Being a ‘flower child’ of the 60’s I could not resist reviewing this one. America was facing the Vietnam crisis and had Bob Dylan, revered by some, reviled by others. Europe, while not facing the same issues as America, faced situations that were disturbing in their own right. There was one folk singer that captured the very essence of the time, and that was Donovan Philips Leitch, better known just as Donovan. Move over Prince, Donovan grabbed the single name monika idea years before you were even born!

I was surprised and excited to discover that Donovan was still recording and there is a new DVD just about to be released. He performed a concert at the fabled Kodak Theater in Los Angeles in January of 2007, and that DVD is just about to be released.

It was with great delight that I popped this into my DVD player. Yes he is a little older than he was in the 60’s, but aren’t we all? He still has all his own hair, and maybe he can’t quite hit the notes with his voice that he once could, it certainly is still Donovan.

All of the great songs are on this DVD. Universal Soldier is a timeless song, all of the hopes and fears of being a soldier in any battle are so eloquently captured, the opening lines are “He is 5 foot 2 and he is 6 feet 4, he fights with missiles and with spears, He is all of thirty one, and he is only seventeen”. How right this description is. We send our young men off to evil places, they are not old enough to buy a beer, but they are old enough to die for us. Here is a piece of trivia for you, Universal Soldier maybe a Donovan trademark, but it was actually written by Canadian singer songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie.

He may be 62 years old, but he can still act like a teenager, playing several songs sat cross  legged on the stage. He has 10 years on me, I could get down there, but it would be hell getting back up, Donovan makes it look easy!

He also manages a duet with his daughter Astrella Celeste. She certainly has considerable skills, but I feel that the song chosen was slightly out of her vocal reach. But I could be in the minority, and I frequently am!

We have Catch The Wind, Colours, Jenifer Juniper, Mellow Yellow, and everything in between! This is must have Donovan! I was transported back in time, this is classic stuff.

You can order you own copy (because I am not lending mine out) from MVD.

Simon Barrett

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