Live: Donovan

The Swinging 60s star shows he can still enchant on this solo tour.

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Celebrating 50 years in the business, Donovan is aided only by his acoustic and harmonica. With 60s game-changers Catch The Wind and Colours, he set the tone for an enchanting evening.

Sitting cross-legged on a sheepskin rug, the boy from Maryhill, Glasgow can spin a yarn. He regales us with tales of post-war tenement life and a childhood spent absorbing poetry and folk songs. When summoning one of his turns from that time, he asks us to imagine him as a “fourteen-year-old lassie” before a haunting rendition of the traditional ballad The Trees They Do Grow High. Former Waterboy Anthony Thistlethwaite then adds moody sax on Lalena.

It wouldn’t be a Donovan gig without reference to his time as Beatle peer, joining them for a spot of transcendental meditation in India. It was there he wrote *Hurdy Gurdy Man *with George Harrison. The influential finger-picking which he taught the Fabs remains flawless on the likes of Jennifer Juniper.

Beyond the popular hits, his novelty tracks such as* Intergalactic Laxative* get the reserved Edinburgh crowd clapping along. The story goes that Alice Cooper was recording *Billion Dollar Babies *in the same studio, and he, of course, ended up joining Donovan on the cut.

During the encore he ditches the guitar for a karaoke Mellow Yellow. It’s bit like your uncle at a family knees up, albeit an old uncle you look upon with much joy.

The boy from Maryhill becomes your uncle at a knees-up.

The boy from Maryhill becomes your uncle at a knees-up. (Image credit: Lenny Warren)

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