“I plan to buy a copy of Donovan’s Catch the Wind but I see that he recorded three different versions of it. What are the differences?” Some of the Newton Falls Public Library staff fondly remembers the 1960s singer Donovan.
The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll states that Donovan (Leitch) first recorded Catch the Wind in 1965 as his debut single. “The song was almost entirely acoustic [p.276].” The Rock Who’s Who by Brock Helander lists the song as being recorded on albums by the same name by both Hickory and Garland Records in 1965. The song was recorded on the Greatest Hits album by Epic in 1969 and again by Sandstone in 1992 [p. 176]. Neither of these sources explained the differences in the versions. The only information The Encyclopedia of Popular Music gives about the song is to note that it was the song that launched Donovan’s career. The Encyclopedia . . . describes his “finest work, however, was as an ambassador of flower power” (vol. 2. P. 1590) and gave his first eleven albums three and four star ratings.
While the Newton Falls Public Library does not own a Donovan CD, patrons can enjoy seeing him perform on the library’s DVD, Bob Dylan Don't Look Back along with Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Alan Price. The song can be heard on Donovan's Greatest Hits by Donovan and on the Flicka: motion picture soundtrack, both which may be borrowed through the library’s shared TiPL [Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] catalog.
Looking online at Amazon.com in the Donovan section, we found the song on many of his albums. In Concert: The Complete 1967 Anaheim Show [Import] [Live] has Catch the Wind pt. 1. The Essential Donovan, Try for the Sun: The Journey. . ., and Mellow have the mono single version. Summer Day Reflection Songs has a version with strings but does not specify if it is the single version. The Best of Donovan: Sunshine Superman has the LP album version, and we would guess that it was this version on the first album. Summer Day Reflection Songs has the original single version with strings and the original album cut without them. The Rising Again version was recorded with Danny Thompson. At this site, our patron is able to listen to different clips of the song, in order to determine which he prefers.
Wikipedia.org, the Free Online Encyclopedia has an explanation of the differences but the site does not include references or citations for verification. The site states the first release was produced on a single and featured Donovan’s vocals with echo and a string section. The second release of the song was on his first album What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid. This version was recorded without the vocal echo and strings. Still yet another version of Catch the Wind was released by Epic Records on their album Donovan’s Greatest Hits. Wikipedia states that Epic Records “were either unable or unwilling to secure the rights to the original recordings of Catch the Wind and Colours . Donovan rerecorded both songs with a full backing band, and these were included on the greatest hits album with session musicians Big Jim Sullivan and John Paul Jones.”