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. dee

    dee Senior Member

    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Ah-ha! Phil Stone (who he?) arrived in the mail - scary thought! Ok then, try again. The Philosopher's Stone (and it was Heavy and Light) arrived yesterday, and I had The Pleasure of listening to the HNTH Outtakes. All afternoon and all of the night. My, My, My! Madame Joy, Laughing In The Wind, Contemplation Rose. Superb. Wonderful Remark is Splendid. I thought of Astral Weeks as I heard this song. The recording notes show the song being written in '69? Was it recorded for AW? Lover's Prayer and Not Supposed To Break Down, imo, are marvelous performances and recordings. I really like them both. I don't even think they're particularly excellent songs, but when Van says, "Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord" and "Not Supposed to Break Down," it speaks to so much more than just the lyric.
  2. dee

    dee Senior Member

    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Can we start a list of Van Music Business Songs? That might be "fun." We could make a comp of all of them! So far, is it just Great Deception and Drumshambo Hustle?
  3. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Uh Huh

    Big Time Operators
  4. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Looks like we've stopped discussing ITLTSN. Would it be a gross violation of the rules to move on to Veedon Fleece a couple of days early?


    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    yeah, i'll fire this one up a little early. I'm still tweaking my "essay"...hahaha...

    check back later tomorrow....we'll give all those who "insisted" on a week for ITLTSN to get their last bits in....

    of course as a filler, please feel free to discuss anything about Van and Live material from the 70s. there is a lot of this out there, that lets face it, we all might want to spend this next day or two discussing some of that?

    fillmore west show, Pacific High Studio, Troubadour, etc. etc. we'll be looking for that veedon fleece soon...
  6. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    So I just listened to ITLTSN on the big rig tonight for the first time (first time on the big rig--not first time ever). It's the only one of Van's 70's albums that I have as a remastered Polydor instead of an un-remastered WB. Back when I was snapping up his catalog in the late 80's-early 90's ITLTSN just seemed too expensive and the setlist didn't excite me. So, many years later, I eventually snagged a used copy of the Polydor. Let me just say it's a little shrill, not a complete catastrophe, but I could feel my ears breath a sigh of relief when I switched to my WB Veedon Fleece disc. I'm hoping a used WB copy will turn up after the upcoming reissue. I can only remember seeing the WB version once in a used shop and not in good condition. Come to think of it, I think the only time I've seen the Polydor version used was the time I bought it.

    All of which reminds me of an interesting tidbit. Back in the mid 90's when the Polydor remasters were coming out, a writer in the Dallas Morning News did a story on whether all the new remasters coming out in those days were really worthwhile (talk about being ahead of the curve). The story featured comparisons of several remastered and original discs. I distinctly recall that one of the discs he analyzed was Wavelength of all albums, and he said the remaster was not an improvement at all and just made the music sound a little screechier (or some other similarly unpleasant adjective). Based on that article I was never tempted to replace any of my WBs even before I found this place (the fact that there were no bonus tracks helped, too).

    Enough digression, a little something about the actual music. Although it is a very good live album, I've always been a little disappointed with ITLTSN, I guess because it had such a huge reputation to live up to. Part of my disappointment lies with the track selection. Where in the world is "Tupelo Honey" for starters? And part of it is that I actually enjoy the way Van handles the covers more than the way he handles most of his own material. The only songs that I think are hands-down better than the studio versions are "I've Been Workin'" and "Wild Children" and I still don't particularly like "Wild Children" (see my comments on Hard Nose above). I'm particularly disturbed by the tempo change for "Into The Mystic". I feel like Van is messing with something sacred when he speeds it up (ironic since I learned from another thread on this forum that I've never heard the original intended mix of that song).

    Anyway, sorry to interrupt the mad dash toward Veedon Fleece. . .
  7. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    I agree Into The Mystic does not work that well. He seems to rush through it, maybe my least favorite song on the album. Of course the studio version is so magical it sets a high bar.

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    No, thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts an analysis. I've only got the remastered cd, and i've never really enjoyed listening to it, though not realizing it probably has a lot to do with the mastering of this title.

    very hard for me to listen to....

    any more thoughts on the live album....going once.....
  9. dee

    dee Senior Member

    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Side One:
    Hard Nose The Highway
    Wild Children
    Contemplation Rose
    Snow In San Anselmo

    Side Two
    Madame Joy
    Warm Love
    Laughin' In The Wind
    Autumn Song

    No Covers. All Van Songs. HNTH as a single album, from the HN Sessions. My lil' version of HNTH as a single album. :D .

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    any more thoughts on the live album....going twice....
  11. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Charlotte,NC's great? Better than Live at the Filmore?

  12. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    If you inserted "Warm Love" where "Wild Children" is, you'd have a Tom-approved side 1 for HNTH.:) :thumbsup:
    Seriously though, what was he thinking keeping "Contemplation Rose" under wraps all those years? It's bloody brilliant.
  13. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    Before the door is slammed shut on this double live masterwork, which songs are the full length, and not edited down as on original album? I think someone side running time was a minute or two longer here on Polydor remaster?
  14. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    I believe there was a separate thread discussing this issue not too long ago. . .
  15. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    New Orleans, LA
    My brother got white vanned once.

    Ok firing up Veedon in anticipation of William's thesis.
  16. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    Anytime now...
    Okay, cue the drum roll...

    Attached Files:

  17. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    BELOW: Rare outtake from Veedon Fleece cover photo shoot:
    (A youthful DJWilbur pictured at back-right)

    Attached Files:

  18. dee

    dee Senior Member

    ft. lauderdale, fl
    And that must be Van on the left. :righton:
  19. dee

    dee Senior Member

    ft. lauderdale, fl

    :thumbsup: . I can't get those outtakes from HNTH that are on PS out of my head! From Steppin' lightly, steppin brightly to a church in Spanish Harlem, etc...

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    Veedon Fleece

    Warner Bros. 2805-2
    (Released October, 1974)

    Fair Play (6:12)
    Linden Arden Stole the Highlights (2:36)
    Who Was That Masked Man (2:42)
    Streets of Arklow (4:32)
    You Don't Pull No Punches, But You Don't Push the River (8:48)
    Bulbs (4:15)
    Cul de Sac (5:42)
    Comfort You (4:21)
    Come Here My Love (2:18)
    Country Fair (5:35)
    Total time: (47:48)

    David Hayes: Bass
    John Tropea: Guitar
    Jeff Labes: Keyboards
    Joe Macho: Bass
    Van Morrison: Guitar/Keyboards/Saxophone/Vocal/?
    Jim Rothermel: Wind
    Nathan Rubin: Strings
    Jack Schroer: Piano/Saxophone
    Allen Schwarzberg: Drums
    David Shaw: Clarinet/Percussion
    James Trumbo: Keyboards
    Ralph Wash: Guitar

    Oh man, where do I start looking for the Veedon Fleece with William Blake and the Eternals and the Sisters of Mercy….Oh lordy, this is the one…

    By far, my absolute favorite Van Morrison album, and certainly a desert island grab if I can only take one.

    I will start with the first time I heard this album. I was at work, it was around 1989. It was early on a Wednesday, the day I would go in early to generate weekly reports and working alone with the glow of an early green screen monochromatic computer screen with not much lighting turned on in my space… I was in a quartet of cubes, no windows in my vicinity (criminal that really, though it was grey out, dark and rainy and I was alone.)

    My co-worker and fellow Van fan Tim, comes in and he says “hey, check this out”. And on went Fair Play….and lemme tell ya, I levitated into another space almost instantly “where the lakes are so blue and the architecture I’m taking with my mind, so fine”. that opening verse…..

    Fair play to you
    Killarney's lakes are so blue
    And the architecture I'm taking in with my mind
    So fine...

    …sets such a mind place, an instant alternate universe, with its delicate guitar strumming, understated bass and drums, playful and delightful piano playing…very jazz trio in vibe. Words were hitting me “carried on…”, “only one meadows way to go”, “Geronimo”, “high-ho silver”, “tit for tat”, “love you for that”, “let it dream”….all these great word couplets he keeps repeating, saying so many different things and emotions and meanings to me. By the end of the song, I’m like “Yo Tim, I gotta hear that again, play it again”. So we’re sitting there getting very little work done and we can’t really move on to track 2, we keep hitting repeat. It is an astonishing 6 minutes.

    and I say “Geronimo”! You all have to jump into this album if you don’t already know it!

    I love his vocals on this track especially and on the whole album in general. He drags out syllables all over the place, so perfectly, musically. He’s a master at this by this time. Its sublime really, his delivery of these mystical, magical, playful, spiritual, geographical, romantic, pastoral, peaceful lyrics. He “don’t pull no punches” on this one.

    Linden Arden, second up just builds and builds with emotion and when its over “Who Was That Masked Man” starts with an emotive burst and settles into a mostly falsetto rendering of maybe the oddest lyrics on the album. But this falsetto is absolutely Vantastic. Certainly with this song and the “hi-ho silver” and “Geronimo” bits from Fair Play, he had some wild-west thoughts going on in his head when crafting these tunes.

    I think this is the time Van himself moved back home to Ireland and this place change so infuses this very celtic feeling album. Songs like Linden Arden Stole the Highlights, Country Fair and Streets of Arklow, so pastoral, so celtic, so wonderfully worldly.

    It was shortly after getting to know this album that it inspired me to take a trip to Ireland. I had to see where the lakes were so blue and go looking for this Veedon Fleece he speaks about. I needed to be in the place where those gorgeous dogs, castles, grasses dwelt. I’d of never thought I’d ever go to Ireland. Without this album entering my psyche I don’t think I would. Of course it came with me on a cassette tape which I wore out driving all around Ireland for two weeks and it’s this album and this time that Van becomes iconic for me and that’s lasted to this day.

    I’d danced with Van in the early years as a kid cause I liked Jackie Wilson, Wild Nights, etc….and then stopped paying attention until I discovered Poetic Champions Compose when that came out. He won me back as a fan with this release. I was now an “adult”, there were jazz leanings there, cool soulful jazz, from here I checked out The Guru, the Wonder, the Silence, the Sunset and I was Enlightened and I became a real Van fan, not just his hits.

    Veedon was the one that cemented it hook line and sinker. Anyone who loves Astral Weeks, and has not heard this one really needs to. It’s different, I prefer this one to Astral, but these two are twin sons of different mothers in a way.

    One of my biggest regrets, or really disappointments is since I’ve seen this guy live at least a dozen times, I’d never been lucky enough to catch even one of these songs live in concert. I know in recent years, since the country record came out he’s been touring with a certain instrumentation lineup and sometimes they go into a Veedon track, but not the three times I’ve seen him with this assortment of instruments, but they say good things come to those who wait, so maybe someday. I’m not even aware of bootlegs with much of this material available, I’d love to hear him sing Fair Play live but I don’t think he ever has? I’d love to know what you all know on this.

    Back to the record…I love the four “c”s that close this one out. Cul De Sac, Comfort You, Come Here My Love and the sublime Country Fair. Wow, starting with Bulbs and into those four songs, side two is just perfection. Bulbs is the one that sounds like previous Van records, probably meant as the “radio tune”, its an odd duck in the middle of the cd, but as the opener for side two it’s a mighty nice beginning with tempo, as the rest of this side is quite pastoral and mellow.

    Country Fair is so peaceful, so beautiful, that flute line is so perfect, it’s like watching the last bits of a sunset as the sun slowly disappears below the horizon. This song is an audio sunset. A perfect Avalon sunset for the mind, so fine….

    Attached Files:

  21. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    Veedon Fleece is not only Van Morrison’s best album thus far, it is the best album he produced in the entire decade of the 1970's, and a strong contender for the finest artistic achievement of his career.

    In my review of St. Dominic’s Preview, I commented that it--along with the uneven followup, Hard Nose the Highway--were better choices for the title A Period of Transition than the album which eventually came to bear that name in 1977. In those two albums, Van seemed to me to be grappling with the pull to do more introspective, less overtly commercial music, and the push from the Music Biz to sell, sell, sell. As a result, happy-go-lucky singles (“Jackie Wilson Said”) sat somewhat awkwardly alongside mature workouts like “Listen to the Lion” and “Almost Independence Day” on the former; while on the latter, traditional, tightly focused Van love songs like “Warm Love” sat uncomfortably next to bold experiments (“Snow in San Anselmo”) and extended, deliberately lazy, mood pieces (“Autumn Song”).

    Veedon Fleece, we can see with benefit of hindsight, amounts to a declaration of a resolution to this problem: Like Neil Young, Van has abandoned the middle of the road. Unlike Neil Young, however, Van didn’t go to the ditch; he’s gone off into a green meadow looking for William Blake and the Eternals. And all of them are looking for the Veedon Fleece.

    I think the overriding theme here is movement. Walking down streets, the unstoppable flow of rivers, this is the most common imagery employed to communicate this idea, from “as we walk down the street” in “Fair Play” to walking down the “Streets of Arklow,” to the cobblestone in "Cul De Sac." The title character of “Linden Arden Stole the Highlights” is on the run after killing his would-be attackers; “Who Was that Masked Man” picks up Linden’s story, and tells of continuing movement:
    “You can’t slow down and you can’t turn ‘round, and you can’t trust anyone.”

    The mixed metaphor of “You Don’t Pull No Punches, But You Don’t Push the River” provides a dual image of record company pressure versus the inexorable force of Van’s artistic will. In my opinion, the “Veedon Fleece” is itself a symbol for Van’s faith in his muse. The search for this muse’s message–or, more importantly, the movement toward this message–is the path which will dominate Van’s career from here on in. The days of writing to order are over. To Van, the dubious pursuits of record company executives are as illusory as the mythology of the Veedon Fleece would be to someone who doubts its existence.
    Stone cold reality is the pursuit for the Veedon Fleece.

    Veedon Fleece is an album about faith.
  22. pig whisperer

    pig whisperer CD Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    A nice companion piece to "Astral Weeks" and a great bunch of songs. I like his vocal on this one - which was the deciding factor when I bought this, and Elvis' "The Memphis Record," as my first CD purchases (at Tower Records in Tokyo).

    Side one is great. "Streets Of Arklow" is my favorite and I am glad to see it on disc three of the new "Greatest Hits" comp. On side two "Cul De Sac" is my favorite. The last three songs on the album are kind of boring (to me) and I only listen to the first seven tracks on CD and then play something different. Still, those seven tracks are worth it.

    The sound of my U.S. and Japan copies are a bit different and I keep them both. The sound of the Japan compliments the sound of my prefered Australia "Astral Weeks" for a nice double shot.

    Some have commented that "Common One" completes the trilogy.

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    Ahhhh, that it does.
  24. dee

    dee Senior Member

    ft. lauderdale, fl
    I confess I've never heard Common One, and with that reference to a trilogy, the 40% off Borders cd's coupon, will be used for just that.
  25. dee

    dee Senior Member

    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Nice! :nauga:
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