Sutras (album)

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Studio album by Donovan
Released 14 October 1996
Recorded 1995–96
Genre Folk
Length 50:51
Label American Recordings
Producer Rick Rubin
Donovan chronology
One Night in Time
(Japan 1993, tape)
Rising Again (Live)

Sutras is the nineteenth studio album (22nd overall) by Scottish singer/songwriter Donovan. It was released in the UK (American Recordings 74321 39743 2) and the US (American Recordings 43705) on 14 October 1996. The US version does not contain the final track, "The Garden".


By the mid-1990s, the CD reissues of Donovan's 1960s albums and the Troubadour: The Definitive Collection 1964-1976 boxed set reacquainted his fans with his music. These releases also introduced him to newer generations, which helped rebuild his fan base.

In 1993, producer and American Recordings founder Rick Rubin contacted Johnny Cash to record a set of songs featuring Cash with sparse instrumentation. Cash's American Recordings succeeded both critically and commercially, and signaled a fresh start in his career. This success prompted Rubin to search for other artists who would benefit from the same model. While in the studio with Tom Petty, Rubin mentioned that he would like to work with Donovan. Petty suggested that he call Donovan, which he did.

Donovan agreed to have Rubin produce his next album, and prepared over one hundred songs for the recording sessions. The sessions were to feature sparse instrumentation, much like the sessions that made Cash's American Recordings such a success. Rubin insisted that Donovan listen to the folk material that Donovan recorded for Pye Records in 1964 and '65 for inspiration. The recording sessions commenced in 1995 with mixing of the song "El Dorado" in Los Angeles by Sylvia Massy. The deeply meditative Sutras was released late the following year.

Sutras received mixed reviews and failed to achieve the kind of commercial success Cash's American Recordings had. Donovan did not receive a longer contract, and Sutras became his only collaboration with Rubin; it is now out of print in the US. Yet for all its lack of commercial success, Sutras galvanized Donovan's fan base by reestablishing him as a current artist releasing new material. The internet in particular served a vital role in uniting his fans after the release of Sutras. Donovan paid close attention to this movement, and spent the next five years reorganizing his business around the internet to better reach his fans. Sutras can be seen as one of his most coherent solo efforts, since his creative period shortly after learning Transcendental Meditation and the period he spent in India with The Beatles (1967–71).

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars link
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars link

Track listing[edit]

All tracks by Donovan Leitch, except where noted. The US version of Sutras retained the same track sequence, but deleted the last song on the album ("The Garden"), making it a fourteen-track album.

Original UK release[edit]

  1. "Please Don't Bend" – 4:14
  2. "Give It All Up" – 3:09
  3. "Sleep" (Traditional; arranged by Donovan) – 2:47
  4. "Everlasting Sea" – 3:33
  5. "High Your Love" – 2:31
  6. "The Clear-Browed One" – 3:20
  7. "The Way" – 2:16
  8. "Deep Peace" (Donovan, MacLeod, Walton) – 3:11
  9. "Nirvana" – 3:31
  10. "Eldorado" (Words by Edgar Allan Poe; music by Donovan) – 3:06
  11. "Be Mine" – 3:28
  12. "Lady of the Lamp" – 3:53
  13. "The Evernow" – 4:09
  14. "Universe Am I" – 4:46
  15. "The Garden" – 2:51


External links[edit]