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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. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    It's been nearly 20 years since I read it, but if I recall correctly, in his 1989 Rolling Stone interview, Van mentioned something about going to AA meetings.
     
  2. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    Does anyone know anything about June Boyce, who sings on NGNMNT, and continued with Poetic Champions Compose and Irish Heartbeat? I always thought she had a lovely voice but could never find any information about her, or who else she's sang with.
     
  3. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Excellent point.
     
  4. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Christgau is a genius - the most readable and literate rock critic who's ever been. Granted, there's not a lot of competition, and sometimes he flaunts his literacy at the expense of sense/insight, but his review of NGNMNT is top-flight Xgau, and more than just clever wordplay - it's an incisive, point-by-point critique:

    No soap radio = see wikipedia. An entrapment game/private joke, meaning NGNMNT comes off as Van putting one over on his audience by giving them what they seemed to want (i.e., another Veedon Fleece).

    no particular place to go = self-explanatory: the album goes nowhere. Also a Chuck Berry song, implying that NGNMNT hasn't got anything resembling rock and roll on it.

    no man is an island = well-known aphorism, Donne I think, essentially a complaint that the album is solipsistic.

    No spring chicken = "Van is getting old and lazy"

    No-Doz = a kind of caffeine pill; means essentially "the album puts me to sleep"

    no can do = "it doesn't work for me".

    I don't agree with all of Christgau's implied quibbles, and a B- is hardly a disastrous grade, but there's no denying the tightrope artfulness of his compressed critique.

    Christgau is actually a huge Van fan. (He gave virtually all the early albums A's, as well as ITM, BV, Avalon Sunset (!) and Too Long in Exile (!!). He also recently (ten or eleven years ago) called Moondance his one desert-island disc.
     
  5. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    Rolling Stones No Guro 4 1/2* review



    No guru, no method, no teacher, no tunes – like most of his recorded work this decade, the latest epistle from pop's high priest of Celtic mysticism sounds on first approach like another meditative stroll through an outdoor folk-jazz chapel of Astral Weeks design. Serene hymns like "Oh the Warm Feeling" and "Foreign Window" are marvels of dynamic understatement. Morrison's lyrical equations between spiritual devotion and earthly love are gently buoyed by drummer Baba Trunde's feathery brushwork and the distant hosannas of a female backup quartet. It's a fragile, familiar schematic, laid out over haunting, circular melodies airbrushed with acoustic guitars and often abruptly broken up by Morrison's idiosyncratic vocal phrasing.

    But the lakeside calm of this record is fraught with an unexpected tension. In the otherwise bucolic "A Town Called Paradise," Morrison rips into the Springsteen-Seger generation of Van disciples ("Copycats ripped off my songs/Copycats ripped off my words/Copycats ripped off my melody") with a venomous grumble that sounds like Mark Knopfler with a toothache. "Ivory Tower," an upbeat whack of Stax & roll, is in turn a heated defense of his own uncommon art, not to mention the first real blast of prime "Domino"-style sing-along Morrison in some time. "Don't you know the price that I have to pay," he sings in the final verse, chewing on his words with righteous indignation. "Do you think that there's nothing to it/You should try it sometime."

    In the end, though, No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (a line from the sweet "Madame George"-like reverie "In the Garden") is Morrison's impatient declaration that his music is not to be confused with religious doctrine, a call to any particular altar. "Got to Go Back" reveals the spiritual core of Morrison's work when he recalls schoolboy days communing with Ray Charles records after class – "Oh that love that was within me/You know it carried me through" – and ultimately it is that kind of elemental soul that resonates throughout this album. "Breathe it in all the way down," Morrison instructs at one point in "Got to Go Back," "and breathe it out with a radiance." Then just bask in the glow. (RS 482)



    DAVID FRICKE
     
  6. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    At least Fricke appreciated it.
     
  7. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    Location:
    North of Seattle
    "Lark Ascending": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lark_Ascending. They probably performed this since they were playing with a string section.

    "Make It Real" is on A Night In San Francisco paired with "It's All In The Game". Full title is "Make It Real One More Time".
     
  8. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Thanks, Craig.
     
  9. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    intersting to note his new album is called "Keep It Simple"...which I know is a fairly standard 12 step program saying.


    London – on March 17, Exile Productions/Polydor Records will proudly release Keep It Simple, the new album from Van Morrison.

    Keep It Simple is Morrison’s first album of new material since 2005, and the first in several years in which he penned all 11 songs specifically for one album. In the interim the legendary artist had a year that may be unprecedented for any living artist, having released three separate collections of his hits, with the latest, Still On Top entering the UK charts at #2 and selling platinum, proving the ongoing appetite for his unrivaled work.

    Van Morrison’s music has always incorporated the widely varied influences he heard and absorbed since his childhood days on the streets of Belfast - long before the bands of his youth and his initial breakthrough with Them. On Keep It Simple, Morrison honours all those varied influences - jazz, folk, blues, Celtic, country, soul and gospel - at times melding them all together at once in his own signature sound. “I felt I had something to say with these songs…” he explains. There is a definite theme that recurs throughout the album, especially in the title track.

    In keeping with that idea, Keep It Simple does not boast the big horns or string arrangements of some of Morrison’s previous work. What it does feature are gorgeous songs rich with emotion, depth and beauty. As on the poignant “Soul,” where Morrison repeats the chorus, as if to subtly remind us that, “Soul is a feeling, a feeling deep within. Soul is not the colour of your skin.” Morrison explains his approach with the track “Entrainment” - “Entrainment is when you connect with the music… Entrainment is really what I’m getting at in the music…It’s kind of when you’re in the present moment – you’re here – with no past or future.”

    Whether it’s the easy country gospel of “Song of Home” or the bluesy swing of “How Can A Poor Boy,” throughout Keep It Simple Morrison exudes a wisdom gained through five decades of making groundbreaking music. Few artists have successfully recorded in as many genres of music as Van Morrison, and even fewer have remained as relevant for as long (only Ray Charles, with whom Van collaborated, comes to mind). Morrison has done so by constantly moving forward and never sitting still. On the heels of a series of "Best Of" releases, this record starts fresh with what could well be a record full of all new classics.


    I suggest we buck the trend and discuss this album the week of March 25th...to take a break from the past...and deal with his future, then we can close the albums portion of this thread with a revisit to this album to see how its grown in our estimation's over the months....any thoughts on this? be a nice change
     
  10. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Sounds good, William.
     
  11. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    I'm glad that you enjoy his writing, I read him weekly in the Village Voice for decades. I was genuinely sorry to see him fired.

    Still I found this particular review glib, and dismissive, as you say "at the expense of sense/insight." Bottom line is we all have different tastes and that is one reason I like the thread. Someone might say something to trigger me in a different direction.

    Still I liked Fricke's review better. :D
     
  12. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    "Entrainment..... don't know what it is."


    Sorry, couldn't resist.
     
  13. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    I think too, for me in any case....No Guru was a record that took time for me to fall in love with. Any Van record for me needs a few months to digest, which is why I suggest we talk about his new one first week and then again at the end of this thread, it will be interesting to see how we all grow with it for instance.

    for me Christgau put this record down in words but gave it a pretty good letter rating, odd that, maybe he knew over time this record could be much greater than his mind could grasp at the time, so he was glib about it, but also cover his butt about it.

    Music critics are an odd bunch to say the least.
     
  14. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    one more Keep it Simple thread crap....

    'Keep It Simple' is the man's thirty-third album. As the title suggests, this is a stripped-back album devoid of the horns and/or strings-led production of yore - and instead the bare bones of Morrison's influences show through: Celtic folk, jazz, country music, blues and soul.

    1. How Can A Poor Boy?
    2. School Of Hard Knocks
    3. That's Entrainment
    4. Don't Go To Nightclubs Anymore
    5. Lover Come Back
    6. Keep It Simple
    7. End Of The Land
    8. Song Of Home
    9. No Thing
    10. Soul
    11. Behind The Ritual
     
  15. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    :whistle:

    No Guru No Method still No Jason....:(
     
  16. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    He's consulting the Heylin book and unavailable for comment at the moment...
     

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  17. butch

    butch Forum Resident

    Location:
    ny
    A lot of Van's albums are jewels and on this album there is a similarity to the arrangements and songs(a sameness if you will) that really doesn't detract from the beauty of the music and its marriage with the words.In essence,Van is not mixing up the pot with a melange of blues,r & b,and irish/celtic influences.That's Ok,because each song on the album forms part of a whole.Look,this album is a beginning of another era of quality for Van, so I don't understand Christgau's grade.I loved the albums that came after this one,so I think that this album belongs in the same class.Is it his greatest?,Not in my opinion but it is a great one.I can't wait until we flashfoward to 1997,then I can talk about my favorite Van the Man piece.....
     
  18. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    Well put, I see this as the beginning of a nice string of albums...and it's a good month for Van listening...
     
  19. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Kate St. John's cor anglais/oboe playing is gorgeous on this record.
     
  20. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    But I think my favorite touch is the clarinet/soprano sax on "Oh the Warm Feeling". A great solo there.
     
  21. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Does anyone know if "Oh the Warm Feeling", "Tir Na Nog", "Foreign Window", "A Town Called Paradise" or "Thanks for the Information" were ever a part of the live show?
     
  22. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    Hi. Fanboy here. I thought about this question a lot one time. I don't remember why because the thinking on it damaged my memory of the event. I concluded that the best I could do is come up with "greatest example of an era..." albums. Even then it was a cell-burner. I can name quite a few Van records that I could drop from my collection if I had to. But a greatest? A one desert Island VM record? I have to choose between Astral Weeks, St. Dominic, ITLTSN, Veedon Fleece, Into The Music, etc., etc., etc.?

    Well, if I had to choose....:winkgrin:

    This is like my answer to my wife when, one evening at an Indian restaurant as I was munching on something quite hot she asked, "What will you do if you if you ever develop acid reflux and have to give up spicy food?"

    I thought for a moment and said I'd go to a Thai restaurant and commit suicide.

    Tim
     
  23. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    I see Mr. Kruppa has arrived on the scene. Perhaps he'll drop by.
     

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  24. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    these photos are great, where on earth are you finding them?
     
  25. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Just Googled "Buster Keaton."

    William, have you seen Van perform any of the songs I asked about a few posts back?
     
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