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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
    I love the early 70s Van - Astral Weeks, Moondance. St. Dominic, ITLTSN - what an incredible period. But now we're getting into my other favorite Van period, and probably the one I listen to most. I know this album well. But I'm going to listen to it again before I comment further...

    Tim
     
  2. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    I need to relisten to No Guru, too. Definitely a large step up from A Sense Of Wonder. I seem to recall a lot of reverb on Van's vocals on this one. . .

    This is the first time Van entered my musical consciousness. I remember "Ivory Tower" getting some radio play back in the day. I wasn't too impressed back then since it did not include any loud distorted guitars :)
     
  3. duggan

    duggan Forum Resident

    Location:
    sydney
    I am so relieved by the comments above after fearing that others would view this album as "just another 80's Van album". I agree it is the culmination of a seed started with Astral Weeks and developed in VF and others -it is his masterwork.

    Interesting comments above about sequencing; what other sequences work?
     
  4. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    well said.

    man the sequencing question, so hard to pick what I'd sequence it as.

    I never felt In The Garden worked in the middle of it, but I guess as a side one closer it works. Still for me, as I stated, its always on random.

    Sometimes i feel "One Irish Rover" should have started the whole thing with the "tell me a story" line and closing with "In The Garden"....that always felt like the conclusion of the song cycle to me, it certainly closed out many a live sets perfectly....

    Hey does this Heylin book list the order of songs recorded?

    an additional comment I never felt the opening track made sense as the opener. "Got To Go Back" just feels like it belongs in the middle...but thats just me...
     
  5. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    I'll try to find out tonight; my copy of the book is at home. Unless Mr. Kruppa is around to give us a hand...
     
  6. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    hey, where is Kruppa???? no guru no method no kruppa...
     
  7. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    Right over here :wave:

    Sorry I've been MIA. I do really love this album, and I've been waiting out the whole thread to listen to it again (yes I'm a patient fellow). I've got my feet propped up here on the coffee table just soaking it all in now, and hopefully I'll have something substantive to say about it later tonight.
     
  8. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    :tsk: you've robbed yourself the joys of this album all these months til we got up to it :cussing:

    .....well better late than never.....
     
  9. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    Location:
    North of Seattle
    I found the setlist for the show I attended on July 22, 1986 at the Paramount Northwest theatre in Seattle...

    1. Intro/Danny Boy/Got To Go Back
    2. Moondance
    3. Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)
    4. Vanlose Stairway
    5. She Gives Me Religion
    6. Cry For Home
    7. The Street Only Knew Your Name
    8. It's All In The Game/Make It Real
    9. Northern Muse (Solid Ground)
    10. Lark Ascending/Haunts Of Ancient Peace
    11. Cleaning Windows
    12. The Master's Eyes
    13. Beautiful Vision
    14. Dweller On The Threshold
    15. Tore Down A La Rimbaud
    16. Ivory Tower
    17. Summertime In England
    18. In The Garden
    19. Full Force Gale
    10. Rave On John Donne/Rave On Part 2

    Bob Doll - Trumpet
    Pee Wee Ellis - Saxophone, backing vocals
    David Hayes - Bass, backing vocals
    Jeff Labes - Keyboards, piano
    John Platania - Guitar
    Dahuad Sharr - Drums
    Terry Adams - Cello w/string section
     
  10. Randy W

    Randy W Original Member

    No Guru is probably my favorite Van album. Very personal for me - his masterpiece IMO.
     
  11. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    :D now thats a set list...man I'd love to hear this show sometime. Hopefully when Van rolls out his online for sale concerts, he includes something from this tour. WOW...

    THANKS for finding that.
     
  12. butch

    butch Forum Resident

    Location:
    ny
    No Guru is not my favorite Van album ,my favorite comes up about a lttle more than a decade later....But what I like about it is the musical and lyrical consistency of the songs.In addition,it marks a point where (IMHO) Van would go on to have a higher profile in the US at least with the albums that succeeded it.I felt that with this album,he hit a stride that would not let up until Back on Top.I have an old friend that claimed that old Van the Man couldn't make a bad album ,only brilliant dissapointments.Yeah,he did some questionable things in between,but I remember telling a friend back in the late 90s how Van still had it while some of his contemporary artists lost it!
     
  13. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Finally, some cover art that I like. :laugh:

    Was fortunate to listen to this upon it's release. I believe I first bought and heard it on cassette. For me, No Guru began another Van phase.

    Agreed regarding Ivory Tower. I let the cd play through the end of One Irish Rover, press stop, and I'm quite pleased and very happy right then. And as mentioned by other posters, not because I don't like IT, just because it doesn't seem to quite fit, imo.

    One of the many wonderful things about these kinds of threads is taking the time to listen once again to what's being discussed. I did listen to NGNM a few months ago, but look forward to another listen this week. Additionally, I only have a vague familiarity with post Into the Music through NGNM, but this thread will eventually give me the opportunity to better acquaint myself with that era as well.

    Some neat suggestions by people in regards with sequencing, I think. Will have to try some of those ideas out. Van says it best, about NG...

    "And it's wonderful...and it's marvelous" :D :D :D

    "Oh, the warm feeling" :) :) :)

    "go on...with the dreaming" :righton:
     
  14. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    I said a few posts back that I thought 1979's "Into The Music" was Van's first album of the 80s. This is the opening chapter of the book that inspired that comment. I missed Van's Christian period the first time around. I lost him for a few years, then picked him back up here, where he was sliding deep into a mystic universalism, a profound sense of wonder, a meditative state.

    No Guru, No Method, No Teacher.

    I've been a meditator since I was 19 years old and I can tell you this: Van was slipping in and out of a meditative state long before he identified it. The rhythm of his heart is his mantra. It hums and cycles deep in his soul and escapes him as a chant, a cry, a grunt. The mystic workout. But by the time he got to this point, though, he was recognizing it, understanding what it was and that others had found it and used it and codified it before him. But he already knew it as his own breath. He didn't need someone else's code to unlock the mystery of his own heart.

    No Guru, No Method, No Teacher.

    I hesitate to call this the opening salvo of Van's meditative period. He had been sneaking up on this one for a long time. But it is an overt declaration of intent that he continued on Poetic Champions Compose, Enlightenment and Hymns To The Silence. I love this period of Van's work. It resonates deeply with me. When my time comes to leave this place, someone will sing "into The Mystic" to my death. But when it's time to return, I'll sit in the garden and sing to my own birth:

    No Guru, No Method, No Teacher...

    Tim
     
  15. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Well said. :wave:
     
  16. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    I have a question. What does this mean: No Guru, No Method, No Teacher, Just you and I, and Nature, and the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost. This line never bothered me until recently, because however I now interpret Nature, The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost I seem to regard them as just that - gurus, methods, and teachers?
     
  17. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    Just as a matter of interest, here is Robert Christgau's review of the album. It is very dismissive, yet the majority of us posting seem to agree this is a great album. Sometimes I think reviewers cannot resist a clever wordplay, even if it short changes the music. Anyone have examples of positive reviews from the time the album was first released? I'd love to see them.

    No Guru, No Method, No Teacher [Mercury, 1986]
    No soap radio, no particular place to go, no man is an island. No spring chicken, No-Doz, no can do. B-
     
  18. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    I recently ran across a review I copied out of Stereo Review way back when. I'll transcribe it sometime during this week.
     
  19. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    Thanks I don't want to give anybody "homework," but if you get the chance it would be nice.:D
     
  20. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    I should have typed it up when I found it and just copy/pasted it for this week. I'm always waiting till the last minute, just like school.
     
  21. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    I'm not sure what Christgau's deal is, but I discovered in a King Crimson thread on this board that he dismissed the seminal Lark's Tongues in Aspic. What does he like? I don't pay enough attention to rock criticism to know, but perhaps he's one of those guys who thinks all rock music should "roll," should make you shake your booty or at least tap your foot. Or maybe not. I just know that I've seen two of his reviews dismiss, out of hand, two fabulous records recently. I don't think I'll be looking for his books.

    Tim
     
  22. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Thanks for posting this, Craig. :righton:
    Do you have any idea what the songs are that I've bolded? I don't think I know them.
     
  23. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    good morning...wow, i go to sleep and wake up to some of the most thought provoking posts yet in this long and winding Van-a-thon. thanks to all keeping this real and so illuminating.

    Wow Tim, your post really struck my mindfulness bell...:righton: ...a really right on observation IMO the more I think about it and I'll be keeping this post in mind as we move on to the next few albums.

    I've always in the past assumed this period from here to Hymns as Van in "recovery" period as well. I'd always seen it lyrically that maybe he'd gotten into a 12 step program as lyrics just seems to suggest it, his higher poweredness. Thinking on Tim's post, clearly he was on a unique path, not necessarily the one I'd assumed. Anyone know if this cat struggles with demons via alcohol?

    Also Ivory Tower, for me, it belongs, maybe because it was in my beginnings with this album one of the few songs I "got" at first. Using Tims meditation observation, i'm going to state that it still belongs even more. As any person who meditates knows, the mind will wander and no meditation practice is free from the mind wandering. Ivory Tower is Van's mind and his breathing wandering off his focus...as will happen to anyone and its part of his practice and so therefore it fits...:nauga:
     
  24. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    I do believe Van has had his share of drinking problems. I hear through the grapevine that some of his drunken "performances" have circulated as boots.

    I also know he was involved in music as a tool for healing and to reach Mystical states. He attended some seminars and was studying the use of music as a healing tool in traditional cultures. Anyone know the facts? Among other efforts, I think he attended seminars on music and healing at The Wrenkin Trust (sp?).

    Van uses Christian imagary, as well as pan-theistic, and pagen notions of "nature" and he throws in some Zen and eastern philosophy. That is one thing I like about his music, it has a spiritual component but I do not find it "preachy."

    From blues, to gospel music, to buddist chants, Mystics and the "seekers" of truth have used music to break down barriers and reach states of ecstasy. All I know is, that I don't really know what enlightenment is.:agree:
     
  25. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    +1 on that.

    Tim
     
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