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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. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    And I'm here to make sure you're not disappointed.

    Let's begin at the beginning: What we have here is quite possibly the greatest singer of the latter half of the 20th century. The last thing we need from him is instrumentals, particularly instrumentals upon which he plays sax like Kenny G's little sister and allows the rest of the space to be filled to the brim, like a gullet full of some sweet concoction gagging to be free, by the inane synth mush of Mark Isham. Isham should have been slapped for some of the crap he played on this record. That is if you can call holding a chord full of lush, meaningless synth pablum "playing."

    Next up: What else is Van Morrison? He's one of the great songwriters of our time. Yeah he has a bit more competition there than he does in the singing department, but still, he's up there. And there are some great ones on this album. Rave On, John Donne is a damn fine piece of work. So is Irish Heartbeat, The Street Only Knew Your Name and River of Time. Thank God most of them were covered elsewhere and covered well, free from the smooth jazz sensibility of this record. That's what I hear: Not New Age, but smooth jazz. Yuck. Smooth Jazz: Jazz without spontaneity or challenge. Who thought that was a good idea?

    But with all of that said, Inarticulate Speech of the Heart is like those movies I've seen, full of horrid Hollywood cliches, saved by a brilliant lead actor lifting the writing and directing way above its own empty head. The actor is Van's voice, his soul, his writing. What Inarticulate Speech of the Heart says, finally, is that you can't bury that kind of talent. Not even in heavy, syrupy gobs of smoooooth goo. Not even if you try.

    I listen to this album often. I skip the instrumentals. That's why God gave me a thumb. Well, that and to mute Shania Twain videos.

    Tim
     
  2. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    The Van Morrison website (which I've been visiting on a daily basis since DJWilbur and I started this thread) seems to be down. :confused: Hope it's just temporary; it's a great resource for the Vanophile.

    http://www.harbour.sfu.ca/~hayward/van/van.html
     
  3. jostber

    jostber Forum Resident

    Location:
    Skien, Norway
    This was actually the first Van album I got. Many years ago through a record club from a friend, and I still got that vinyl record. I think this is still a very good album, especially these classic songs still resonate in my head:

    Inarticulate Speech of the Heart No. 2
    Higher Than the World
    Rave On, John Donne
    River of Time
    Irish Heartbeat

    September Night is not among his strongest efforts though.
     
  4. jimmydean

    jimmydean Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    i absolutely second that post... my favourite van album (slightly ahead of astral weeks and veedon fleece)...
    five of his best songs:
    Inarticulate Speech of the Heart No. 2
    Higher Than the World
    Rave On, John Donne
    River of Time
    Irish Heartbeat

    and most of the other stuff is also pretty good; i also like the instrumentals... then the superb musicians (mark isham, david hayes...)...

    imho a very underrated classic...

     
  5. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    This album has never appealed to me. It is pleasant, but souless. There is nothing I can say that expresses it better than "music to play while you get a massage."(nice one Tom) My listening biases are toward more soul, jazz, and blues based music and I don't care for most synth sounds.

    I understand that "she's a sweet as Tupelo Honey, just like honey from the bee" is a fairly trite line of poetry, for some reason I can accept it. However the line "heart and soul body and mind, meet me on the river of time" always sounded like it was written by a lovesick 15 year old. Maybe it was hearing it in the context of this synth-fest.

    After connecting with Beautiful Vision, I was let down by this offering. I do occasionally play the album late at night, when I want something soothing. I also know quite a few hard core Van fans that are big defenders of this album. I think this music did expose Van to a whole new audience and that is a positive. Perhaps the "writer's block" that was exposed on the following album was already begining to surface here.

    P.S. I hope that Van site goes back up, it is exceptionally well done and packed with insightful infromation.
     
  6. Randy W

    Randy W Original Member

    I think it's important to note that on Inarticulate Speech of the Heart, Van offered “special thanks” to L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. This may help explain the "vibe" of this album and the next studio album, A Sense of Wonder. By the following two albums (No Guru and Poetic Champions) Van was getting back to his Celtic roots and achieving another high point in his artistic career.
     
  7. elborak

    elborak Forum Resident

    The "Back later..." message at http://www.harbour.sfu.ca/~hayward/van/, while certainly vague, is hopeful. And the Wayback Machine will suffice while we wait.
     
  8. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Lots of dissension in the ranks about this one, eh?

    Very interesting discussion.
     
  9. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Aha! Thank you again.

    I may be mistaken, but I think DJWilbur has this very single.
     
  10. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    Yes I have "All Saints Day" on the 12" single with Cry for Home and the best track NOT on the Live in Belfast Album "Summertime in England"

    sorry I've been M.I.A. in this thread recently. I'm so overwhelmed with work and some personal issues, I've not even had the chance to really sift through this weeks posts, but I'm devoting some time this weekend to Van and this thread...so I'll be back soon.....;)
     
  11. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    I'm not too fond of the Inarticulate Speech of the Heart album as a whole, but "Cry for Home" is one of my all-time favorite Van songs. I also like "Celtic Swing" and "Connswater".

    I much prefer "Irish Heartbeat" with the Chieftains and June Boyce's lovely accompaniment

    "Rave On John Donne" is stunning on the Live In Belfast album.

    "The Street Only Knew Your Name" - I didn't care much for the 1983 version but I remember the first time when I heard the original arranagment I was blown away. There's one early take that beats even the Philosopher's Stone version IMHO.
     
  12. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Agreed. I sometimes wonder if this remake was a bit of a mea culpa on Van's part; an act of atonement.
     
  13. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Your presence is sorely missed, sir. Come back when you can.:righton:


    "Cry for Home":
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_Siy9yyqPY
     
  14. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    I've got to find me that 12" single... I thought I had it at one point but for the life of me can't find it.
     
  15. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    After giving a good listen to the Polydor remaster tonight, I believe I will be re-acquiring the WB original (see my post above). A little too aggressively eq'd methinks. It becomes a bit fatiguing after awhile.

    As an aside, curious that remasters from Into The Music through Live At The Opera House were not released in the U.S., but all the others were :confused:

    And one more Van note of interest: Live At The Opera House makes an appearance in this year's Stereophile "Records To Die For" list, selected by editor John Atkinson. Check your local newstand :cool:
     
  16. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    A good choice for R2DF but look for prices to go up. Let's hope the reissue sounds good.:agree:
     
  17. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    I found it through GEMM a few years ago when I found out its b-side was a live version of "summertime in england".

    i'm sure there are not a lot of them in circulation. I dont see how this would have sold many units in its day. Still the one I found was basically mint never played, so they are out there in europe, look around on those websites you might score a mint one too...
     
  18. elborak

    elborak Forum Resident

    "Rave On, John Donne" plays an important role on this album.

    The instrumentals are largely forgettable. Many of the other songs, while in some cases excellently written, suffer from arrangements and production that feel too "modern" in what may have been a conscious attempt to appeal (or, if you're feeling cynical, pander) to new audiences.

    But "Rave On", while it would (and eventually did) benefit from a better arrangement & performance, can't possibly fit that mold. It's the one song on here that only those who already "get" Van would appreciate. You hear it and say to yourself "only Van can do this".
     
  19. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    give this man a cigar....agree with every word here....
     
  20. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    +1. And is there an alternate version of River of Time somewhere. What a great song searching for a great arrangement/recording.

    Tim
     
  21. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    I've been looking for one and haven't had any luck so far.
     
  22. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Below: Van Morrison demonstrates his preferred method of dining on critics, interviewers and fans.
     

    Attached Files:

  23. butch

    butch Forum Resident

    Location:
    ny
    I wonder is Van the Man angry in these photos or angry?Very cool photos anyway...........
     
  24. AudioEnz

    AudioEnz Forum Resident

    Me too. And that's a great description.
     
  25. smarone313

    smarone313 Forum Resident

    As a Van fan for over 30 years, I can clearly recall ISOTH upon its initial release and laughing out loud....I thought it was Van giving the middle finger to WB after many years. The previous year Van received a Grammy nomination for Scadinavia on Beautiful Vision. Yes -one of the finest voices in music is nominated for an instrumental. I took ISOTH as a "You liked that???? You'll love this...."
     
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