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VAN MORRISON Album by Album Discussion: Part 2 (Wavelength 1978 - Enlightenment 1990)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Clarkophile, Nov 26, 2007.

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  1. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    I'll try to post something from the book tonight.
     
  2. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Very good, because William has been threatening to make use of the tsk-tsk smiley.
     
  3. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    :eek: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  4. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    Oh no, not THAT!!!!! :eek:
     
  5. garyt

    garyt Forum Resident

    Great post on one of my favourite VM albums, can I present an alternative to the above?
    I've always heard it as "send me your Gita." as in Bhagavad Gita, the sacred Hindu text. As Krishna, who is believed to narrate the 'gita, is also mentioned in the song, perhaps this makes more sense than 'guitar'?
    Gary
     
  6. elborak

    elborak Forum Resident

    I had always heard this as "Send me your Gita" as well.
     
  7. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    +1
     
  8. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Nice catch! I agree.

    Another place the reviewer got it wrong is the lyric from "Cleaning Windows": Van doesn't sing "What's my life?"; he's singing "What's my line?"
     
  9. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Anyone familiar with the radio broadcast Live in Werchter July 3, 1983, where Van performs some nice versions of Beautiful Vision material:
    1 intro
    2 Vanlose Stairway
    3 Help Me
    4 Beautiful Vision
    5 Not Amused
    6 Cry for Home
    7 Cleaning Windows
    8 It's All in the Game
    9 She Gives Me Religion
    10 Haunts of Ancient Peace
     
  10. elborak

    elborak Forum Resident

    That's a new one to me. Do those performances differ significantly from the Grand Opera House concerts 4 months earlier? The setlists overlap quite a bit.
     
  11. elborak

    elborak Forum Resident

    (Barely too late to edit my last post...)

    It's interesting that the Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart was Van's current release at the time of this concert (coming out in March of '83) and yet he only performed 1 song from that album. And 5 from Beautiful Vision.

    Don't know if I want to read too much into that, but it's curious.
     
  12. adriatikfan

    adriatikfan Forum Resident

    I'd always understood this as a reference to the TV show 'What's my line?'where contestants had to guess the occupation acted out by others

    Best Wishes
    David
     
  13. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Yep, me too.:righton:
    Here's some interesting details about "Cleaning Windows" from Steve Turner's It's Too Late To Stop Now:

    There's a funny and revealing anecdote in the Heylin book about the session for "Cleaning Windows." If Jason doesn't beat me to it, I'll type it out later.
     
  14. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    I think the Beautiful Vision stuff really came to life on stage. There's an ooomph to the arrangements that's missing on the album.
     
  15. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    Beautiful Vision was an album that did not hit me on first listen. Arriving on the heels of two albums I loved; I was eager to give it a spin. Initially, I was rather neutral about it. Over time, however I found myself listening to it more and more. Ultimately it became a comforting stand by.

    It was the early 80's, Punk was morphing into techno-pop. Drum machines and synthesizers were everywhere. Bands like Haircut 100, Culture Club, Fun boy 3 or ABC were like aural potato chips. They were fun to listen to too but lacked any nourishment. Eventually, the sound of those bands drove me away from the radio, it was just a placebo for music.

    Meanwhile, here were Van's vaguely spiritual lyrics referencing touchstones from Kerouak, and Zen, to the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible. Everyone was looking at the stock market, they were all "doing deals." Artists were talking like investment bankers and investment bankers were talking like artists and Van was Cleaning Windows. He sang of the joys of honest work and the aroma of fresh baked breads. A real down to earth grounded working man. He also gives us Rays, Muses, Mists and mysterious stairways to bridges where angels dwell, this is not the material world, leave that for the material girl. As usual Van gives us both the earthly and the ethereal, the flesh and the spirit.

    His chugging rhythms are a bit mechanical at times but ultimately they keep the songs moving like a reliable locomotive. There is less of the soulful R&B edge that I generally like, but it is there flavoring things. Instead this is the Celtic JJ Cale album. The whole enterprise teeters on the edge of the saccharine, but somehow it manages to walk that edge and remain ethereal and evocative. Even the sentimental instrumental Scandinavia is redeemed by a lack of pretense and an elegant simplicity. To my ear it finishes off the album perfectly; it leaves me sated like a nice brandy after good meal.

    This album was so out of step with the cultural zeitgeist of the eighties it ended up providing me with an aural respite. I went back to it again and again as a musical tonic. I had a close friend that committed suicide around that time, and because of that songs like Dweller On the Threshold resonated with me. No magical mystical workouts, but an overall mystical vibe.

    In the midst of the general rise in status symbols, excessive consumption, and glorified acquisition the notion that "glamour" was a problem rang true. Van sang "So many people going down to the river to get clean, The fog of illusion the fog of confusion is hanging all over the world" and it sounded like a grounded observation, not like preaching. As Al Green said, "take me to the river."

    A final thought, to my ears this album has never sounded right on CD. The vinyl has that hi-hat under control and has a more satisfying coherence. Maybe the re-re-master will correct the problem. I hope so.
     
  16. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Great review, Sneaky Pete. I like how you contrast Van's spiritual quest with the soulless superficiality/materialism of '80's culture.
     
  17. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    Yeah been a little busy in the evenings, sorry about that. I'll shoot for tonight.
     
  18. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Do you know the bit I'm talking about? Mr. Knopfler's experience with El Vanno?:laugh:
     
  19. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    yup, I sure do. Read on...

    Beautiful Vision

    sessions:
    May 1981 - Record Plant, Sausalito CA
    Scandinavia
    [outtakes] All Saints' Day (released as a B-side), Daring Night I, Daring Night II, Cleaning Windows, Cleaning Windows II, Down the Road I Go, Celtic Ray, All Saints' Day

    27 July 1981
    Cleaning Windows, Aryan Mist

    Summer 1981
    She Gives Me Religion, Northern Muse (Solid Ground), Celtic Ray, Across the Bridge Where Angels Dwell, Beautiful Vision, Dweller on the Threshold, Vanlose Stairway
    [outtakes] Real Real Gone, Tore Down A La Rimbaud, Still a Man's World, Lovin' You

    From Can You Feel The Silence?
    369
    [After the first sessions] when work resumed, again in California, songs of a different hue began to occupy tape, drawing, as "Celtic Ray" did in its use of the word "ray" to describe the pull of home, from a treatise on "a world problem" entitled Glamour, which had been telepathically "communicated" to Alice Bailey back in the forties by an unidentified Tibetan master. In Glamour, the Ray comes in seven factors: soul, personality, mind, emotional nature, physical vehicle, the energy of the sun sign, and the influence of the rising sun. Morrison was thoroughly taken with the ideas Bailey expressed in her book, and duly credited her on the sleeve of Beautiful Vision as the inspiration behind a number of the songs on the album, notably "Dweller on the Threshold" and "Aryan Mist."

    371
    The first set of sessions had employed those musicians with whom he had played a memorable residency at the Great American Music Hall in March 1981...By the time Morrison resumed recording -- the line-up now augmented by girl singers, Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler and his old Moondance drummer Gary Malabar -- he had completed the words to "Cleaning Windows" to his satisfaction....Malabar remembers [Knopfler] "being very disillusioned recording with Van, because Van moved so quick. He was so looking forward to doing stuff with Van. I think he wanted more time, and a nicer flow. It was like, "What just happened?" "Erm, guess what, you just recorded a tune and we're done."
     
  20. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    The Knopfler anecdote isn't the least bit surprising. You can hear the difference in their work - Knopfler's being a very polished and deliberate studio product, Van's albums, even studio albums, often having a very live feel. They both make great records, but they clearly come at it from very different directions.

    Tim
     
  21. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    thanks for your well thought analysis and sorry about the loss of your friend. Putting it in context for the time really is significant to me, and Really, this album would be a welcome message if it were new in 2008 as well. culturally, it feels like you're talking about right now in time Pete.....though I found Fun Boy Three quite nourishing...hahaha, ok, maybe not their coupling with Bananarama, but I think they were on to something and there is nothing else quite like that trio.
     
  22. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    TRUE! Especially those haircuts. I did enjoy listening to some of those 80s pop records. Great ear candy.

    I do think Van puts a high value on spontanaiety and "live" studio performances. He works basically in the "old fashioned" way. Cut him while he's hot.

    Maybe Mr. Knopfler got to hang out with Van more on the Sailing to Philadelphia sessions. He was setting the time tables. I guess he got the "last laugh." (sorry about that)
     
  23. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Have you heard that track? Somehow I missed it altogether.
     
  24. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    Yes it's a good cut. I like the whole album. When Van's voice comes in it is the essence of "soul." Its a good sounding CD as well.
     
  25. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    :agree: Sailing To Philadelphia is very good musically and sonically. The Van cut is nice, but I wouldn't call it a highlight of the album.
     
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