Donovan A Gift From A Flower To A Garden Review

Released 2009.  

BBC Review

One can't help but be touched by many of these amiable, sparsely furnished folk tunes.

Sid Smith 2009

In 1968, the UK's house hippie was getting into mind-expanding form. Originally released as two separate albums, the electric-leaning Wear Your Love Like Heaven and the acoustic-only For Little Ones were eventually combined into what must surely be one of the first box sets in pop music.

Complete with poetry and prints, couched in the flowery prose of the day, this seminal offering urged young people everywhere to give up drugs as a way of exploring consciousness and look instead towards spirituality.

Transcendental meditation was where it was at, and if there was any doubt what he was going on about, then the picture of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the back cover provided a clue.

So far, so groovy. However, one of the greatest problems listening to this musically fertile period is the singer's irksome tendency to intone certain couplets with a cod-Indian accent, as though underscoring the esoteric significance contained therein.

Putting such arch-mannerisms aside, the languid pop bliss found on the Mickie Most produced single, Wear Your Love Like Heaven, and whimsical Oh Gosh has the kind of vibe that Belle And Sebastian have spent an entire career trying to recreate.

Strip out the off-the-peg Eastern philosophy and you're left with lightweight pop replete with bags of period charm.

Interestingly though, it's For Little Ones that has lasted the better of the two. Island Of Islay (reputedly the Yogi’s favourite track) shows Donovan at his most disarming, and one can't help but be touched by many of these amiable, sparsely furnished folk tunes.

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