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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. elborak

    elborak Forum Resident

    On Amazon, the cover for Keep It Simple seems to have changed:

    [​IMG]

    The Man is as fickle (and apparently as grumpy) as ever... :laugh:
     
  2. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    That's a stunning photograph of the man. I like it better than the pen thingy.
     
  3. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    Me too. Now if we could just work on that title. . .
     
  4. elborak

    elborak Forum Resident

    I definitely like it better than the generic version previously shown (time for William to change his avatar).

    The photo is fine, though I'd not call it "stunning". I do like the overall composition of the cover, though, and it reflects the title nicely.
     
  5. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    :shake: does this mean I have to change my avatar or risk the Van police?
     
  6. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Van hates getting his picture taken. This is why he usually looks:
    1) awkward
    2) angry
    3) flatulent
    4) a combination of 1-3

    This photograph is dramatic. I love the lighting, the determination in his eyes, the cheeks sunken with age...I stick by my original comment, that's a striking, stunning photo of Van.
     
  7. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    I agree this is cover is an improvement. At least the title is simple.

    Isn't keep it simple one of those 12 step program catchphrases? I'm certain that is just a coincidence.
     
  8. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    it is and i'm not so sure its such a coincidence. I feel Avalon Sunset is his first major lyrical ode to his "higher power", another 12 step catchphrase of sorts, granted a big one....Much of Vans music from Avalon to today seems steeped in recovery ideals...though the new album is a simple band setup...i'm thinking this album will be more "demo" like than he's done in a while...simple instrumentation. but the avatar I had, the "big book" image, well rather 12 step too....
     
  9. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    It's a good picture. Stragegic shadowing covers the jowls a bit and hides the double chin. I'm one to talk. I've had some sort of beard since I was 20 years old, which is a long, long, time. I won't be shaving. I like to say that at this point I have no idea how many chins I have and no intention to find out.

    And today, I'm nearly as grumpy as Van.

    Tim
     
  10. elborak

    elborak Forum Resident

    I'll not post them as images lest someone take offense, but check out the first two hits of a google image search for "van morrison grumpy". :shh:

    (make sure you view the 2nd one in its original size to get the full effect)
     
  11. jostber

    jostber Forum Resident

    Location:
    Skien, Norway
    This looks like a crackin' band! John Lee and Mose Allison beats the most.

    And what is this song about?

    Thank God for Self Love (3:12)
     
  12. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    thats the Mose Allison bit...

    so I dragged out my dead Laserdisc player from the basement and I managed to grab the audio off of this thing to my hard drive and it sounds pretty great I have to say.

    In a way, for me, this would be his finest "live official album", if it was actually released on cd...as its on laserdisc, it looks like an album, so it is an album for me!

    its one heck of a band I have to agree with you...this is worth hunting down on vhs or laserdisc....

    ebay auction for the tape here

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Van-Morrison-Th...goryZ309QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
     
  13. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    :biglaugh:
     
  14. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Is is similar in its subject matter to Fleetwood Mac's "Rattlesnake Shake"?:shh:
     
  15. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    Location:
    North of Seattle
    I have the VHS tape of The Concert around here somewhere. I bought a copy of the laser disc, but didn't have a player so I sold it to someone on the Van-L mailing list several years ago.

    I wish they'd put this out on DVD. It was a great band although Van's voice seemed to be a little hoarse at times.
     
  16. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Does anyone know whether Van still smokes?
     
  17. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    Robert Christgau's review

    odd that Rolling Stone didnt review this one...but here is Christgau

    Avalon Sunset [Mercury, 1989]
    Like it or not, Morrison's genre exercises are kind of boring. Having long since sold his soul to his Muse, he's her slave for life, and though he keeps importuning various gods to loose his chains, the best they can offer is extra inspiration once in a while--now, for instance. Cliff Richard's support on his liveliest tune since "Cleaning Windows" suggests that Christ the Redeemer is lending a hand, but on the first side Van prefers to find the divine in the blessed present--folk lyric, poem about birdwatching, song called "I'd Like To Write Another Song." Side two comes out more today-is-the-first-day-of-the-rest-of-Van's-life--that is, his own genre exercise. And for a side he gets away with it. A-
     
  18. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    I dunno, to me it looks a little like a romanticised portrait of the king sitting at his court or maybe even a subtle vanity sculpture, but that said, I do think it is really attractive and very effective and I can't take my eyes off it, and agree with the positive comments made about it. :thumbsup: And with that, the contentious quotient, not in this thread, but on the forum recently, seems to have been multiplying exponentially, and I hope my first comment doesn't raise it any higher. :) The cover profile reminds me of Poetic Champs a bit, although I enjoyed Van's more bedraggled and worn look on that one.
     
  19. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Listened with affection to AS many times through the years. Side Two is the side for me. Orangefield, When Will I Ever Learn, Daring Nights, and These Are The Days really give me my Van fix. These are the songs I return to when I want to listen to Avalon Sunset. I agree that Have I Told You is standards worthy, and Contacting My Angel and Another Song make for good listening.
     
  20. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    Location:
    North of Seattle
    Not sure. :shrug:

    I think the problem with The Concert is that they filmed the last of a series of shows and his voice was a little ragged. William might be able to verify that.
     
  21. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    there was definately more than one night...nothing like an Allman Brothers run...but I seem to remember there were a few nights...but I found this reveiw in the NY Times Database from March 9th, 1989..where he did three nights, I could be confusing it with this run? The Laser/vhs is from November 1989...so as usual he's hitting New York a couple of time a year during the years he's on the road....



    Review/Pop; A Leprechaun's Search

    By STEPHEN HOLDEN
    Published: March 9, 1989
    LEAD: Van Morrison is one of rock music's quirkier elder statesmen. The singer and songwriter from Belfast, who is giving his first solo New York concerts in three years at the Beacon Theater through tonight, has never presented himself as a glamorous rock rebel, though his music is suffused with a defiant, searching passion.

    Van Morrison is one of rock music's quirkier elder statesmen. The singer and songwriter from Belfast, who is giving his first solo New York concerts in three years at the Beacon Theater through tonight, has never presented himself as a glamorous rock rebel, though his music is suffused with a defiant, searching passion. At 43 years old, he resembles nothing so much as a glowering leprechaun who seems almost to resent the adulation of a cult that has remained solid long after he stopped having big hits in the early 1970's.

    In concert, Mr. Morrison, who is known to suffer from severe stage fright, can be very uneven. His show on Tuesday was one of his less inspired concerts. Chief among the problems was a sameness of musical texture. The last time Mr. Morrison appeared in New York, he brought strings and soul backup singers with him along with a folk-rock band. For this engagement he used an able seven-member ensemble that included two keyboards, drums, bass, guitar, trumpet and flute. These resources weren't sufficient, however, to bring out the rich colors and colliding stylistic echoes that make Mr. Morrison's best concerts transcendent confluences of rock, jazz, soul and Celtic musical flavors.

    Although Mr. Morrison sang his classic jazz-rock song, ''Moondance,'' as a second encore, Tuesday's concert focused on material he has recorded since the late 1970's. During the past decade he has retreated from folk-rock and ''blue-eyed soul'' to explore his relationship with Celtic musical and poetic traditions. His more recent songs delineate an ongoing search for spiritual revelation, which his incantatory lyrics often portray as a mystical romantic encounter with a woman in an idyllic natural setting. Although the music and imagery of these later songs are often repetitious, varying instrumental textures have given his albums enough variety to make them feel like poetic statements in which the singer directs his gaze toward a fixed image of spiritual grace through a shifting musical prism.

    Tuesday's concert lacked that sense of changing perspective, of spiritual and emotional matters being carefully examined. The songs followed one another choppily, and Mr. Morrison's evocative gutteral growls left most of the lyrics unintelligible. The mood of the singing was also unvarying in its gruffness. Although the band played peppily, the music had no real eloquence. For Mr. Morrison it was clearly an off night.
     
  22. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    "glowering leprechaun":biglaugh:---that's our Van all right.

    I do like this bit; it's something I've always thought but was never able to properly articulate:
     
  23. benjaminhuf

    benjaminhuf Forum Resident

    I liked the "glowering leprechaun" bit in that review too. It seems like the reviewer was at least somewhat of a Van fan, but he thought it wasn't such a good night. I like Van's mumbling and getting into the spirit of the music so much he's articulately inarticulate.

    I'm still digesting Avalon Sunset. I think it's a very good album. The first track, for me, sets the emtional tone for most of the rest--which is resolutely while at the same time almost effortlessly upbeat. But to me this isn't the shallow upbeat, it's the upbeat of the person who sometimes needs to struggle and focus on it, the person who has known the blues. I loved the write another song one when he says he'll do it not just for the joy of it but to "pay the bills" or whatever he says. I liked the reality in that. There's a late Paul Simon song (Rhythm of the Saints?) that says something like this is a sad and lonely life--and that is worth some money, think about it, that is worth some money! I liked that moment in that song too. The reality that a genius singer and songwriter can turn the saddness of life into some cold hard cash. And it's even easier to do it with a love song. And what a joyous one it is. I also liked the whimsical Coney Island, although I'm not sure how well it will wear over time. Again, I like it when Van starts to mumble and moan a bit--I think get what he means I think even if I can't understand the words.

    I'm also, as you probably know, a bit Nat King Cole fan, and I've been struck at mostly the differences, but also maybe some similarities between these two. They both tend to stay on the positive side, for one, and dedicate themselves to each word in each song in different ways. Of course Van is part of the generation that tended to write their own songs, where 98% of NKC's songs were written by someone else, which make them less a revealing statement about his own feelings...

    Am I right in thinking that many people feel the 90s represented a decline for VM? This new album Keep It Simple looks promising. I like the title and the cover. Is this thread going to pause when it comes out and look at Keep it Simple?

    Benjamin
     
  24. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    I'm surprised after DJ Wilbur hid under the chair when praising "Have I Told You Lately" that it turns out everyone on this thread except me seems to be under the chair with him. Who knew you guys were all such soft-hearted romantics :angel: I guess I shouldn't talk since I like "Wild Honey" so much, and I'd be hard-pressed to come up with a reason why one rubs me right and the other doesn't. It must be Rod Stewart's fault :D
     
  25. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Hey, "Wild Honey" is as good as any Al Green song. The difference is the grit that the horns add, the bump-and-grind of the rhythm section, and the low-register grain of Van's voice. "Have I Told You Lately" is lovely, and I've always liked it, but let's be honest, it ain't soul, it's schmaltz. Good schmaltz!
     
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