Donovan: Summer Day Reflection Songs

April 25, 2000 – Donovan: Summer Day Reflection Songs is released.
# allmusic 4.5/5

Summer Day Reflection Songs is a compilation album from Donovan, released on this date in April, 2000.

This is a compilation of songs by British folk/pop artist Donovan Leitch, whose most fertile period was in the 1960s and ’70s.

Donovan’s early recordings–those originally released on Pye (Hickory in the US) in 1965–have been recycled mercilessly over the years. Remarkably, this is the first time that all released versions of those tracks have appeared on one package. Summer Day Reflection Songs offers the definitive collection, gathering together Donovan’s first two albums, three singles and sundry EP tracks. “Catch The Wind” (single version with strings/album version without), “Colours” (single version with harmonica/album version without) and “Ballad Of A Crystal Man” (original EP version/album version with extra verse) are joined by the rarely reissued “Every Man Has His Chain.” First surfacing on a French EP, this song seems to be an abandoned set of lyrics over the guitar rhythm that eventually backed “Catch The Wind.”

Donovan’s music progressed in leaps and bounds within the space of a year, from fledgling folksinger to the psych-pop pioneer who cut “Sunshine Superman” with Mickie Most. Many of the highlights in this progression occur on the second album, “Fairytale,” especially “Summer Day Reflection Song,” “Jersey Thursday,” and the sublime “Sunny Goodge Street,” which hinted at the sophisticated arrangements John Cameron would conjure up for Donovan over the next couple of years.

by Richie Unterberger, allmusic
In 1965, before Donovan’s U.S. contract was transferred to Epic, he made 30-plus recordings for Pye in the U.K., all in an acoustic folk mold (with occasional additional instruments and percussion). It would not seem to be such a heroic feat to gather all of that material in one place, but prior to this double-CD compilation, that had never occurred. This is the anthology to rectify that gap permanently. The two CDs contain all 34 known songs from this era, including a few rarities: the original single versions of “Catch the Wind” and “Colours,” an alternate take of “The Ballad of a Crystal Man,” and “Every Man Has His Chain,” which during the ’60s only showed up on a French EP. These rarities aren’t so amazing that you necessarily need to shell out if you already have most of the cuts, but for historical completism’s sake their presence is most satisfying. The historical liner notes, covering the pre-“Sunshine Superman” period almost exclusively, are thorough and excellent. And the music is fine, quite consistent folk or pre-folk-rock that should permanently put an end to all the unwarranted dismissals of his early work as twee Dylan imitation. Donovan was his own man, even at this young age, and hard to beat as far as tuneful yet meaningful mid-’60s folk went.

All tracks by Donovan Leitch, except where noted.
Disc one
“Catch the Wind” – 2:21
“Why Do You Treat Me Like You Do” – 2:57
“Josie” – 3:29
“Catch the Wind” – 2:57
“Remember the Alamo” (Jane Bowers) – 3:06
“Cuttin’ Out” – 2:21
“Car Car” (Woody Guthrie) – 1:33
“Keep On Truckin'” (traditional; arranged by Donovan Leitch) – 1:52
“Goldwatch Blues” (Mick Softley) – 2:34
“To Sing for You” – 2:46
“You’re Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond” (traditional; arranged by Donovan Leitch) – 4:05
“Tangerine Puppet” – 1:53
“Donna Donna” (Aaron Zeitlin, Sholom Secunda, Arthur S Kevess, Teddi Schwartz) – 2:58
“Ramblin’ Boy” – 2:36
“Every Man Has His Chain” – 2:14
“Colours” – 2:44

Disc two
“Universal Soldier” (Buffy Sainte-Marie) – 2:16
“The Ballad of a Crystal Man” – 3:19
“The War Drags On” (Mick Softley) – 3:44
“Do You Hear Me Now” (Bert Jansch) – 1:51
“Colours” – 2:47
“To Try for the Sun” – 3:41
“Sunny Goodge Street” – 2:58
“Oh Deed I Do” (Bert Jansch) – 2:10
“Circus of Sour” (Paul Bernath) – 1:54
“Summer Day Reflection Song” – 2:10
“Candy Man” (traditional; arranged by Donovan Leitch) – 3:30
“Jersey Thursday” – 2:17
“Belated Forgiveness Plea” – 2:59
“The Ballad of a Crystal Man” – 3:54
“The Little Tin Soldier” (Shawn Phillips) – 3:03
“Ballad of Geraldine” – 4:43
“Turquoise” – 3:32
“Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness)” – 3:09


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