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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. jason100x

    jason100x Forum Resident

    St. Dominic's Preview is easily one of my favorite of the early VM albums. "Jackie Wilson Said" is one of the the most perfect, exuberant songs I've ever heard. My other favorite on this album is "Almost Independence Day". I have played this epic so many times and it is one of best, (as it's described here) "mystical workouts". Definitely a perfect song to get carried away listening to. Same with "Listen To The Lion", another great epic song.
     
  2. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    I had no idea that even existed!
     
  3. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    Dude, I've owned it since 1989 and I had no idea it even existed before today. My guess is I've never even spun this one before!

    its totally "my higher mystical powered church" that made me find it 5 minutes before i posted about this album. I was in the "S" section of my vinyl looking for Sylvian, who knew there was a slim non spined Van single stuffed in that area of my vinyl. go figure. I'm assuming this would have also existed as a cd single?
     
  4. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    Yeah but I'm hoping this has dynamics like we've never heard before. Is it at 45RPM?
     
  5. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    :D :laugh: :righton: :shh: :edthumbs: :goodie:
     
  6. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    Well zip-a-dee-doo-dah. :D
     
  7. pig whisperer

    pig whisperer CD Member

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    For me it is Morrison's best album since "Astral Weeks" and my favorite up to this point. This is one of the few of his albums I like side one and side two equally. He has some familiar faces backing him up on this one.

    Do we want to talk about the musicians who helped Van along the way?
     
  8. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    I'll post some bits from the Heylin book later today, as well as my own thoughts on the album, but this is certainly one of my favorite Morrison albums.
     
  9. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    I refuse to say that for any artist “masterpiece” is the lowest acceptable standard, it is unfair. Because of that I tend to divide Van's albums into two categories, sort of the earthly and the ethereal, or the sacred and the profane. This album definitely transcends the down to earth joys of a standard soul album.

    Jackie Wilson Said swings harder than any other Van song, and gives his jazz phrasing a showcase, likewise I Will Be There. One listen to Dexy’s Midnight Runners cover and the difference in delivery is obvious. I remember being delighted when Elvis Costello opened a concert with Jackie Wilson Said in the late eighties. Elvis is no lightweight and is was great to see him give a nod to Van.

    St. Dominic’s Preview is evocative and emotionally stirring. When Van was touring to promote No Guru, No Method, No Teacher, I saw him at the pier in NYC. Despite feedback and being shocked by the mike a few times he stayed in good spirits and when he came out for the encore he opened with a heartfelt rendition of St. Dominic’s Preview. It was dusk we were on the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline was rising behind the stage. The pier was right by West 52nd Street, that performance remains one of my most magical concert moments. I still get goose bumps when I hear the song.

    The heart of the album though are the two extended meditative pieces. They take us off on a modal raja trance that connects on a purely visceral level. Van himself lays it on the line in an uninhibited performance that includes grunts, groans, and growls. The listener just goes along for the ride. Here he achieves what You’re My Woman, and Moonshine Whiskey merely hinted at. I am not a fan of synthesizers but one is used here like a drone instrument in Celtic or Indian music, and it works. He succeeds beautifully and what might sound dated and comical in lesser hands has aged like fine wine.

    The album for me is as close to perfection as you can get. Even the one lightweight coming of age song Redwood is nicely performed and does not intrude. This one is on a higher plane than the two that preceded it.
     
  10. One of my favorite VM albums, great from start to finish.

    By the way, is it o.k. to discuss also the best CD version of this album? I am curious to know what people consider the best digital version.

    For me, it sure isn't the remastered CD version, I don't like the VM remasters (too bright for my liking). I do own the original WG Polydor CD and the non-remastered US WB CD. They do sound different, with the WB CD sounding a little more flat and natural and the WG Polydor has more bottom end. I am still not sure which version I like better, but I am slightly tending towards the WB CD for the moment (but it isn't a clear winner).

    I know, the best version is most likely a vinyl pressing, but I don't have a turntable at the moment, and I don't think my wife would appreciate getting one. My music collection is already taking up too much space as it is...
     
  11. ATSMUSIC

    ATSMUSIC Forum Resident

    Location:
    MD, USA


    I wouldn't put St. Dominic’s Preview and Hard Nose the Highway in the same sentence myself. St. Dominic’s Preview is considered a much better album by most.
     
  12. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    That's left up to the individual listener, of course, but I sense that Hard Nose has undergone a bit of a critical re-evaluation; I don't think it's necessarily considered a dog anymore. I think you'll find a lot of folks here hold it in high esteem.:shh: In any event, both albums, regardless of their artistic merits, signalled a big change in Van's approach is what I was getting at.
    But we're gettin' ahead of ourselves...

    Uhh, anybody notice Van has a rip in his crotch on the cover of St. Dominic's? :biglaugh:
     
  13. ATSMUSIC

    ATSMUSIC Forum Resident

    Location:
    MD, USA
    I like Hard Nose and don't think it is a Dog but I think most fans do not think it is nearly as good as the other.
     
  14. Randy W

    Randy W Original Member

    I agree. Listen to the Lion is a high point.
     
  15. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    Yes, by this time he must have made the people in the art and marketing department at Warner's so angry that they told him, "No don't worry it looks great." :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

    The content may have aged well, but the cover has not.
     
  16. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    Location:
    North of Seattle
    When I saw Elvis Costello in April he segued from Radio Sweetheart into Jackie Wilson Said and it great. :thumbsup:
     
  17. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    My first memory of this album was in a box of old LPs for sale at the Friends of the Library when I was in college. I used to go in there every month and see the record but unfortunately never bought it. I recall it was kinda scratched up, but the cover, bad as it is, was still intriguing. Something about the shade of blue that dominated the shot. I knew the name Van Morrison from Moondance, but was completely unfamiliar with Preview. Out of the same box of LPs I did end up buying Court and Spark, which I proceeded to wear out.

    Fast forward 16 years and I'm sitting here with the rain pouring down outside and "Listen to the Lion" playing in a loop through my speakers. Yes, "Jackie Wilson" is a GREAT upbeat song and "Independence Day" has it's own long rambling groove, but "Lion" is the centerpiece here, worth, as they say, the price of admission (and then some). The length of the song is more than just remarkable or some sort of high wire act, it's essential to Morrison's making his point. Try to imagine "Listen to the Lion" at half the length -- what would you cut out, how would you shorten it and still drive home the message of the title. The first half of the song lulls you and, after you've fallen under the spell, in the last five minutes Morrison and the band very subtly push those two hypnotic chords under your skin. Hacks will call it "deceptively simple," but there's nothing deceptive about it. This is elemental music. Van's in a trance, and if you're paying attention, you will be too.
     
  18. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
     
  19. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    I can see that having happened. I really can.:laugh: :thumbsup:
     
  20. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    :)

    So many Mystical Workouts by the man! And as has been already noted, at least two tour-de-force dreamscape trancelike epics for the Preview. :D
     
  21. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    And nothing too simplistic either in many of the posts and reviews regarding this album! All first-rate. :thumbsup:
     
  22. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
     
  23. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    I think that would be helpful and enjoyable, imo. :) .
     
  24. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    :winkgrin:
     
  25. mfp

    mfp Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paris, France
    When I saw Van live a couple of years ago with my girlfriend, he played Jackie Wilson Said, and when he did, my girlfriend had a big smile on her face; and indeed, I was in heaven. :)
     
    OneForFife likes this.
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