Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunshine Superman, The Journey of Donovan

I have been a fan of Donovan since the 1960s when I bought his acoustic albums of the Hickory label. There have always been comparisons made between him and Bob Dylan. Both of them made controversial transitions from folk to folk rock in the mid 1960s. Likewise they both abandoned political songs at the same time. In 1966s Donovan had hits with Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow on the Epic label. I am bringing up Donovan now since I bought the biographical DVD Sunshine Superman the Journey of Donovan. We watched the first hour and 45 minutes of it last night. Let me make some comparisons and contrasts.

There have been many videos documenting and commenting on the works of Dylan who rarely gives interviews. Thus, journalists and other musicians who knew him at various points of his career made the comments. The most notable is No Direction Home produced by Martin Scorsese. Donovan makes virtually all of the comments about life and music in the DVD that I just saw. He certainly didn’t say anything negative about himself. He even includes some clips from Don’t Look Back where Dylan really dissed him. The video should have included remarks from other musicians and journalists who could provide some valid criticism. Donovan includes footage of himself in different times. He uses a chronological approach that would not confuse a viewer not familiar with his life and music. His beautiful voice has not changed in over 40 years.

Dylan’s biopic I’m Not There has been evaluated in this journal. Remember 5 actors and one actress portrayed Dylan, but there is only one Donovan who tells his life story in a simple way.

Dylan wrote a partial autobiography, Chronicles Part I that is very vague and confusing to all but Dylanphiles. Donovan’s autobiography called The Hurdy Gurdy man is also straightforward and chronological.

To summarize, I like both of them for different reasons.

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