Gazing with tranquillity This two-disc set is as loving – and honest – a portrayal of the Scottish-born beatnik troubadour as you’re likely to get. Put together by Hannes Rossacher, there’s a huge amount of archive material to illustrate Donovan himself, as he reminisces over what is now a 40-year career.
Mr Phillips Leitch is in good humour throughout, as he explains how he went from his travelling, Beatnik early days with soulmate Gypsy Dave to the present day of honorary degrees and meditating with David Lynch. The 60s are portrayed vibrantly, and the folk, protest, jazz and countryrock of his wonderful back catalogue intersperse the interviews, as Donovan returns to his old haunts, from St Ives to San Fransisco.
All in all, Donovan exudes a relaxed acceptance of his own life, and the overriding sense is that of an artist at peace, though still troubled by some of the world outside. The bonus disc features a treasure trove of extras, from concert and promo videos to extended versions of some of the interviews, private photographs and even some unreleased tracks. With a 40- page booklet and extensive sleevenotes also included, this is a release of quality and not a little benevolent magic.