Please visit our sponsors!

Reviewed by - Matt Rowe

Released: September 04, 2003
Origination Year: 2003
0Time: 48:07
Tracks: 14
Produced by: Steve Hoffman
Style: Studio/Collection
Format: SACD
Enhancement: DSD
Label: Audio Fidelity

Donovan was quite the curiosity when he appeared back in the 60s. His love for poetic lyrics and Scottish lore coupled with his folkish approach, earned him multiple Top 40 hits. He eventually turned to a more rock approach with his eventual 70s work on Arista which is great if you can find it. His legacy didn't end there however. His daughter, Ione Skye, found her niche in movies rather than music. Regardless, the material of Donovan is timeless and firmly holds a place in the history of rock n roll.

Therefore, it is only fitting that his music be outfitted for SACD. Audio Fidelity's treatment of some of Donovan's music including several of his better known Top 40 hits is nothing short of perfection. Marshall Blonstein's efforts to raise the awareness of SACD by issuing fan favourites is admirable and greatly welcomed. That's why this release of Donovan's Storyteller is not only extraordinary, but necessary.

Storyteller is the compilation of 14 songs, some of them from the early Pye Recordings years and the bigger, more known hits from Epic Records. Stretching from the period of 1965 through the close of 1968, Storyteller becomes a history book for Donovan fans, one that creates a pure listening experience made possible by the wonders of DSD mastering, effectively manipulated by Steve Hoffman's able experience.

"Catch the Wind", a Dylan like folk tune, is surprisingly quiet with the emphasis on Donovan's vocals and guitar playing. The use of harmonica and its resonance is captured here in depth and satisfying clarity. The minstrel effect is wonderfully continued with "Colours" with Donovan's harmonica sounding as if you're playing it yourself.

The nuances of Donovan's voice is a memorable experience, recalling the joys of the Greenwich Village folk scene that spoke of the curse of war, the sadness of love, the pain of injustice. It also recalls the many minstrels of his time that made their mark as well. Great folk singers like Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie singing their views for us to listen to and enjoy.

The stunning 3D effects of the guitar strums in "Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness)" are incredible. "Turquoise" becomes more than a song here; it becomes an experience with its gorgeously designed ethereal effects made the sharper and more clear by DSD mastering.

The set continues from the distinctly mellow, gypsy-like periods to the more psychedelic bigger hits of "Sunshine Superman", "Mellow Yellow", "Hurdy Gurdy Man" long rumoured to be accompanied by pre-Zep members, and the folklorish "Atlantis".

What makes this set great is the feeling of slipping back into time to rest in the crook of the arm of Donovan's perfectly beautiful and hypnotic delivery of his folk songs and then to revel in his 'tuned in' collection of hits that many of us remember most. This 'All Original Hits" spectrum of Donovan becomes essential to collections. The fact that it's embellished with the audio perfection of DSD mastering is the feather in it's cap. This album is a Stereo Hybrid, which means that it contains a CD layer playable in almost every CD player available.

If you were a fan of the late years of Donovan, come in and check out his beginnings. If you're a fan altogether, you have to have this SACD jewel to truly enjoy the clarity of Donovan's lyrical and musical artistry. The sonic beauty that is revealed on this collection is proof of the extraordinary quality that is DSD.

We hope that Audio Fidelity continues to create not only audio perfection with their SACD output but also timeless collections like this.

Copyright © 2002-2003 Matthew Rowe. All rights reserved.
All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Disclaimer: various news pieces may state a specific media publication or program as a source. All other news is considered 'rumour' only. That goes double for release dates.

212 Frech

"Even though most of the people I knew in my youth are gone, I still reach out to them..."
Norman Maclean - Paraphrase

"...we should enjoy every sandwich." -- Warren Zevon, 2003

Track Listing

  1. Catch the Wind
  2. Colours
  3. Universal Soldier
  4. Josie
  5. Sunny Goodge Street
  6. Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness)
  7. Turquoise
  8. You're Gonna Need Somebody On your Bond
  9. To Try For The Sun
  10. To Sing For You
  11. Sunshine Superman
  12. Mellow Yellow
  13. Hurdy Gurdy Man
  14. Atlantis