “Runaway,” “Sweet Beverley,” “Marjorie (Margarine),” “Little White Flower,” “Good Morning, Mr. Wind,” “Palais Girl” and “Lord of the Universe”

[A Gift from a Flower to a Garden had no bonus tracks on its 2005 reissue, and all of the tracks from The Hurdy Gurdy Man are present here.]

A 24-page full-color booklet recounts Donovan’s history through the present day, via a lengthy essay by Lorne Murdoch.  For those who don’t already own these seminal pop-folk-psych classics, Breezes of Patchouli is an affordable way to pick them up despite the missing demo recordings.  You can order the box set, which is available now, at the links below!

Donovan, Breezes of Patchouli: His Studio Recordings 1966-1969 (EMI 50999 928605 2 0, 2013)

CD 1: Sunshine Superman / Mellow Yellow

  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
  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

CD 2: The Hurdy Gurdy Man / Barabajagal

  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
  14. Jennifer Juniper (Italian Version) (Bonus Track, previously unreleased)
  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
  25. A Poor Man’s Sunshine (Nativity) (Bonus Track)

CD 3: A Gift from a Flower to a Garden

  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 Naturalist’s 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

CD 4: Associated Recordings

  1. Breezes of Patchouli
  2. Museum (First Version)
  3. Superlungs (First Version)
  4. The Land of Doesn’t Have to Be
  5. Sunshine Superman (Stereo Long Version)
  6. Epistle to Dippy
  7. Preachin’ Love
  8. Good Time
  9. There is a Mountain
  10. Superlungs (Second Version)
  11. Epistle to Dippy (Alternative Arrangement)
  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
  19. The Stromberg Twins
  20. Snakeskin
  21. Lauretta’s Cousin Laurinda
  22. The Swan (Lord of the Reedy River)
  23. New Year’s Resolution (Donovan’s Celtic Jam)

CD 1, Tracks 1-10 from Sunshine Superman, Epic LP LN 24217, 1966
CD 1, Tracks 11-20 from Mellow Yellow, Epic LP LN 24239, 1967
CD 2, Tracks 1-13 from The Hurdy Gurdy Man, Epic LP BN 26420, 1968
CD 2, Track 14 previously unreleased
CD 2, Tracks 15-24 from Barabajagal, Epic LP BN 26481, 1969
CD 2, Track 25 originally included on Barabajagal, EMI CD, 2005
CD 3, Tracks 1-22 from A Gift from a Flower to a Garden, Epic B2N 171, 1967
CD 4, all tracks included on EMI reissues of above albums, 2005-2009

Written by Joe Marchese

April 26, 2013 at 09:48

Posted in Box Sets, Donovan, News, Reissues

9 Responses

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  1. Anyone know if the version of “Catch the Wind” is the folky original or the long, slow one from “Greatest Hits”?

    Randy Anthony

    April 26, 2013 at 15:40

    • It’s the remake from the Greatest Hits LP. That’s the version that is owned by Epic, while the folky one is owned by Pye (or whoever owns them these days!). Anyway, that is the version that falls under the 1966-1969 date of this collection. The folky version came out in ’65.

      Jason Michael

      April 26, 2013 at 22:43

  2. Does anyone know if the version of “Colours” on disc four is the version with the full backing band found on his out of print Greatest Hits disc (and in the movie Rules of Attraction)?

    Jason Azzopardi

    April 26, 2013 at 23:45

    • Both “Colours” and (as stated above) “Catch The Wind” are the re-recordings that were first issued on the ‘Greatest Hits’ album.


      April 27, 2013 at 06:43

  3. This sounds great. Sure would like to see his HMS Donovan rereleased sometime. Maybe a special vinyl rerelease with red vinyl, like the original, and that glorious cover art by John “Patrick” Bryne.

    Sean Anglum

    April 29, 2013 at 11:51

    • It was reissued on CD awhile back


      April 30, 2013 at 16:20

  4. Sorry for the typo, it’s John Patrick Burns. You know him from his Gerry Rafferty and Dreamer’s Wheel cover art. Beatles Ballads, as well.

    Sean Anglum

    April 29, 2013 at 12:09

    • Damn auto correct! Last name is Byrne.

      Sean Anglum

      April 29, 2013 at 12:11

  5. Other than this collection, is there another with albums made after 1969?


    September 19, 2013 at 08:45

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