Van Morrison: your views please

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Not all messages are displayed: show all messages (372 of them)
Astral Weeks is an awful, sickly wedding cake of wobbly self-indulgence.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Sunday, 14 November 2004 21:49 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I love Astral Weeks! And Mad T.V.!

scott seward (scott seward), Sunday, 14 November 2004 22:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

What I wrote on the 'frat-rock' thread, i.e., should've stopped after 'Gloria'. Morrison = Meat Loaf with a Celtic burden of significance instead of cheezy American humour. -- dave q (scrape10...), October 17th, 2001.

dave q., as usual, nails it. still, i give a thumb's up to astral weeks and moondance, and bits and pieces of all the rest.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Sunday, 14 November 2004 23:07 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

WTF IS with this thread anyway?

and didn't someone on ILX once post a rilly funny story about some (REALLY disgusting) thing that van's (understandably) pissed-off stage musicians did to one of his harmonicas?!?

Eisbär (llamasfur), Sunday, 14 November 2004 23:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

ok i found it:

Van Morrison is a prize curmudgeon by all accounts, which gives me an opportunity to pinch this from the rocking vicar
Van's Daily Dump
Van Morrison insists on his band turning up to rehearsals at bang on 8.30am, although Van himself often doesn't turn up until ten, and then goes straight to the toilet with a copy of Exchange & Mart to have a dump. One day, the band got so cross that they waited until Van was engaged and then, one by one, tip-toed over to Van's Sacred Harmonica Bag, full of harmonicas Van has collected from around the world, picked a specimen, and rubbed it in their anal clefts. Even now, when you see Van on Later, his band seemed particularly delighted when he does a harmonica solo.

-- Billy Dods (butterbubble...), September 4th, 2002.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Sunday, 14 November 2004 23:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I love Astral Weeks to bits, but I've never felt the need to get anything else.

noodle vague (noodle vague), Sunday, 14 November 2004 23:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Fixored this fuxor. Should be readable now.

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Monday, 15 November 2004 03:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Thanks Sean; you're a treat.

Ian John50n (orion), Monday, 15 November 2004 03:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC maybe MAYBE has a big lump of coal where his heart is.


Astral Weeks = very necessary.

The rest = meh. Ups and downs.

skowly (skowly), Monday, 15 November 2004 04:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i like veedon fleece.

bulbs (bulbs), Monday, 15 November 2004 04:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I find him dull except for Them.

Out of context, that would be a strange sentence.

Hurting (Hurting), Monday, 15 November 2004 04:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Them + pretty much everything up to 1974 classic - although the amount of love lavished on Astral Weeks is a bit perplexing and St. Dominic's Preview in particular really should receive far more love than it seems to.

Nothing I've heard from him since 1974 seems to come close - although I'd be interested to see what other ILMers think of some of his more recent albums (especially Back On Top, Down The Road, What's Wrong With This Picture) since I have recently been entertaining the (probably fanciful) notion that he's about due for a sudden and unexpected return to form.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Monday, 15 November 2004 04:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

As somebody said on the Rod Stewart thread, that Fritz can really tell it like it is.

This message is not for Van haters, but for Van fans. I first got hip to Van when I saw the "Last Waltz." When he came out I thought "who the heck is that little fat guy, he's all flabby and dressed in a brown pantsuit? He looks like a middle-aged lady. On top of that he's doing this ridiculous chorus-line kicking." Then I kept listening and I shut up. His was the most definitive performance in the movie, his and Muddy Waters.

About Van sideman and territory-sharer Georgie Fame, who was dissed above: I saw Georgie once at Ronnie Scott's in London, and he put on one good show. He did one bit where, in a tribute to his former boss, he sang a medley of Moondance and some African song from a movie soundtrack (was it one of those Cornel Wilde things?) that was pretty damn great.

Ken L (Ken L), Monday, 15 November 2004 04:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Them's version of 'Its all over now, baby blue' is classic. Astral weeks is obviously amazing. I don't give a fuck about anything else he did, and neither should anyone else.

prov, Monday, 15 November 2004 06:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I think the haters maybe don't like Van because of his jazz leanings. C'mon people, who do you think he is, Sting? The

Ken L (Ken L), Monday, 15 November 2004 06:21 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

A second for 'Beautiful Vision.' Great album that my folks used to put on when I was 7 or 8. Don't know if I'd have the same reaction to it if I heard it for the first time now, though.

57 7th (calstars), Monday, 15 November 2004 17:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I don't like him b/c the timbre of his voice grates on me for some reason. Sorry, VM lovers!!

Pashmina (Pashmina), Monday, 15 November 2004 17:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"the antithesis of post-punk, earnest caterwauling hippy mystic and faux jazz self- flagellation"

I've never thought of Van Morrison as hippy-anything (or especially earnest, for that matter). Unlike the faux-mysticism of, say, Led Zeppelin, Van's lyrics steer clear of gnomes and m'ladys, are grounded instead in back alleys, snowstorms, trains, Safeway supermarkets, and memory. More importantly, the music is equally grounded: in r&b. His 70's catalogue (Moondance, Tupelo Honey, St Dominick's Preview, Hardnose the Highway, Veedon Fleece, and though it's '69, Astral Weeks belongs in this group too) is at least as strong as Al Green's. After that, for the most part it seems like he started reading a bit too much of his own press: yes, the mysticism did start to grate. I've been listening to him a lot again. He good.

Burr (Burr), Monday, 15 November 2004 19:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

He's supposedly a mean drunk.

shookout (shookout), Monday, 15 November 2004 19:21 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Unlike the faux-mysticism of, say, Led Zeppelin, Van's lyrics steer clear of gnomes and m'ladys,
??? Sorry, those two terms do not appear anywhere in any LZ song.

57 7th (calstars), Monday, 15 November 2004 19:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Sorry, I should have said dark lords and elders of the gentle race.

Burr (Burr), Monday, 15 November 2004 19:51 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Thank you, that'll be fine.

57 7th (calstars), Monday, 15 November 2004 19:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

is at least as strong as Al Green's

how hold on a moment...

amateur!!st, Monday, 15 November 2004 20:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

you've awoken one of the gnomes, Burr, or is it a dark m'lady...?

rumple, Monday, 15 November 2004 20:33 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

'Slim Slo Slider' is much deeper than 'Strong as Death (Sweet as Love)'..
Take that, dark gnomes!

rumple, Monday, 15 November 2004 20:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

hey, i'm not gonna argue, dude. i like the van.

but al green is al green!

amateur!!st, Monday, 15 November 2004 20:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

at least you didn't go into some tedious 'style over substance' argument like Skidpants

rumple, Monday, 15 November 2004 21:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i got made fun of a lot in europe for using the word "dude" all the time

anyway style IS substance. dude.

amateur!!st, Tuesday, 16 November 2004 04:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

wow, you've actually BEEN to Europe? With Mommy or Daddy, or on a scholarship?

yeah, you would believe that sort of twaddle. Le Roy Neiman has a lot of "style," how do you feel about him? (here comes the lecture) I hope you wear a beret when you type out these missives. And one earring. No, that wouldn't go with the short pants and riding crop.

intelligent discussion may now resume.

the dude., Tuesday, 16 November 2004 06:52 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

whatever dude

amateur!!st, Tuesday, 16 November 2004 08:33 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

rumple, Tuesday, 16 November 2004 08:48 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

not lately, no

amateur!!st, Tuesday, 16 November 2004 15:43 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

I've been totally gaying out on Van lately. Saw the last waltz again and it really hit me how fucking BIZARRE the man is...such strange mannerisms onstage, so "passionate" but yet seems sort of bitter and hateful and totally uncaring about the crowd...

but so anyway yesterday I picked up "It's too late to stop now" a live album with his band, the Caledonia Soul Orchestra...honestly I think it's one of the greatest albums ever recorded...every song is retooled, rearranged...huge band, strings + horns + a core of a whoop-ass RnB band and rhythm secion....Van is all over the fucking place on this....slurring everything into a million fake endings and rave up WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP rhythm section hits...tuuurn on yuuuuur raDIO blooblobleeebledeeedlebloooombabloooobeeeedoodbeee..urrrrrnnnnn letcha lights shaaane....lettttit shine...

the fourth side "Heres Comes the night"---->gloria----->caravan----->cypress avenue is amazing...i think it's about five minutes before cypress is even close to being recognizable....

M@tt He1ges0n, Monday, 24 September 2007 16:43 (eleven years ago) Permalink

yeah that last waltz performance is strange, right? he's definitely got a weird mix of wanting to be this classic entertainer type and then also just having a "fuck you" attitude. it works! the jumpsuit, on the other hand ...

there's a beyond-fantastic bootleg from a 1972 live radio session that has some incredible van moments -- a definitive "Friday's Child," a beautiful "into the mystic" and an incredible reading of dylan's "just like a woman." that thing deserves official release, seriously. it's a peak.

as much as i like van, i haven't delved very deeply into his post-mid 70s stuff. but it seems as though there's plenty of worthwhile albums/songs ...

tylerw, Monday, 24 September 2007 16:50 (eleven years ago) Permalink

As much as I love "Caravan" from TLW, I love his vocal on "Tura Lura Lura" even more. God I wish there was an outtake of that floating somewhere.

Jazzbo, Monday, 24 September 2007 17:31 (eleven years ago) Permalink

He's complete crap, of course.

Alex in NYC, Wednesday, 26 September 2007 01:38 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Wrong, Alex. The man could do the neatest codas.

Cunga, Wednesday, 26 September 2007 01:40 (eleven years ago) Permalink

If you enjoy listening to walruses gargle with their own filth, then I suppose so.

Alex in NYC, Wednesday, 26 September 2007 01:43 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Oh goodness, well, a gurgling walrus with beautiful strings behind him then.

Cunga, Wednesday, 26 September 2007 01:46 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i thought he was drunk/coked out of his mind in the last waltz?

i like van, but i'm only recently recovering from drastic overexposure some fifteen years ago.

mookieproof, Wednesday, 26 September 2007 03:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I owe a drink to whoever posted that YouTube clip of him doing "Warm Love" on German TV in '74 onto a different Van thread.

Matos W.K., Wednesday, 26 September 2007 22:50 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Of all of the songs on my favorite Van Morrison album, I'm undecided as to whether my favorite song is "Ring Worm" or "Want a Danish".

polyphonic, Wednesday, 26 September 2007 22:58 (eleven years ago) Permalink

boring old fart, self righteous too.

max r, Wednesday, 26 September 2007 22:59 (eleven years ago) Permalink

It's interesting how many of the dismissive responses are based on not knowing his music in the first place. There also seems to be a sense of pride in that. Not sure why. I've worked in places where I've had to listen to Frankie Valli to the point where I've wanted his music vanquished from existence, but unless your uncle tortured you as a small child with a replay of his most obvious hits I've never considered Van to generate such snap judgement hate.

Now, granted, from everything I've read and heard from others much more in tune with the music business, Van looks to be a pretty difficult, cantankerous a-hole, which doesn't even put him in rarified company. Yes, he's been making pretty much the same album for years. If you like that sort of thing, it's not so bad. And he has been at it for decades.

But if you're going to judge the man, at least hear some of his best work. I wouldn't go judging the entire career of the Cure based on "Wish"...

While every Van fan I've met has different personal faves, I'd offer up the obvious: anything by Them, Astral Weeks, St. Dominic's Preview, Veedon Fleece, Wavelength (considered his most "commercial" album for its upbeat nature and slightly "slicker" production), Common One (if you think Van's a snoozer, then this will be your best evidence, but maybe I just like to daydream...), Into the Music, Beautiful Vision, Hymns to the Silence...

His radio hits only tell one very small part of the story. And he really doesn't fall into "hippie" music. He wore some bad hippie clothes back in the day.

For those who do like him, hopefully YouTube still has the video of him and Chet Baker doing Send in the Clowns. I'd only heard it on bootleg and imagined Van really biting into it, the way he phrases things and such...and then I saw this video. AND HE'S READING THE WORDS OFF A PIECE OF PAPER. Ah, the mastery of performance.

I'd submit a link but I'm new here and learning how to operate this formatting stuff. Hopefully, in time.

smurfherder, Thursday, 27 September 2007 06:00 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"Ring Worm" is totally better, for the "yooouuuu've got ring worm" near the end.

Oh, and Van's good. I love St. Dominic's Preview. Also "Snow in San Anselmo" is one of the coolest songs ever.

clotpoll, Thursday, 27 September 2007 06:38 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Mark Rich@rdson, Thursday, 27 September 2007 07:15 (eleven years ago) Permalink

While every Van fan I've met has different personal faves, I'd offer up the obvious: anything by Them, Astral Weeks, St. Dominic's Preview, Veedon Fleece...

all very solid, Astral Weeks being obvious, Veedon Fleece being the hidden grail, and I'd add Tupelo Honey and (god help me) Moondance. It'll never be my favorite, and it's way too exposed, but goddamnit if it's not a good record.

Alex, stop taking the piss and do something useful. We like Van Morrison, ok?

kenan, Thursday, 27 September 2007 07:22 (eleven years ago) Permalink

That two disc "Story of Them" set is amazing -- it's pretty much their full output as a band (with Van, but Them without Van is like VU without Lou), and it's very-good-to-legendary from end to end. I don't get tired of it.

kenan, Thursday, 27 September 2007 07:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i rebought astral weeks a couple days ago (traded it a few years back, then suddenly this week felt the overwhelming urge to hear it again), and what strikes me most about it is how . . . not like its reputation it is, in so many ways. like someone said upthread, for all the talk about van being a hippy-dippy mystic, most of the words are about very realistic scenes and situations.

it reminds me of talk talk's later work in some ways, that same contemplative mood, the way the old persona (the van of "gloria," the mark hollis of "it's my life") occasionally croaks through the new one, the way virtually any sound can take on meaning and depth. "slim slow slider" especially would fit in very well on laughing stock.

i also think the string arrangements are beautiful, almost unbelievably so, and i'm not really one to fawn over stuff like that.

J.D., Thursday, 27 September 2007 07:45 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i've got to get that them compilation. "gloria" is one of those overplayed classics that somehow never gets old; there's something so feral and almost unsettling about van's angry bark.

anyone heard blowin' your mind?

J.D., Thursday, 27 September 2007 07:47 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Is that like on "When god shines his light" at the end where him and Cliff are humming on the outro, and Van forgets to keep his gob shut?

Mark G, Saturday, 14 April 2018 09:15 (six months ago) Permalink

It sounds to me like he's pushing his tongue out a little, and raising his tongue near the back of his mouth. Like when people do an impression of Droopy.

Haha - it totally is this. Buckley aside, I still don't think I've heard anyone else do this. I like it. I think.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Saturday, 14 April 2018 09:39 (six months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Wow, I only heard Beautiful Vision for the first time last night and it's quite lovely.

Johnny Fever, Sunday, 8 July 2018 13:22 (three months ago) Permalink

US tour coming

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 13:15 (three months ago) Permalink

Last year this time we were in the midst of the Van poll. That was fun.

kornrulez6969, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 13:45 (three months ago) Permalink

seeing him for the first time in a few weeks, excited

niels, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 17:30 (three months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Had the chance to see the man in concert yesterday. Relative disappointment, his voice seems strong as ever, but he had a very hard time singing in key on jazzy compositions like Moondance and The Way Young Lovers Do, slightly embarrassing to witness. Pulled off jazz standards and blues covers a lot better, but I’m not that interested in hearing him do Got My Mojo Workin’, his own material is obv a lot more interesting. Band was professional but completely harmless. I know he’s supposed to be hit and miss live, so will give it another go if I get the chance. I’ve praised The Healing Game countless times and will say again that Sometimes We Cry is a late-career evergreen, show highlight for me (even if the band's performance lacked nerve). Oh yeah, and they finished off with Gloria, now that’s a song! Unfortunately Van left the stage after 2 choruses while bandleader encouraged the crowd five or six times in a row to give it up for “THE ONE AND ONLY SIR VAN MORRISON” upon which the band improvised solos for 10 minutes and waved goodbye.

niels, Sunday, 29 July 2018 11:02 (two months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

This is the cover of Van Morrison's new album.

This is what happens when you're a legacy artist who doesn't sell enough (new) records for the label to bother telling you "No" anymore.

grawlix (unperson), Tuesday, 2 October 2018 15:08 (two weeks ago) Permalink

i love it and like the new song. album seems to be another covers + a few new originals thing

princess of hell (BradNelson), Tuesday, 2 October 2018 15:08 (two weeks ago) Permalink

that album cover kicks ass and I will fight you

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Tuesday, 2 October 2018 16:29 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Santo Trafficante Jr goes into hiding and decides to slightly disguise himself as a Blues Brother. I like it.

omar little, Tuesday, 2 October 2018 16:33 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Relative disappointment, his voice seems strong as ever, but he had a very hard time singing in key on jazzy compositions like Moondance and The Way Young Lovers Do, slightly embarrassing to witness. Pulled off jazz standards and blues covers a lot better

At the big outdoor theatre/shed where I just saw him, he stayed in key on all, but rushed through the hits at a faster tempo. He took him time more on less-known numbers.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 3 October 2018 13:19 (two weeks ago) Permalink

his time

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 3 October 2018 13:20 (two weeks ago) Permalink

glad to hear that, he's infamous for having on/off days right?

was it good overall?

niels, Wednesday, 3 October 2018 13:35 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Is he touring all the time and getting bored with the more familiar stuff or something?
THough I guess he will ahve been playing the hits for years which might be boring anyway.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 3 October 2018 13:39 (two weeks ago) Permalink

x-post-- It was good overall but a bit uneven. He also didn't talk to the crowd at all between songs. Decided to see a bunch of old legends recently and saw Smoky Robinson the night before I saw Van. Smokey sounded great, chatted to the crowd about old days at the Howard Theatre between songs, and was stunning on what he called the "b-sides" part of his set. He raced through a few hits though too. Van was busy directing his orchestra but other than naming off band members once, didn't bother with talking.

I saw that Boston author who has the book on Astral Weeks out, and he said Van refused to talk to him for the book. He spoke with folks who played on the album and who helped on the songs before they were recorded, but not Van himself.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 3 October 2018 14:09 (two weeks ago) Permalink

He took him time more on less-known numbers.

― curmudgeon, Wednesday, October 3, 2018 6:19 AM (fifty-six minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

same here (it was a festival set). i was thrilled when he really dug into "carrying a torch"

princess of hell (BradNelson), Wednesday, 3 October 2018 14:16 (two weeks ago) Permalink

(xp) You sound surprised that legendary ray-of-sunshine Sir Van Morrison is a curmudgeon, curmudgeon?

Zach Same (Tom D.), Wednesday, 3 October 2018 14:33 (two weeks ago) Permalink

haha yeah, van has been refusing to talk to biographers for decades now

tylerw, Wednesday, 3 October 2018 14:54 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Think Van is especially unforthcoming about Astral Weeks because he doesn't (or didn't) get any royalties on it.

New alb cover does offer a rare glimpse of his 'zany' sense of humour, last evidenced when he asked Spike Milligan to 'interview' him for Q magazine.

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 3 October 2018 14:59 (two weeks ago) Permalink

looking forward to a bit of ray charles in the style of lord charles

Herb Achelors (NickB), Wednesday, 3 October 2018 15:16 (two weeks ago) Permalink


Zach Same (Tom D.), Wednesday, 3 October 2018 15:44 (two weeks ago) Permalink

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.