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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. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    He finally did, it just came out. Tupelo Honey is not a successful C&W album, but it does have country flavorings.:agree: :agree:
     
  2. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    Here are some people talking about working with Van around the time of Tupelo Honey. Maybe he was not just drunk the whole time. I have some other quotes I'll try to dig up later. I found these on that great Van Fan website.


    With his band(s), Van Morrison demands a special rapport. He selects musicians who are both professionally skilled and emotionally intuitive, people who can blow the charts perfectly while at the same time knowing when--and just how much--to improvise when Morrison want to cut loose.

    "I need to have guys who can take an arrangement and work on it and rehearse until they get it right. Otherwise it's hard for me to feel confident when I'm out in front. I want the band to have the arrangements down to where the sound is really tight, then we can start loosening up. Also I find that, like, the horn players out here aren't into much variety. It's mostly high energy stuff where they start out loud and stay loud. But Jack [Schroer--alto, tenor and baritone sax] and I are building a dynamite band from the nucleus of the first band that we started here. And we're coming up with a lot of nice things."

    Pianist Mark Jordan, who worked with Van last year and is now with Dave Mason, explained: "It's a question of reading his mood at the moment, a kind of challenge to your musical abilities. It's not easy, particularly when we would rehearse new material. Like Van expects you to run through a new song once and get it. But at the same time it's hard for him to express things in musical parlance. He doesn't read or write music, so a lot of times you have to follow his fingers on the frets. Sometimes he'll have really dramatic lyrics but he needs to flesh out the melody. We'll throw out suggestions and he'll tell us when something's not working. He has incredible instincts.

    "I've gigged with him many times but I think the highest I ever got was when I jammed with him at his home one night, just he and I and Doug Messenger on guitar. He ad-libbed both lyrics and melody and just totally blew us away. He's a genius."

    In the studios, Morrison approaches his work with the same admixture of spontaneity, intensity and impatience. Ted Templemen, his producer at Warner Bros.: "Van's ability as a musician, arranger and producer is the scariest thing I've seen. When he's got something together, he wants to put it down right away with no overdubbing. He'll play guitar and sing at the same time. He works fast and demands the same of everyone there. I've had to change engineers who couldn't keep up with him. He hates to do re-takes on vocals so when he's recording we let a lot of little mistakes go by which we can go back and correct later. Afterwards I usually do the rough mix-down because Van can't stand doing it."
    --excerpts from Talk About Pop, interview 1973, RTE TV Dublin
     
  3. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Whether it was successful or not as a C&W album, Van's intent for the direction of the music was there. I was responding to your claim that it wasmostly templeman's idea.
     
  4. JPartyka

    JPartyka I Got a Home on High

    Location:
    USA
    Good Lord ...

    I hereby apologize for ever recommending Clinton Heylin's Morrison biography in this thread.
     
  5. pig whisperer

    pig whisperer CD Member

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    If more country albums have tunes like "Wild Night" I would be a country fan. There is a country vibe throughout, but Morrison's vocal performance is strictly Van.

    The thing I like about his albums, up to a point, is they all sound different from each other. When we get to the album which sounds like he took a step back and repeated himself - and it took me a long time before I got over my disappointment and grew to appreciate it for what it is - I will chime in.
     
  6. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    no, dont be sorry. a worthy read, just not one i can do while hosting this thread is all. Im' spending too many months with Van to be reminded of all his talent AND issues..hahaha...
     
  7. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Me too. There is some super percussion/drum work throughout that song, and also some neat bass and piano bits as well. A beautiful performance. I've listened to the cd a few times this week, on the headphones, and I also agree, that "side one," is really enjoyable, imo.
     
  8. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
     
  9. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    I like that song and performance, too.
     
  10. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    I should have been clearer in my earlier excerpt from the Heylin book, but he indicated that Morrison wasn't drunk throughout the entire series of sessions for TH, just that first one apparently. He got it together to some extent after that, at least enough to rehearse and work.

    As for those "New Biography" lyrics, nice try, but I'm not convinced. Everyone has faults. The best biographies acknowledge those faults and don't make more of them than they should, but present them fairly as part of a complex person's character. Sounds to me like Morrison wants an apologist.
     
  11. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Another good one, imo. The first three recordings on Tupelo Honey are probably my favorite sequence in the album, although I like all of side one, especially.
     
  12. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Finally, by itself, Tupelo Honey, the song. I like this song, like everybody else that's posted. This comment will be unpopular, but the song does seem to get too much mileage, imo, from just a few oft-repeated verses and chorus lines. Just curious, if Tupelo Honey was released as an edited single? All I know is that somewhere between the five and six minute mark, I've had enough. :)
     
  13. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    Boy you must hate Listen to the Lion :laugh:
     
  14. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Hmm, which album is that?
     
  15. pig whisperer

    pig whisperer CD Member

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    In that song he is questioning the sources of the information and not the actual writers. Just another Van rant. He has plenty more songs like that which we will get to as the albums come up.
     
  16. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    No. Really. I love all the long ones, or most of them anyway! :) Oh, my, I listened to Veedon Fleece last night. Always one of my very favorites, but I'm thinking it's one of my favorite three, along with Astral Weeks and No Guru. :)
     
  17. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    I agree with this wholeheartedly, but he hasn't always had the best biographers, which is a shame, and doubtless the reason for Van's hypersensitivity. Collis, for one, goes to great lengths to pick apart Van's acknowledged classics, as if to take him down a peg or two; then he delivers the coup de grace by tearing him apart as a person.
     
  18. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    I really enjoyed reading these quotes. Thanks for posting them.
     
  19. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    I agree. And Tupelo Honey has some strong, effective, and professional musical production, imo, and the sound of it appeals to me.
     
  20. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    Yes I agree. I find Heylin's approach much more evenhanded though.
     
  21. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Looks like I've gotta get it.:righton:
     
  22. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    :D we have a lot in common...
     
  23. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    It was not a "claim" it was a "personal feeling" about the album. We often form opinions or have feelings about albums that we cannot confirm.I could have been wrong. I know Van has a deep affinity for country music, and I like the pedal steel on that album. My response "he finally made one" was meant to be a bit of a joke. I will stick by my assertion that Tupelo Honey is not a successful C&W album.:D :laugh:

    As a matter of fact I went to look for your quote, because I was interested. I was not able to find it but I did turn up the revealing comments I posted.

    I don't always say IMHO because this is a subjective thread and I am posting so it must be my opinion. If I have a source I try to give it at least a passing acknowlegement. I am enjoying the thread and getting everyone's different take on things. I also commend your idea to devote a week for each album, it allows us all enough time to participate. Cheers.
     
  24. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    I was just interested in what your "personal feeling" was based on, that's all I was getting at. Something led you to this feeling; I was just curious as to what it was.

    With respect to the quote I mentioned, I left my books at work, but if you'd like, I'd be happy to cite my source tomorrow.
     
  25. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    DJWilbur, have you been listening to St. Dominic's Preview? You're up on Monday.
    (Unfortunately, this will necessitate your putting aside the new Iron and Wine album for a spell...do it for Van).
     
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