Van Morrison: your views please

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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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i like veedon fleece.

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

He's supposedly a mean drunk.

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

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

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

Thank you, that'll be fine.

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

whatever dude

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

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

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

not lately, no

amateur!!st, Tuesday, 16 November 2004 15:43 (fourteen 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

Here's the '74 German TV clip that Matos refers to:

Great fuckin' band; these must be the same guys that recorded the It's Too Late to Stop Now album with him. Aewsome!

JN$OT, Thursday, 27 September 2007 07:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"gloria" is one of those overplayed classics that somehow never gets old

tru, but "mystic eyes" > "gloria"

kenan, Thursday, 27 September 2007 08:02 (eleven years ago) Permalink

all I have to say about Van Morrison is that I bought Astral Weeks based solely on the strength of its reputation and the fact that I felt like I ought to have heard it -- one of those "eat your vegetables" record purchases -- and when I listened to it for the first time, it was so beautiful that I had no choice to duck out of work early, take a walk through the park, and call some people I hadn't talked to in months just to tell them about this incredible music.

(ps it's also my favorite album to listen to while high)

bernard snowy, Thursday, 27 September 2007 09:58 (eleven years ago) Permalink

That Van and Chet clip is beautiful

sonofstan, Thursday, 27 September 2007 10:49 (eleven years ago) Permalink

He's complete crap, of course.
And Killing Joke are a bunch of candy-assed poseurs.

Jazzbo, Thursday, 27 September 2007 11:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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

Who is taking the piss? I'm sincere. Van Morrison is a bloated tub of fatuous lard.

And Killing Joke are a bunch of candy-assed poseurs.

Compared to Van Morrison? Baahahahahahahaahahaha

Alex in NYC, Thursday, 27 September 2007 12:12 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Gifted musician - guitar, alto sax, harmonica....

Van Morrison is not a gifted alto sax player!

Tom D., Thursday, 27 September 2007 12:14 (eleven years ago) Permalink

the end of this vers. of cypress avenue is fucking nuts! he's so weird...his mannerism onstage are fascinating to me...

honestly, sometimes the only guy that really reminds me of how van was onstage is Al Johnson from US Maple, sometimes i think he stole some of his bizarre schtick from Van...

M@tt He1ges0n, Thursday, 27 September 2007 15:44 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Peter Wolf knew Van back then. Apparently Morrison would make drunken phone requests to radio station Wolf DJ'd for.

BTW, Wolf was college roomies w/David Lynch!

The Greta Van Gerwig (C. Grisso/McCain), Sunday, 11 November 2018 00:43 (four months ago) Permalink


Didn’t know that about Van’s requests. Hilarious.

Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 11 November 2018 04:06 (four months ago) Permalink

xp chinaski didn't get your email, weird... try kern.cooper at gmail dot com

I could also just post a direct link here but I get the feeling it wouldn't be in the spirit of ilx?

niels, Sunday, 11 November 2018 12:12 (four months ago) Permalink

I'm surprised how much I like the version of Virgo Clown from the Catacombs set. It's not a song I've been into before.

that's not my post, Sunday, 11 November 2018 21:34 (four months ago) Permalink

Read through the Astral Weeks book very quickly yesterday and was happy to see tyler get an acknowledgement at the very end.

Buckaroo Can't Fail (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 November 2018 15:15 (four months ago) Permalink

90s (?) 2-CD The Story of Them Featuring Van Morrison is incredible, The Bang Masters, the unscrewed-with originals of tracks that showed up on early solo LPs, is good barefoot pop, get most 70s except maybe Hard Nose The Highway, but I think I stopped buying new stuff after Beautiful Vision, in the early 80s. Clearly need to check out some more, is what I think after hearing bluesy coountry duets with the evervescent Linda Gail Lewis, during one of the wildest (far beyond in-character) American Routes shows ever, THE KILLER, THE THRILLER & THE CHILLER: JERRY LEE LEWIS WITH SISTERS LINDA GAIL AND FRANKIE JEAN---scroll down this page a little for links to hours 1 & 2 (Van shows up in hour 2)
(playlists for both hours are also linked)
Would like to check his album of Mose Allison songs too.

dow, Monday, 12 November 2018 21:18 (four months ago) Permalink

So, that was purely to keep the copyright alive: Make it available for one day in an obscure part of the world (the UK)

Mark G, Tuesday, 13 November 2018 00:38 (four months ago) Permalink

The TV was playing (in the background) a Saturday Night Live episode from Nov. 4, 1978 — I snapped to attention when the Van Morrison performance, “Wavelength,” came on... the band is super tight, lithe, springy, fluid!

Anyone know who was in that particular band? Was it basically the crew from the Wavelength album?

I searched around but can’t find much info... the clip doesn’t even seem to be YouTube, where people usually lost that stuff.

my guitar friend wants his money (morrisp), Sunday, 18 November 2018 06:45 (four months ago) Permalink


my guitar friend wants his money (morrisp), Sunday, 18 November 2018 06:46 (four months ago) Permalink

This one is from a few months later (Feb 79). Someone listed the musicians in the comments.

that's not my post, Sunday, 18 November 2018 18:42 (four months ago) Permalink


my guitar friend wants his money (morrisp), Sunday, 18 November 2018 18:57 (four months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

The new Prophet Speaks is Van's fourth album in 18 months, he again is with Joey DeFrancesco's quartet doing a mixture of originals and blues covers.

curmudgeon, Saturday, 8 December 2018 21:07 (three months ago) Permalink

"The Prophet Speaks"

curmudgeon, Saturday, 8 December 2018 21:08 (three months ago) Permalink

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