Catch Donovan while you can

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Ah, to catch a quick phone interview with musical maestro Donovan, I may as well try and catch the wind ... shamelessly referencing his Ivor Novello Award winning launch hit, released when he was a tender 18 years old.

His mobi was permanently engaged or unavailable during flights in and out of his now-native Cork. Contact was finally made when the wandering minstrel of half a century’s standing was Morocco bound.

The wait was well worth it. And some. The veteran singer songwriter found time to regale tales while travelling to a Riff Mountains festival alongside grandson of late great Brian Jones, who recorded The Pipes of Pan there with The Master Musicians of Jajouka.

That was in the Sixties, by which time Donovan was already making a name for himself as an iconic finger-pickin’ singer songwriter and poet par excellence.

His is an enduring quality, spanning 50 years during which his philosophical contributions touched not only generations of music lovers but follow-up acts as diverse as Led Zeppelin and Belle and Sebastian as well as arguably the industry’s most auspicious artists, .

To that end August 28 sees him star in LIverpool’s International Beatleweek special ShramRock show, performing not only his own impressive back catalogue but Fab Four Transcendental Meditation attuned tunes he influenced.

No lesser an authority than George Harrison confirmed “Donovan is all over The White Album”.

The renaissance man is himself enjoying something of a rejuvenation. He was, he accepts, “lazy”. Now, he enthuses, he is “inspired” again.

Two-disc retrospective anthology showcases such smashes as Mellow Yellow, The Hurdy Gurdy Man, Jenifer Juniper and flower power infused Sunshine Superman, also title of his genre-defining album.

Arguably the seminal psychedelic LP, it marked first of many firsts for a performer who was subject of initial Rolling Stone Interview, debut solo artist to sell out Madison Square Garden and author of the phrase Celtic Rock.

Recent Mojo Maverick Award follows inductions of the inspirational institution into prestigious Rock & Roll Hall and Songwriters Halls of Fame.

Folk rock troubadour and psychedelia flag-bearer in equal measure, he is a relevant today as ever as he embarks on his first UK tour in a decade.

As the man himself says: “I am delighted to be celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of my work. It has always been my wish to offer as many as possible an alternative. See you in a concert soon.”

So, never mind the wind, try to catch Donovan when he comes to a gig near you soon.

Donovan plays Leeds Town Hall October 10 Leeds Town Hall

‘Donovan Retrospective’ album is out now.