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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. albert_m

    albert_m Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atl., Ga, USA
    to add on to my comment about his concert. I still loved it and was in awe that I was actually, finally sitting at Van Morrison concert, who is my favorite artist… he sounded great, the band was great. Yeah I would have preferred not only other songs to the last 3, but other songs in favor of anything from the last release, but it’s still Van.
     
  2. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    My copy of A Sense of Wonder arrived today (this is another one I missed the first time around). I'm listening to it now. I like the arrangements better than the synth infestation on ISOTH, but...instrumentals again? Tom's right though, the originals are good stuff. And the Ray Charles cover is very fine. But the production is murky...deep in a reverb mush that while not quite as hard to take as the ISOTH synth mush still obscures.

    Not nuts about the Mose Allison tune playing right now...

    This is cool. Didn't know Blake wrote songs :). Actually this one is interesting. Not quite like any other Van tune I recall.

    Is there something wrong with my headphone system? This is really a murky mix.

    A New Kind of Man is another perfectly good Van tune. Sounds like it could be on Enlightenment. Well other than the fact that the reverb can't get out of its own way...

    The bottom line? I don't need the instrumentals. I don't really care for the Mose Allison tune. The rest of it is good, solid Van, but I sure would like to hear a clearer, more direct mix. I don't like the sound of this record much, but I like the songs.

    Tim
     
  3. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid


    is this the new remaster by chance? or one of the earlier released cds.

    I dont recall it sounding murky, i've yet to listen to this one since I started this album, but i'm pulling it out tomorrow. I've got the original Mercury cd so more on the sound of that tomorrow....
     
  4. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    That's the one I've got with hte lovely atomic design, and as I posted up above somewhere I think it sounds a little bright. And since the week is almost up and I haven't said anything else, I guess I better put in my $.02.

    I want to like this album more than I actually do seeing as it contains perhaps my favorite Van Morrison performance of all in "Let The Slave". But the instrumentals aren't as enjoyable this time around and I do not particularly care for "The Master's Eyes" or the Mose Allison tune. The rest I like to a greater or lesser degree, but somehow it just doesn't hold together.

    "Tore Down a la Rimbaud" and "Ancient Of Days" make a jaunty little opening one-two punch that works well, good songs but neither is especially noteworthy in the Van canon. The title track feels like it's missing a certain something, may be it's the production, may be it's Moving Hearts. I like it, but something is keeping it from greatness. "What Would I Do" is one of Van's better covers. "New Kind Of Man" is fine, but feels like filler and is horribly misplaced as the album closer. For me, this album is all about "Let The Slave". Every moment is spine-tingling. Unfortunately, it fades out too soon and then. . . "A New Kind Of Man"? Bah! I would much have the "Slave" coda play out another 3 minutes of so and let the album end on that note.

    To me "Let The Slave" is quintessential Van. There is simply no other person on this earth who take that song and make it fly like that. I was shocked when I first read the credits to find he hadn't written the music and arrangement. But I wonder if this is a cover in the traditional sense. Had anyone else attempted to perform it prior to Van? Was it perhaps the product of one of those strange healing power of music conferences he was attending around this time, written especially for him? Who are Mike Westbrook and Adrian Mitchell? I don't recall any of my Van books having much to say about it. . .
     
  5. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    Not a remaster, William. It seems buried deep in reverb. Let me know your thoughts when you get a chance to listen.

    That's bad news about the remaster of ITLTSN being harsh. I have the original WB, or half of it anyway, as one of the discs got away. It is everything a live cd should be. Warm instruments are warm, bright ones are bright, all the detail is there, separation and dynamic range are wonderful, and it all rises up out of nothing but the very palpable ambiance of the room. I listened to the vinyl for years and don't miss it. Really, the only live cd in my collection I can think of that I like the sound of better is Sunday at the Village Vangard, which is otherworldly, enough to make the most dedicated question his vinyl fettish :). Is there a 5.1 DVD-A of that one? I'd have to go buy more speakers!

    I guess I'm going to have to search out a used WB of ITLTSN...

    Tim
     
  6. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Up in T.O. keepin' jive alive Thread Starter

  7. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Up in T.O. keepin' jive alive Thread Starter

    I agree with you about the placement of "A New Kind of Man," Tim. It feels like it should be song #3 or something like that. Doesn't work as an album closer, especially after the "Amen" feeling left by the powerhouse performance of "Let the Slave/Price of Experience," which, if it had been album closer, would have acted as a kind of a final benediction for both the album and listener.
    "A New Kind of Man" is anticlimactic in the same way that "Ivory Tower" seems tacked on the end of No Guru.
     
  8. John Cantrell

    John Cantrell Active Member

    Location:
    Outta here
    Doesn't bode well. Especially considering the fact that the original WB CDs of It's Too Late To Stop Now comprise one of the all-time best sounding live albums.

    It actually gets better the louder you go.

    Wild horses couldn't drag me in to make me buy these remasters. ;)
     
  9. tkl7

    tkl7 Agent Provocateur

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Well, it is better than paying the $$$ for the oop polydor remaster.
     
  10. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC USA
    I may as well contribute a few words on Sense of Wonder. This album could be titled "a period of transition." I don't dislike it but it is rather uneven and has the feeling of being cobbled together.

    I think Tore Down ala Rimbaud sort of explains why. Van managed to escape from that synth-filled saccharine sound scape, but he encountered some writer's block in the process.

    I seem to be the exception in liking Van's performance of the Mose tune. I think it is less bitter than Van's own "music business meanies" songs. I am also a Mose fan, and therefore was pleasantly surprised by the cover.

    His performance of the Slave is strong, but its not something I want to hear very often. Blake's songs of Innocence and Experience have been an inspiration to many. I also like Greg Brown's work based on them. If you are interested in Blake check them out.

    Maybe Van was finding his footing again with this album. One thing about Van I never count him out, he can always surprise me. He came back stronger.
    (Back cover photo may be the worst ever)

    The remaster dilemma is it worth it to invest in the new CDs for the bonus tracks if the sound is bad? On the positive side the used market may be flooded with those old Warners and Polydor Cds now and you can snap them up cheap.
     
  11. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Up in T.O. keepin' jive alive Thread Starter

    On Monday we'll be moving on to No Guru, No Method, No Teacher,:love: so if anyone wants to share any last-minute thoughts on ASOW or the remasters, please feel free.
     
  12. nlgbbbblth

    nlgbbbblth Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ireland
    Just listened to the new Tupelo Honey remaster.

    Again, bright - but not as harsh as It's Too Late To Stop Now.
     
  13. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    :love: ....oh, the warm feelings....
     
  14. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    So it's Monday! I hope I'm not jumping the gun. Between Blowin' Your Mind and Avalon Sunset, I am missing only Period, Sense of, and Poetic Champions. So I can't contribute to the current discussion of Sense of Wonder (though my copy is on its way).

    No Guru is actually one of my least favorite Van records. I can't help but feel it's something of a crowd-pleasing rehash and I don't feel that Van is in great voice on it. When I played Veedon some months ago I found it wasn't as strong as I remembered it, whereas No Guru had several songs I admired more than expected; but unlike BV and ISOTH (which are dated in amusing ways) I feel that No Guru's echoey production and plasticky acoustic guitars are dated in an unpleasant way. (To say nothing of "Thanks For the Information"). But it's hard to fault "In the Garden", "A Town Called Paradise", and "Got to Go Back", which do what they have to do sweetly enough.
     
  15. QuestionMark?

    QuestionMark? 4TH N' GOAL

    Location:
    The End Zone
    I totally agree, not one of my favorites. But if you can, pick up a copy of 'Poetic'. A real keeper IMO. :righton:
     
  16. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Up in T.O. keepin' jive alive Thread Starter

    NO GURU, NO METHOD, NO TEACHER

    Side one
    1. "Got to Go Back" – 5:00
    2. "Oh the Warm Feeling" – 3:16
    3. "Foreign Window" – 5:20
    4. "A Town Called Paradise" – 6:13
    5. "In the Garden" – 5:46

    Side two
    1. "Tir Na Nog" – 7:14
    2. "Here Comes the Knight" - 3:41
    3. "Thanks for the Information" – 7:16
    4. "One Irish Rover" – 3:30
    5. "Ivory Tower" – 3:34

    Personnel:
    * Van Morrison - Guitar, keyboard, saxophone, vocal
    * Jeff Labes - Synthesizer, piano, string arrangement on "Tir Na Nog"
    * David Hayes - Bass guitar
    * Richie Buckley - Tenor and soprano saxophones
    * Chris Michie - Lead guitar
    * John Platania- Additional lead guitar
    * Baba Trunde - Drums
    * Martin Drover - Trumpet
    * Kate St. John- Cor anglais, oboe
    * Bianca Thornton, Rosie Hunter, June Boyce, Jeanie Tracy - B-Vocals
    * Terry Adams - String section leader
    * Nadine Cox - Harp on "Tir Na Nog"

    Production:
    * Van Morrison - Producer
    * Mick Glossop - Engineer
    * Jim Stern - Engineer

    A remarkable achievement, this. Easily my favourite Van album and one of my top-10 favourites ever, No Guru, No Method, No Teacher is a stunning tour de force from beginning to end. An album as rich and timeless and visionary as any album ever made.

    Because of its perennial place in the top-album lists over the years, I'm left with the impression that some people might regard Van's post-Astral Weeks output as forty years of anticlimax. Indeed, there are many learned, in-the-know members of this forum who have avoided this thread like the plague.:laugh: I imagine the thinking to go something like this: "If Astral Weeks is the one Van album on the top-100 list, why should I bother with anything else? Get the acknowledged classic and be done with it."
    Astral Weeks became the standard by which any successive record would be judged. It was the token Van album (along with maybe Moondance) which populated every self-respecting music fan's collection. This stigma even stretched to reviews of later works. An unmitigated triumph like Veedon Fleece was unable to shake the comparisons and be judged on its own merit; check almost any review: it is regularly referred to being the most "Astral Weeks-like" album Van would record.
    I, myself, have been guilty of this pattern of thinking: I used to think myself clever for throwing off glib, would-be pithy remarks like "No Guru was an '80's version of Astral Weeks" or some such nonsense, before it hit me: It's the other way around. Astral Weeks is No Guru, No Method, No Teacher in embryonic form; the earlier album merely hints at the greatness of the later work, a work which features an important artist at the absolute peak of his powers. For me, No Guru is the greatest single manifestation of Van Morrison's genius thus far.

    Because this album is so very important to me, I was going to break from my traditional reviewing style and do an in-depth song-by-song analysis, but I have decided not to because it would only boil down to a reiteration of what I just stated above:
    No Guru, No Method, No Teacher is the single greatest manifestation of Van Morrison's genius thus far.
     

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  17. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid



    beautifully stated Tom and thanks again for all your efforts that are making this thread the success that it is. I'm glad to be able to help out in this endeavor, but your contributions have been so well thought out and written, makes me tremble to follow your lead....:eek:

    this is a tough record to talk about for me as well. I've had it on all weekend and its really hard to come up with the words that you hope others will find worthwhile and inspiring to hear it or relisten if they didnt get it....and have it be something of substance others can glean something from if they like it already so they can hear it the way I do, etc..

    this is one of my top three Van albums, frankly I I love every note of this album. It's a mystical, meditative, understated, and In The Garden could be, my second favorite Van Morrison tune of all time.

    its the 1980s era must have Van Morrison record....
     
  18. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    Location:
    North of Seattle
    One of my very favorite Van albums and the last time I saw him live was when he toured to support it (with a small string section included).

    My only gripe as I mentioned earlier is that "Ivory Tower" seems to be kind of tacked onto the end of the album and seems out of place. I'd have rather he's ended it with "One Irish Rover", but it's really a minor quibble.
     
  19. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Up in T.O. keepin' jive alive Thread Starter

    Man, I wish I could have seen that tour.

    I agree with you about "Ivory Tower", but I always just think of it as a built-in bonus track.:laugh: Don't get me wrong, I do love the song, but the album feels like a complete thought even without it.

    According to the Heylin book, there were no outtakes from these sessions. Any bonus tracks on a forthcoming remaster will undoubtedly be alt takes, which is still interesting to me.
     
  20. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    haha, i feel somewhat the same way, so I tend to listen to this album on random leaving it up to chance how it'll end. One of the great albums where I'm not in love with the sequencing anyway....so there is "no method" to how i listen to this one....the CD era affords the ability to leave it to chance and I do every time.

    some records I just dont know the original sequence...now Poetic, always play that one in its sequence....i need some :help: i guess....
     
  21. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    The first three songs set the mood very nicely.

    The trio of A Town Called Paradise-In the Garden-Tir Na Nog is absolutely stunning.

    After that, I tend to lose interest but that's ok. Van could have padded out the album with "Ringworm" outtakes and I'd still rate it among my favorite Van albums.
     
  22. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    :cry: me too...

    anyone got any set lists from this tour? i'd be curious to see what he'd performed with said string section....
     
  23. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    Location:
    North of Seattle
    I don't remember much other than I know "In The Garden" was played because that left an impact. I saw him in July, so the album was either just released or just about to be released. This is one of the unfortunate repercussions of Michael Hayward's site being shut down. We could have gone back and looked at the set lists from from bootlegs of that era. :shake:

    John Lee Hooker opened. :thumbsup:
     
  24. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    everytime he plays that song, it leaves an impact.....that is such a show stopper...man
     
  25. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC USA
    I saw him on the west side of Manhattan, on The Pier. It was a great show. His band was basically the same composition as the one on ITLTSN. I've seen him a few times since then, but this show stands out. He was in good voice and remained in a good mood despite problems with feedback and getting shocks.

    I will weigh in at greated length later, I'll just say that I too hold this album in high regard.
     
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