al stewart

D o n o v a n

beach full of shells
Beat Cafe


“The Sunshine Superman returns – in classic form. Of all the Sixties’ folk-rock troubadours, Donovan was the hippiest . . . He was the Nick Drake who didn’t die but became a star instead, and he still makes a comeback album every decade or so. On Beat Café, Donovan shows he’s got the old touch, with titles such as ‘Yin My Yang’ and . . . acoustic musings from his own private world: ‘The lights are low/The music is cool/And the chicks are slow.’ Ah, some things never change. (3 stars)"
Rolling Stone
“Donovan’s first album in eight years also updates his ethereal folk pop with jumpy bits of jazz. The original flower child anchors Beat Café on the trampoline-like bass lines of Danny Thompson. And they pair well with the boho rhythms behind Donovan’s beat poetry. Inspired by couplet kings Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, the 56-year-old Donovan fashioned lyrics here as odes to open roads, groovy vibes and savored ironies . . . Donovan’s whispered vocals retain their free spirit. And by using Thompson’s bass, he found a way to make his fanciful language and airy concepts swing.” 
New York Daily News
“. . . An utterly intriguing turn here on his first album in eight years. Backed by a deft band of ace session musicians, Donovan serves up a spacey, electronica-laden tribute to one of his most enduring influences: the Beat poets (Ginsberg, Burroughs, et. al.). [Some tracks] resonate with the eerie power of spacey elevator music from U2’s loopy Zooropa phase while briefly showcasing Donovan in all the whispery, flower-draped splendor of his salad days.” 
– Bob Allen, Editorial Review
Beat Café fulfills perfectly the expectations aroused by its title: most of these 12 tracks are cool bohemian ruminations sketched in languidly oozing double bass and sublte percussive tints by the dream rhythm section of Danny Thompson and Jim Keltner, the latter also adding the gentle clunk of vibes, with producer John Chelew’s keyboards fleshing out the space around Donovan’s acoustic guitar and trademark vibrato susurrus. He title track is typical of the album’s mood, a lovely evocation of smoky, pre-Starbucks coffee-shop ambiance . . . It’s the musical equivalent of a black turtleneck, shades, and a Sartre paperback in the hip pocket.”
The Independent, UK
“The album has a giddy, jazzy edge both quite exhilarating and entirely appropriate. . . The songs are a lot of fun. . . . Beat Café is quite an ambitious album thematically. . . It’s an album only Donovan could have made with his voice as such a vibrant hallmark . . . Go, Don, go.”
– Sing Out!
“. . . A warm evocation of the bohemian world of bebop, poetry, berets and coffee houses . . . Beat Café takes up where ’60s classics such as ‘Sunny Goodge Street” left off. . . The opener, ‘Love Floats,’ borrows and slows down the tune of his ’68 hit ‘Barabajagal,’ ‘Lord of the Universe’ is a delightful tongue-in-cheek blues and ‘Do Not Go Gentle’ is a Mingus-mellow-fantastic setting of Dylan Thomas’ poem. The remaining tracks are equally inventive. It’s great to have him back.” 
Uncut, UK
“In what might be the comeback of the year, Donovan returns with his best album in decades. . . [He] takes a stripped-down, neo-beatnik approach, which yields terrific results. From the album’s opener, ‘Love Floats,” which takes a ‘Barabajagal’ style with an improvised riff that he places in a nearly hip-hop environment, to the bohemian rendering of Dylan Thomas’ ‘Do Not Go Gently into That Good Night,’ Donovan demonstrates newfound energy and direction.”
Dirty Linen
“. . . An album that radiates hipster cool. The eternal flower child, Donovan seems permanently tuned in to a blissful meditative mode. In the mellow, dreamy ‘Yin My Yang’ he promises, ‘there’ll be music in the air, flowers in your hair, life without a care’; in the hypnotic whisper-soft ‘Lover O Lover’ he comes across as a poet out of an earlier, more romantic age (‘administer love to me before thy temple of inner sanctuary’). . . . As always, Donovan seems to be inhabiting his own world, which on Beat Café is quite an inviting place to be.”