Van Morrison Album by Album Discussion: Part 1 (1968-1977)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by DJ WILBUR, Sep 25, 2007.

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  1. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    New Orleans, LA
    I wish I had too. Maybe I'd stop trying so hard to be intellectual :D

    I know what you mean, but I just tune all that stuff out and look for the stuff that applies to the music. That's what I'll be posting here anyway. :)
  2. pig whisperer

    pig whisperer CD Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    Yup. I skip over the other stuff. If it gets to be too much I'll just skip the thread. I don't want half truth stories to get in the way of the music.

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    He doesn't already know about The Clientele?????::bigeek: I hope everyone in here, when breaking from Van listening is listening to The Clientele....:D

    Seriously....I'm seeing the Man tonight at the United Palace in NYC, is there no one else in this thread in the New York area seen this show (he was also there last two nights)?
  4. dee

    dee Senior Member

    ft. lauderdale, fl
    I like Avalon Sunset as well.
  5. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    That makes how many times you've seen Van now? Compared to zero times for me!
    Do me a favour and scream out: "HEY VAN, TOM IN TORONTO WANTS YOU PLAY 'OH THE WARM FEELING!'"
  6. dee

    dee Senior Member

    ft. lauderdale, fl
    "Ah that love that was within know it carried me through
    It lifted me up, and it filled me...meditation...contemplation too"


    "On a golden autumn day...
    All my dreams came true...
    In Orangefield..."
  7. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    I guess you guys are right. All that stuff I was looking for is in the songs themselves.

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    I've kinda lost count. I first saw him at the Beacon in 89 or 90....and i see him pretty much every year or two since then. i hate to miss a show as I always think with him, that could be the last time i see him...i do the same thing with dylan...always showing up.

    he's always coming to NYC. 3 dates in NYC this weekend and thats it for the USA and he was here in May or June and 2 times last year as well.

    curious to see if its again the pay the devil vibed band or with Bobby Blue Bland opening, has he morphed back to a more bluesy based group of musicians....i'll report on this tomorrow, doing yet another "thread crap" in our album to album thread....:laugh:

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    Has Street Choir come to a conclusion then?

    Any final thoughts? Any late comers? anyone got anything else to say?

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    Well I know tihs is clearly off topic, but while we wait to discuss Tupelo Honey....I wanted to let you know about last nights Van Morrison concert at United Palace Theater in Upper Manhattan. First off, this venue, newly renovated is the most over the top old ornate movie theatre I’ve ever seen. It must have inspired Van in some way because I’ve never seen him more chatty and seemingly good humoured. as this place is used as a church, Van got back to his "Mystic Church" vibe at one point...

    Showtime was 7pm and Bobby Blue Bland did a pleasant 30 minute set and at 7:41 Van was on the stage and half the audience wasn’t even in their seats yet, also as this was a new concert room, (its used as a church) the ushers kept seating people in the wrong sections, so all through the first hour they were asking to see seated patrons tickets again, making them get up, etc etc etc…so a lot of distractions, which normally would put me in a foul mood, but Van was so playful, this nonsense didn’t end up bugging me.

    Van came strutting out with his sax and opened with “Did Ye Get Healed”…a favorite of mine and a great version, during the tune the band started riffing on Georgie Fames “Yeh Yeh” a nice touch as its another fave of mine. Next was “Magic Time” and another great vibey feel to this performance. “It Once Was My Life”, “In The Midnight”, “Choppin Wood”, “Save Me”…

    I was beginning to wonder if he was gonna do a “crowd pleaser”…you know a hit from one of these first few albums we’re talking about when next he’s doing “Moondance”, crowd goes nuts, it was a fine performance, he looked tres bored for this one. After this the sax is back and he’s doing that gorgeous riff that begins “Stranded” from Magic Time and this was a nice version where the steel guitar at one point during a solo goes into “Sleepwalk” and van then takes a sax solo….one of the show’s many highlights.

    Van still with sax starts up another crowd pleaser “Have I Told You Lately” done in a uber schmaltzy vegas vibe. But never fear, he wants to keep his real fans happy, so now he’s jamming on his harmonica and romps into a great version of “In The Afternoon” from Days Like These. This was so great because it turned into one of those “Mystic church”…style vamps where he also incorporated Burning Ground from Healing Game, but it was one of his trancey ramblings that seem so improvised….but….i don’t think they are now.

    All night pages were brought to him for his music stand. Right before this very cool “In The Afternoon”, he signaled for something off stage and new pages were brought to him, so this was all written down I believe. I noticed he kept looking at the stand during the entire song and decided to watch for how much he looked there for the rest of the show but realized he never did it again, but not sure how much he did this prior, but he was clearly doing what felt very spontaneous and he had clues in a way to keep him focused. it was incredible, this, . an amazing amazing performance and one I hope to find on the gray music market one day soon.

    At the end of this extended mystic churchy musing of this "in The Afternoon" he put the mike stand on his shoulder akin to someone with a fishing pole off to a pond and strutted off the stage…he really really was fun and playful all through the show and this was a great hour of music.

    Comes back to encore with Precious Time, I cant stop loving you and then an amazing One Irish Rover. Next up was Bright Side of the Road with great solos, a Banjo, Violin and then Van did this very Louis Armstrong vocal scatty thing at one point, very growly, I’ve never heard him do this sort of thing before…..then more sax and he did a blues thing I did not recognize but it was very very cool and this was the end of the first encore….

    He came out a second time and did a very extended and amazing “and The Healing Has Begun”….so he began with “Did Ye Get Healed and ended with “And the Healing Has Begun”….nicely bookended 100 minute show….Anyone see the first two NYC shows by chance? curious how those were.
  11. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    "But never fear, he wants to keep his real fans happy..."

    :laugh: :thumbsup:
    Van knows how to play ball.
  12. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    Tupelo Honey

    1. Wild Night 3:29
    2. (Straight to Your Heart) Like a Cannonball 3:37
    3. Old Old Woodstock 4:14
    4. Starting a New Life 2:06
    5. You’re My Woman 6:40
    6. Tupelo Honey 6:53
    7. I Wanna Roo You (Scottish Derivative) 3:22
    8. When That Evening Sun Goes Down 3:02
    9. Moonshine Whiskey 6:45

    While nowhere near approaching the territory of a biographical concept album a la Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, Tupelo Honey does give us a partial glimpse into the private lives of the Morrisons in this, the concluding chapter of the Van-Jan marriage trilogy. Released in 1971, the same year the Morrisons left Woodstock, New York for California, the album celebrates the isolated, rustic domesticity that had characterized their lives for the previous few years ("Old Old Woodstock", "When That Evening Sun Goes Down"), the birth of daughter Shana in April 1970 ("You’re My Woman"), the April 1971 move across the country ("Starting a New Life"), and the old standby of Janet-as-Muse (the remainder of the album).

    But Van has always been a private man, and these few verifiable facts are not particularly revealing, taken on their own. Certainly the cover art---featuring Van and Janet in a bucolic setting replete with horse, cat, and attire that makes them look like Turn-of-the-Century extras whisked onto the photo shoot for The Band’s 1969 self-titled "brown" album---conveys a picture of contented domesticity; but then Van has in the past chastised fans for naively thinking that something intended as pure artifice, such as an album cover, had been taken from a family photo album, or that he actually owned the dogs and estate pictured on Veedon Fleece. But by calling attention to the inherent artifice of the music biz, Van is practically begging his fans to wonder about the reality of his life. Well, this one anyway.

    So, to quote the last line of "You’re My Woman" (btw one of the most moving love songs ever) just what exactly here can be classified as "really, really, really, really, really, really real"?
    Well, the performances, for a start. With a band who sound committed and empathetic, who want to add to the feel of the music as opposed to merely showing up for another gig (as on His Band and the Street Choir), Van has surrounded himself with some crack players. Drummers Rick Schlosser and Connie Kay provide a drive and snap that was sorely lacking on the last album. Mark Jordon’s piano and John McFee’s steel guitar provide necessary country flavourings (proof that "The Belfast Cowboy," as he was dubbed by Richard Manuel in Van/The Band’s "4% Pantomime", didn’t all of a sudden "go country" with Pay the Devil; that this music has been influential from the get-go). Ronnie Montrose’s guitar was the most ingenious addition to the band. From the tremolo-laden picking on "Straight To Your Heart (Like a Cannonball)" onward, his playing adds muscle and texture to songs--songs which, in lesser hands, might seem like sugary domestic boasts.

    So what else is really real? Certainly Van’s ebullience is more than put-on. You can’t fake the kind of joy that oozes from his vocals on every track. And would a less-than-happy Van bother to sing about putting on his hot pants and promenading down funky Broadway, or whimsically musing on fish in the bubbling water—and then proceed to imitate the sound of the water? How about "You can take all the tea in Chiney" in the title track, one of his most hilarious and endearing pronunciations ever (right up there with "raddio" in The Last Waltz). For my money, Van never again punctuated his recordings with the soulful whimsicality found here.

    It is this contagious ebullience which lifts would-be filler like "When That Evening Sun Goes Down" or "Starting a New Life" into an entirely different level. Clearly Van’s enthusiasm for all of this material, inspired by his wife and life in the 1970/1971 period, had the effect of kick-starting the assemblage of musicians into making an album about happiness and contentment that never seems smug or boastful; it’s simply really, really, really real.

    Attached Files:

  13. pig whisperer

    pig whisperer CD Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    I haven't listened to this one in a long time, but, back in the day, "You're My Woman" was a favorite and a great closer for side one. This is one of the few albums where the "hits" are actually my favorite songs on the album, but it is hard not to like "Wild Night" and "Tupelo Honey". I'll have to give it a spin this week. I think I'll warm up the system with The Band's brown album and/or Elton John's "Tumbleweed Connection" before delving into this one.
  14. willy

    willy hooga hagga hooga

    Haven't played the entire album for a good 15 years but, these two get a regular seeing-to:

    'Wild Night' must be one of the tightest performances by any bunch of musicians ever.

    '(Straight To Your Heart) Like A Cannon Ball'..................Van's vox here are just yet one more example of his fabulous singing.
  15. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    When he sings those full-throated "Well, you know..." lines I find myself thinking "Holy $hit, just how does a human being sing like that?":laugh:
  16. elborak

    elborak Forum Resident

    I'll post more comments on TH later, but I have to chime in and agree strongly with this comment. :righton: The performance on "Wild Night" harkens back to the very tight and professional production and performances on Moondance. But it sure boogies!
  17. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    Ted Templeman, who produced Tupelo Honey, St. Dominic's Preview and It's Too Late to Stop Now, on working with Van:

  18. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    I love that quote, but they sure did some great work together. I think the biggest difference in the outcomes of HBSC and Tupelo Honey is due to Ted Templeton as co-producer. I'll post my thoughts on Tupelo Honey later when I have a free minute. Meanwhile i keep reading all the comments on the thread with interest.

    Sorry I missed Vans dates at the former Church of Reverend "Green Power" Ike. The venue must be great inside it was originally a 1920s movie palace.
  19. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    "Trancey ramblings"---I like that.:righton:

    I call them "mystical workouts.":laugh:
  20. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    New Orleans, LA
    Continuing from Can You Hear the Silence:

    Tupelo Honey became his first album of artifice, something he would later attribute to the ‘fact’ that ‘it consisted of songs that were left over from before and that they’d finally gotten around to using. It wasn’t really fresh.’ In fact, only ‘Wild Night’ and ‘When the Evening Sun Goes Down’…appear to pre-date Street Choir…Jon Landau, in his Rolling Stone review, actually recognized ‘Wild Night’ not just as ‘a statement of the past, [but] a song done almost from memory, encompassing the style and form of some of Van’s earliest music.’

    These two songs were attempted at the Wally Heider studio in San Francisco in the Spring of 1971, and Heylin believes the alternate take of “Evening Sun” on the B-side of the ‘Wild Night’ 45 to be from these sessions. (off to ebay I run) In addition to “Wild Night,” the other songs that made it to the final LP from this three-week series of sessions were “Moonshine Whisky,” “I Wanna Roo You” and “(Straight to Your Heart) Like a Cannonball.”

    According to the engineer on these sessions, Stephen Barncard, “That whole three weeks [Morrison] was too drunk to really do much else except do his tune, [in] one take, and then leave…We’d get the band rehearsed, then Ted Templeman [the producer] would go to the hotel, pick up Van, put him in the studio, we’d set him up standing in front of a mike with his acoustic guitar…We did one or two takes, he’d go back to the hotel and then the band would go on to the next tune.”

    “A second set of sessions, at the San Francisco Columbia Studios, went more smoothly, as Morrison reverted to rehearsing the material pre-session….Within a matter of days they captured seven songs,” including “Listen to the Lion,” the recording of which would turn up on St Dominic's Preview. These sessions were late spring/early summer 1971.

    Heylin also mentions that on 5 September 1971, with Tupelo Honey now in the shops, Morrison “recorded one of his most memorable concerts at Pacific High Studios for both his record label and KSAN-FM, who broadcast the ninety-minute set to an enthused Bay area audience.” This became the bootleg, Van the Man.

    "Wild Night" was released as a 45 in October 1971 and peaked at number 28 on the charts, marking Morrison's last appearance in the US top 40.
  21. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    Wow, I had no idea Van's drinking was that much of an issue.
  22. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    Well, yes, the playing is tighter and the production is better, but. . . I like Street Choir much better than Tupelo Honey.

    The major problem is that the two long songs don't work for me. The failure of "You're My Woman" in particular leaves a gaping hole in the middle of the record where a masterwork ought to be. "You're My Woman" is not completely without merit, but somehow Van manages to ramble on for seven minutes without communicating anything noteworthy about love or his relationship with Janet, and thanking a woman for bearing his child is just too much for me (visions of Paul Anka dance in my troubled mind). "Moonshine Whiskey" just doesn't hang together for me either, especially the bizarre ad libs about hot pants and bubbles.

    That leaves three keepers on the record: "Wild Night", "Old Woodstock" and the indomitable title track which manages to succeed despite the odd lyrics that lurch uncomfortably between love song and some sort of patriotic anthem (and the peculiar rhyming of "insight" and "granite"). Is "Tupelo Honey" really about Janet at all or is it about an immigrant's love for his new homeland? I've often wondered if the "she" who is as sweet as Tupelo Honey is the Statue of Liberty. . .

    The rest strikes me as filler, perfectly pleasant and acceptable filler, but filler nonetheless. And how many songs on this album refer to Van's woman in the kitchen? I find women much more interesting when they're in gardens all misty wet with rain. :cool: Frankly, if it wasn't for the presence of the title track I would consider this album pretty disposable, but the title track alone is worth the price of admission.

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    OMG, we need to talk sometime.
  24. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    North of Seattle
    Van was an obvious influence on Bob Seger. Bob did "I've Been Working" on Live Bullet.

    Listen to "Moonshine Whiskey" and "Brave Strangers" (on Stranger In Town) back to back. :)
  25. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Uh Huh

    Don't forget "Against The Wind" with that "let the cowboy ride..." bit at the end, borrowed from Van's "Beautiful Obsession".
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