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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. R. Totale

    R. Totale The Voice of Reason

    Honestly? It (along with vaguely heard reports at the time that he was involved with a well known religious cult) kept me from ever buying the record. It's getting good marks here, so I'll look around for a copy.
     
  2. butch

    butch Forum Resident

    Location:
    ny
    R he was involved with a couple of well known cults....which one!!?I never cared about that because his music took precedence to his religious activities to me.
     
  3. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Van flirted briefly with Scientology and gave a credit to L. Ron on ISOTH; perhaps it was this you were thinking of? FWIW, I think he had moved on by the time of NG,NM,NT.
     
  4. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    Thanks.:thumbsup:
     
  5. laughingboy

    laughingboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bucks, UK
    No Guru...

    This has always been one of my favourite Van Morrison albums, for two reasons. Firstly, it was the most recent release at the time I was properly introduced to his music as an awestruck/impressionable 14 year old. Secondly, it is - plain and simple - a great album.

    Listening to it now, I realise I have not listened to it in very many years (I dread to think how many; but on the plus side, it brings home the fact that my stereo is much better now) and yet I still know the album, note-by-note, word-by-word, inside out.

    In case you hadn't guessed, I'm in the 'masterpiece' camp!
     
  6. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    Van's coming back to NYC on March 15th...back at the United Palace. Pre-sale on his website now and general tix on sale monday....:D
     
  7. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Lucky you. Do you happen to know if he'll be coming to my part of the world?
     
  8. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    nothing yet. I got this from his website. i was there yesterday and the NY show was not there and now it is.

    not sure yet if i'll go. i've seen the current touring magilla 4 times now. I wonder if the instrumentation/band is altered now that a new album is out. I felt the last lineup clearly was to augment the country ness of Pay the Devil....
     
  9. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    Hey Laughingboy, nice to include you in the "masterpiece" camp. Seems pretty unanimous for the most part.

    I am quite impressed a 14 year old spent enough time with this album back in the day as well.

    when you get a minute fill out your profile, I'd be nice to see your musical interests....hope you stick around for van 90s and beyond.
     
  10. laughingboy

    laughingboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bucks, UK
    I have a dad with good taste (my mum was at school with John Entwhistle, and my dad was a bit of a mod. His taste ranged from the Spencer Davis Group, to Nina Simone and Bo Diddley records), which accounted for a lot of the music I still like.

    But Van was the killer punch of my uncle who introduced my dad to Bonzo Dog Band, Neil Young, Love, among others.

    Aztec Camera, Lloyd Cole, and Van Morrison were my uncle's special behests to me. I have thanked him for it. :winkgrin:
     
  11. laughingboy

    laughingboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bucks, UK
    I'm not sure I'm that interesting

    Hmm, wait a minute... now that I appear to be, even if only slightly, an International Man Of Intrigue ;) why would I want to fill in a profile, and lose everything I have cultivated?

    OK, I'll fill in my profile sometime. :uhhuh:
     
  12. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    well I have all the information I need...you can leave the mystery for the rest of the forum. nice to have you around.
     
    Sea Kayaker likes this.
  13. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Let go into The Mystery.:D
     
  14. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    are you chomping to Champion and move on to the Steps?

    I happen to be ready on my end....:agree:
     
  15. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    As ususal, I've almost bumbled too long to insert my $.02. I will not be joining the chorus calling No Guru a masterpiece. Not that it's bad or anything--I like it quite well. The songs are very good (excepting "A Town Called Paradise") and Van has achieved a sense of a cohesive whole that has been lacking in the last few records. I even like "Ivory Tower" as a closer which seems to put me in the minority.

    However, I find No Guru is an album I like and respect, but cannot love. As good as many of the songs are (particularly "Tir Na Nag" and "Thanks For The Information"), they just don't move me the way Van's best stuff can. Only "In The Garden" really speaks to me and it stands head and shoulders above everything else here. The only essential track.

    "A Town Called Pardise" really spoils the mood, though, and points the way toward Van's eventual decline (for me) when the griping and kvetching come to dominate his music. It sounds especially ludicrous to have female backing singers cooing along with his childish copycat accusations. As Graham Parker (my avatar and one of the "copycats") would say, Van needs to get over it and move on. And 20 years later he still hasn't.

    I have the Polydor remaster for this one. It sounds okay, not as grating as some of the other remasters I've heard, but it doesn't really breath. I think I may be detecting a bit of smiley-face EQ, but difficult to say without comparing to another version. Given the brightness I detected in the original Mercury version of Sense Of Wonder I'm not sure it would be worthwhile to track down the original of this one. We are no longer in the land of (mostly) lovely WB cds.

    And I alluded to this earlier, but no one else has commented on it. There is definitely a lot of reverb on Van's voice on this recording. Almost enough to be distracting. Anyone else bothered by this? Why would he want to put that much reverb on his voice? A John Lennon fetish?
     
  16. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    It doesn't bother me. For me, at least, it creates A Sense of Warmth-er:laugh: that I find very appealing.

    Does anyone hear what sounds like a microphone pop in "Got to Go Back" just as Van sings "Keep me away from porter or whiskey, don't play anything sentimental, it'll make me cry"?
    It occurs during the italicized portion of the lyrics I've quoted.
     
  17. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    In what is by now a very familiar sounding quotation emanating from musicians who have played with Van, here's what Kate St. John said about her experience playing on NG,NM,NT (from the Heylin book):

    A lot of people seem to like "In the Garden", so here's a quote from Van himself about the song:

     
  18. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    A revealing quote from the man? :wave:

    :hide: (In the Garden sounds to me like it has a bit of a Jungleland thing going on ;) )

    It's truly amazing, imo, the kinds of arrangements and performances VM has been the recipient of from the musicians that have played on many of his greatest works. I think the orchestration and playing on NG is indicative of this too.

    Man, I love A Town Called Paradise. I love that vocal phrasing Van uses in concert with the brass part as the song fades, and from the beginning, how the dynamics seem to keep going up and up, moving forward, as if in an adventure or on a journey. Probably my fave part of the song is the section We’re going up the mountainside, child you can look for miles, and see the vision on the west, We’re gonna swing round, And look from north to south, east and west, And go round in a circle too, And we’re gonna start dancing, Like we’ve never done before, I’m gonna take you in my arms, I’m gonna squeeze you tight, Everything will be alright, We’re gonna get that squealin’ feelin’ Gonna take you down to a town called paradise, Down where we can be free...

    Warm Feeling and Foreign Window are the ones I like best (Well, other than Got To Go Back and In The Garden. ;)) Aw, hell, I likes 'em all.

    I think that with NG, Van found a way to combine the strengths of his cosmic, heavenly, and celestial works, like AW and VF, with some of his earthy and grassroots material from Street Band and Moondance. In other words, both the horns and the strings, and the songs and the performances, mesh together perfectly in NG, throughout the entire record, imo, unlike where AW and VF primarily employ strings, and Street Band and Moondance use a lot of horns. I just love the production and the sound of NG.
     
  19. albert_m

    albert_m Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atl., Ga, USA
    A Town Called Paradise is one of my favorites of any album. That alone would make this album great, but when you add In the Garden, plus Got to Go Back, Foreign Window....
     
  20. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    Well, I clearly like this album a whole lot more than you do. I even like A Town Called Paradise. But I share your feelings about the effect that the rise of Van's negativity had on his music. There is some truly great stuff ahead. Some of his best moments IMO. But there are also some public bitching session that are not only bad form, which I can forgive; they're just not particularly good songwriting, and that's harder to forgive in such a gifted writer.

    Tim
     
  21. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    I definitely appear to be in the minority on this one. And I do like the album, but I rate it behind Common One, Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart:hide:, and Avalon Sunset from that decade. A mid-tier 80's Van Morrison album, which is still pretty good. Certainly a much better album than most of his contemporaries were producing in the 80's.
     
  22. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    One of the other things I love about the album is the drummer's use of brushes. For one thing, they're recorded with remarkable clarity, but it was an inspired decision, I think, to go with brushes over sticks. The songs feel freer, airier somehow, less constrained than if sticks had been employed.

    Let me add my name to the list of those who find Van's descent into negativity a turnoff (songs about the music biz, biographers, the music biz, showbusiness, the music biz, rip-off artists, the music biz, et cetera), but I don't think "A Town Called Paradise" falls into that camp.
    I think it's something altogether different.
    I think it's ultimately a song about not giving into bitterness (although we all know that didn't work out so well).
    When Van sings about going for a long, long drive, that everything is gonna be all right, I feel like I'm actually in that car, driving away to a better place. In my mind, I'm headed for The Garden.
    The music creates that feeling of movement, of acceleration---of deliverance.
     
  23. albert_m

    albert_m Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atl., Ga, USA
    Van complains - a lot. It's a part (small part) of many of his albums.
    Personally I could give a **** less of what he says in that song when the songs sounds so damn good.
     
  24. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    Yes, one of the textures that makes this album so special IMO.

    Well, nice to see a resurgence of No Guru comments, I was going to start Poetic Champions today since we'd slowed down, but carry on and I'll start the next one on monday.

    Guru is such a sunday morning listen anyway, well so is PCC, so play em both....:nauga:

    for NYC residents, reminder Van tickets go on sale monday morning....
     
  25. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    Oh, I agree with your interpretation here, Tom. But for me the song never recovers from the turnoff of the opening lines. I much prefer when Van's griping is a bit more oblique as in "Thanks For The Information".
     
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