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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. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    great topic portiphish...i think his romantic/utopian view of love is so from a "young persons" place, when I know I also idealized and romanticed what I thought true love would be...but after finding my first true love, ya realize its not what you think love is, but so much more. Plus by this time he was a parent, which I'm not, but I see what a life changer it is for people. I wonder if post Planet he was in some romantic place with someone...I dont know how else he could have made this album have the feel that it does. I often think Looking For The Veedon Fleece is looking for love...he seems to have found it.

    how else could he have crafted Fair Play... "one of the most perfectly beautiful song's I've ever heard".....to coin a phrase I agree with .
     
  2. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    Feel free to chime in about latter day albums whenever you want ,if you peruse this thread, we've gone off on tangents before and comments on other albums coming from an intelligent observational place often inspire others in here to seek those later albums out giving all of us more to talk and read about down the road.

    realize this thread will span close to a full year and it should meander just the way Vans career has done so....

    dont be a stranger Baron.
     
  3. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    Mood Music For Mature Hippies

    Rolling Stones review.....

    Van Morrison is an enigmatic figure. Although he practices the art of a flamboyant soul trouper, he maintains an oddly detached, awkward stage presence. His vision is hermetic, his energy implosive; yet his vocation is public.

    These are curious contradictions for a performer to sustain, but they help lend Morrison's art its resonance. His distinction lies in his fusion of a visceral intensity with an introspective lyric style—a potentially powerful amalgam owing as much to Bobby Bland as Bob Dylan. Although his lyrics have often been ludicrous, and his bands merely competent, Morrison's singing animates his material: Like Billy Stewart, the Sixties soul artist who scatted through "Summertime," Morrison is capable of dismembering a song, using the fragments for audacious vocal flights.

    Morrison, however, is an inconsistent performer. His singing, at best fluent and assured, can become strained; his mannerisms, at best the hallmarks of a style, can become forced, unsettling like a movie out of synch; his lyrics, at best carrying the conviction of spontaneous creation, can become belabored, intentionally arty. Morrison in fact walks a thin line between pretense and passion.

    Veedon Fleece, his newest studio disc, illustrates the pitfalls in Morrison's approach. With its splintered lyrics reiterated over swells of sound, the record's first side returns to the style of Astral Weeks. While this approach can be hypnotic, its recycling on Veedon Fleece flounders in Morrison's own cliches.

    Throughout, Morrison suffers from wobbly pitch, several abortive experiments (the falsetto on "Who Was That Masked Man") and a familiar tendency to mumble rather than enunciate. Too often he suggests a pinched vocal nerve drowning in porridge.

    The lyrics add to the tedium. Take "You Don't Pull No Punches but You Don't Push the River." Prominent lines include: "Going out in the country/Get right down to the real soul/Get down to the West Coast."* Or: "We were contemplatin' William Blake and the Eternals."*

    This is pompous tripe. Van Morrison doesn't need it, and neither do we. How do you breathe soul into a phrase like "contemplatin' William Blake and the Eternals"?

    The band is mostly composed of remnants from the ill-fated Caledonia Soul Express (Van and the group have since parted ways). The charts, scored for strings and woodwinds rather than horns, try for a dreamy, pseudo-jazz feel: Instead of punching Morrison along, the band lays back and meanders. The end product is mood music for mature hippies.

    There are some exceptions. "Bulbs," launched by brushwork on the drums and clipped, almost countryesque guitar licks, features a forceful vocal. But the majority of Veedon Fleece lacks focus and drive: As a result the album sounds self-indulgent.

    Morrison's current live material takes a different tack from that on Veedon Fleece. His new trio promises to add rhythmic kick to Morrison's act, and Van himself, when last seen, sang with guts and skill. Coming from anyone else, Veedon Fleece would merely be an embarrassment: Coming from Van Morrison, it seems more like another aberration in a fitfully inspired career.

    *©1974, Warner Tamerlane Pub. Corp./Caledonia Soul Music. (RS 177)



    JIM MILLER
     
  4. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Man, that's some cold $hit.:laugh:
     
  5. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    Well at least I like Veedon Fleece a little better than Rolling Stone did.
     
  6. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter


    This is pompous tripe. Van Morrison doesn't need it, and neither do we.


    :laughup:

    this mature hippy loved that line.
     
  7. pdenny

    pdenny 19-Year SHTV Participation Trophy Recipient

    Location:
    Hawthorne CA
    I've always had a hard time with Van's falsetto workouts on VF. I just can't bear it...too piercing and unnatural. That being said, "Fair Play", "Bulbs", "Comfort You" and "Country Fair" are songs for the ages, the equal of anything on ASTRAL WEEKS.
     
  8. adriatikfan

    adriatikfan Forum Resident

    I've listened to VF a lot this week in the car, having not listened to it much over the last 10 years or so. I'd forgotten just how muci I like almost all of it and just how much I don't like 'Who was that masked man' - the falsetto vocal leaves me cold.

    I'd also forgotten how piano-based the album is - the introduction to 'Lindon Arden ...' must rate as one of the most sublime moment's in Van's output. I've never seen Van perform any tracks from this album. I'd love to hear his current touring band have a go at 'Bulbs', every bit as good as 'Domino', which I have - fortunately - seen him perform.

    I love the arrangements on this album. So - a big thankyou to the drivers of this thread for making me listen to materials I wouldn't otherwise have dug out.

    Best Wishes
    David
     
  9. pig whisperer

    pig whisperer CD Member

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    :righton:
     
  10. JohnB

    JohnB Forum Resident

    I've been a fan of Van's for almost 30 years but didn't really discover Veedon Fleece until about 10 years into it. It may sound a bit corny but the reason I did was due to a friend's cat.

    I had turned my friend on to Van's music, but up until then hadn't really given VF a good listen. He had this red haired cat with, shall we say, a Van-like temper who apparently enjoyed listening to Van along with my friend. One day the cat goes to kitty heaven and my friend, paying his last respects, puts on Fair Play, supposedly one of the cat's favorite songs (I'm just the messenger here folks...). Anyways, it sort of made me listen to Fair Play, and the rest of the album in a new light, and to this day really appreciate the album much more than I used to. Now it's in my top 5 Van albums.

    So, I owe a debt of gratitude to this furry four legged Van fan, wherever his feisty soul may be resting.
     
  11. mfp

    mfp Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paris, France
    When I saw him (three years ago), he played Streets of Arklow. It was one of the great moments of the show. There were many.
     
  12. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    That $hit is Psych 101 meets freshman composition in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think the reason why music critics choose to review artists or work they fundamentally dislike, is because when they do, the result inevitably becomes much more about them than the art or artist they are superficially writing about. It is an exercise in Me.

    Now, talking about music - here or in person - is something else altogether. I find that much more difficult to resist, and there I can be guilty of dropping the occasional negative bomb. But long-winded analysis of something I've decided I don't even like? What could possibly be the point?

    By the way, not to jump ahead, but last night I sat down and really listened to "What's Wrong With This Picture" for the first time.

    Day-um.

    Tim
     
  13. JohnB

    JohnB Forum Resident

    Van did a 25 minute long version of Streets of Arklow a few years back in one show. He did his guitar bit for about 15 minutes, amazing stuff.

    It's interesting how during this time period he'd play it one night and it might be 5 minutes long, a few nights later 25 minutes, next night maybe 10 or 12 minutes. You just never know from one night to the next what you're going to get with Van. That's what makes him great :thumbsup:
     
  14. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    you know, that Rolling Stone review, such a hoot really. reads like 17th century literature in a way. So of its "time" when Rolling Stone I guess was another magazine. Still not to take his "side" on anything, but I wonder what any Van Morrison fan of what had gone before, that live touring outfit, etc would have made of Veedon Fleece upon its arrival. I think had I heard it then, I'd of written it off. Somewhat "ahead of its time". or took a while to soak in maybe.

    there are several people in here, who really revere this one, I dont know how many felt that way on the week of its release. would be great if there were blogs back in the day to search through for clues...

    take for example this forum. I'm sure 30 years from now, readers will be astonished at the praise heaped on a recent macca album, cause I wonder if time will uphold that albums contents.... or maybe in 30 years somehow that album will finally hit me and I'll sing its praises, when my memory really is almost full, otherwise they might ask....What's Wrong With This Picture, :D

    now I love that "blue note" album. that cover too is just great and what a great listen. I love when he does jazz records. and always keep jumping ahead, everyone in here has to catch up on at least one of his records....Like the next one on tap. I've had it for a decade and barely listened to it in all this time. so i'm discovering that one now.
     
  15. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    now this is something I'd love to hear.
     
  16. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    You must be a younger man than I, William. I suspect my memory will be almost full in another twenty years, and beginning to empty out on the ground before me in 30.

    You think What's Wrong With This Picture is really a jazz album? I'm not hearing that.

    Tim
     
  17. Randy W

    Randy W Original Member

    You know, I love all Van's music (have for over 30 years), but I'd have to say the RS writer's first 3 paragraphs are not that far off. Too bad he blows it all with his review of VF. Van may not be all the writer claims him to be on purpose (pretentious), but Van can be all those things he mentioned at one time or another.

    Just depends what concert you end up seeing.

    Still, Van is one of the very few artists (like Shakey NY) whose every new album I'll buy without wanting to hear it beforehand.
     
  18. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    well no its not a "jazz album" you are hearing right....but its van in more of a jazz vein than he's normally in. I dont think he's ever done a "Jazz" album, but as he was signed to the jazz label Blue Note for this one, I think it must have inspired him a bit more to lean in their musical legacy and direction...still its all his styles jazz, soul, scat, celtic, swing, the nice horn section make this one kinda jazzy, bluesy for me. but really its all van styles on this one and I like this album a lot and I categorize it in my brain as a "jazz" record, I even "genre" tag most of the songs as "jazz" in my ipod...so they pop on when on jazz random....
     
  19. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    I think Van should do a straight jazz album. A record full of jazz standards from the man might provide a few valuable lessons for the likes of Michael Bubble and HCJ. Another great rock/pop singer who could do a killer trad jazz album is Elvis Costello.

    Tim
     
  20. pig whisperer

    pig whisperer CD Member

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    It's not a jazz record, but the horn section is king. "Saint James Infirmary" sounds like jump blues to me - I hear Cab doin' Minnie on that one. Listen to the last part of "Too Long In Exile" for some jazzy stuff.
     
  21. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    How exactly would you guys classify How Long Has This Been Going On?
     
  22. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    Soul.

    Tim
     
  23. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Maybe I was on to something during the HNTH discussion when trying to figure out Snow In San Anselmo, and mentioning Tim Buckley. :) .
     
  24. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    No, but now that you mention it. :) .
     
  25. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    Yep. I actually heard "The Mystery" before I ever heard "Country Fair". It jumped out at me instantly. Good thing he didn't get sued for plagarizing himself like John Fogerty did. :D
     
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