DONOVAN: interview. The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Nick Dureden writes: There is a lot of fun to be had in listening to Donovan's latest greatest hits offering, Donovan: Retrospective, released to mark his 50th anniversary in music. Though essentially a facsimile of his many and varied hits collections over the years, his songs remain sublimely evocative of the era from which they sprang. "Epistle to Dippy", for example, could only ever be the product of a man who smoked cannabis in order to throw open the doors of perception, and "The Hurdy Gurdy Man" offers the very headiest of hippy pastiches. But "Season of the Witch" is sinuous and sinister, still a fantastic song, while 1965's "Catch the Wind" – a track that, for many, rendered the then 18-year-old Donovan a mere Bob Dylan copyist – is as purely charming today as it was then.

The man himself exudes a similar charisma, although Donovan in the flesh is more complicated, and convoluted, than such hippy frippery could ever suggest. It is midsummer in London, and pouring with rain. I watch him arrive by

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