The '60s were a glorious time in music history, as the sociocultural events happening in the world had a profound impact on the sounds being created. The hippie movement stands as an essential signifier of the era, and Scottish folk singer Donovan is considered one of the figureheads. From the deceptively simple and somewhat naïve words of "Catch the Wind" in 1965 to the odd but catchy "Dark-Eyed Blue Jean Angel" in the mid-'70s, Donovan released a body of work that has become symbolic of the times, and has bred numerous covers and instantly recognizable melodies.
The youthful Donovan discovered a vast array of musical styles at an early age -- Buddy Holly, the Beatles, Woody Guthrie, Dylan, etc. -- and strove to blend the influences into his own sound. He did it right, and has become as influential as his peers. The artists who have covered his material are impressive, including the Allman Brothers, whose version of "There Is a Mountain" became the legendary and never-ending "Mountain Jam"; Al Kooper & Mike Bloomfield's "Season of the Witch"; and even Imani Coppola's sampling of "Sunshine Superman."
Try for the Sun: The Journey of Donovan, a three-CD (plus one DVD) set, captures most of the significant moments, and stands as a fascinating document of a time that allowed free expression and musical experimentation. It's a perfect gift for the perpetual hippie in the family.