Live Troubadour

by: Donovan

The Great American Music Company imprint, founded in 2007, has been releasing CDs packed with archival tapes by everyone from Lee Dorsey to Echo & the Bunnymen to Marianne Faithfull to Fairport Convention to Stiff Little Fingers. Who these are licensed from isn't exactly clear, but the quality is usually high and the performances quite solid. This release by Donovan, entitled simply Live Troubadour, is a solo acoustic set that covers his best-known tunes, from his earliest hits like "Catch the Wind" through to the middle-period smashes like "Wear Your Love Like Heaven," "Atlantis," "Sunshine Superman," "Cosmic Wheels," "There Is a Mountain," and others. The sound quality is excellent and sounds like a very good quality board tape, but it's the performance that matters most because it's simply stellar. Donovan is engaged, inspired, and in the mood to perform. His gentle twists and turns on the recorded versions of these songs make them necessary listening, and the stripped-down setting offers fans a real opportunity to hear just how well most of these songs have aged. The down side is that there is no information given on when or where this recording took place -- and Hank Bordowitz's tiny liner essay offers no hint either. That said, make your decision based on the musical quality of this and not the lack of data. ~ Thom Jurek

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