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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. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

  2. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    St. Thomas, ON
    The story so far...

    George Ivan Morrison, as part of the ubiquitous Van-Jan collective (a precursor of 2-for-1 names like "Bennifer" and "Brangelina") released a slew of critically acclaimed albums in the late '60's, early 70's (except for that one with the weird cartoon cover). Then Jan left Van because he was moody and an inveterate boozehound and liked posing with Irish Wolfhounds. Our Man Van went away for a while and contemplated all things autumnal--and not for the last time, I assure you. He didn't release anything but kept recording steadily. (Remember: Heylin knows all). Then he re-emerged, took part in The Last Waltz, doing some cool-but-funny kicks that stole the movie, went all AM-radio on us, used Joni Mitchell's photographer for a couple of album covers (who managed to make him look thinner than he actually was), got all weird and more mystically indulgent than some folks could stand, got all Yanni-fied on us for a New-Agey spell until such time that he hunkered down in the late 1980's and produced a near-perfect string of inspired and truly moving albums starting with 1986's No Guru, No Method, No Teacher, culminating in the album we are currently discussing, Enlightenment.
  3. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    Mr. T. That was Enlightening and humous! So, would it be safe to call Veedon Fleece his "Blood on the Tracks"? Mysterious break up album?
    Kudos to side two of Into the Music (aside, this was listed in the first batch reissues, but did not make it out?) and Common One may be new~agey, but it IS amazing... as good as half of what came before it... Just listened to No Guru on a walk yesterday, was blown away, In The Garden will air.... Not got past there yet... I do own Hymns and Exile on double Import Lps, but never played them... yet... Great summary, looking forward to catching up on this thread slowly... Would it be bad to ask contributors to post a list of the one key track thru Enlightenment off each album? Consensus? that words again...

  4. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    North of Seattle

    About the only thing we agree on completely are the quality of his Rockettes-type high kicks during The Last Waltz
  5. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    I used that word in another post today, somewheat warily, and got a tut-tut... I assume it is not a word easily bandied about here... a rare sighting...

    Agreed on TLW, was watching the dvd the other night, loved the highkicks and the storming off stage bit... shame about the outfit though,, as I read he freaked out befrore the show and ran back to the hotel to change into THAT thing... still, Caravan stold the show... so you know you got soul indeed...

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    I'm sure we've all done that in all 1800+ previous posts...as Shakespeare wrote "lay on, macduff". all will come clearer over time....

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    While we wait patiently for Tom's "Enlightenment" post, here is the Rolling Stone review...

    Van Morrison doesn't make easy-listening records. Oh, sure, you can sit back and let his smooth, buttery R&B vocals roll across the arrangements, but there's too much else going on to let it stop there. Ever since he threw aside the mantle of pop singer more than twenty years ago to make Astral Weeks, Morrison has used the recording process as a means to explore his spiritual obsessions. Every now and then he fires off what passes for another pop album, but for the most part he has been setting his sights on the firmament to worship his God.

    Morrison's apparent object of worship is Jesus Christ, but his Lord in no way resembles the familiar TV icon of American fundamentalism. Morrison's lyrics are the product of an imagination blasted by overwhelming visions – his Christ is alternately a nature spirit and a symbol of erotic bliss. "The Vision of Christ thou dost see Is my Vision's Greatest Enemy," wrote the poet William Blake, one of Morrison's greatest influences, of the orthodox Christians of his time. Morrison's spiritual bent is of a similar character.

    Enlightenment is a sequel to Morrison's last album, Avalon Sunset. Both are steeped in Christian and nature imagery, with Christ appearing on the mountainside in "Contacting My Angel," on Avalon Sunset, and as the "Youth of 1,000 Summers," on Enlightenment. Aralon Sunset's "When Will I Ever Learn to Live in God" pictures Morrison watching the sun set over Avalon, the mythic island where King Arthur was taken to heal his wounds after his final battle. Sunset, autumn and death are the recurrent themes of that album, but Morrison vows to "tear down the old, bring in the new." That's exactly what he does on Enlightenment.

    This album is Morrison's spiritual resurrection, and he comes out stomping with "Real Real Gone," his most engaging R&B raveup since the days of "Domino." The theme of rebirth recurs throughout the record. Morrison and his lover are "gonna make a brand new start" in "Avalon of the Heart," and Van hits his most optimistic mood in "Start All Over Again." The mixture of spiritual and erotic love infuses Morrison's writing in "See Me Through," "She's a Baby" and especially "So Quiet in Here," in which the singer finds heaven in a contemplative moment by the sea.

    Morrison is so pleased with his new start that he can even poke fun at his quest on the title track. "I'm in the here and now and I'm meditating/And still I'm suffering but that's my problem," he sings. "Enlightenment, don't know what it is" – and he doesn't sound disturbed at all. (RS 591)

  8. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Perfect Cliff note. It cracked me up.:agree: :laugh: :laugh:
    When I get a moment I'll write about Enlightenment (the album not the state of being.)

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    Enlightenment = Entrainment? Would Van ever repeat an idea, or a word or a sentence over and over?
  10. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    St. Thomas, ON
    How very dry and droll, William.:laugh:

    I have a theory about this whole repetition thing of his. I'll try to incorporate it into my take on Enlightenment.

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    oh are you going to enlighten us with theories any time soon????:whistle:
  12. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    St. Thomas, ON
    I'll probably be stating what is patently obvious as opposed to providing any enlightenment (Enlightenment? What the heck is that?), but I have to wait until my lunch.

    You know something, we're at post 887 and going strong. Pretty soon we're going to have to get Craig to shut this down and head down Hyndford Street to go to the store and get a new thread ordered (and some potted herrings in case we get famished before dinner).
  13. laughingboy

    laughingboy Forum Resident

    Bucks, UK

    I totally agree with Tim about where the pleasures of this album reside: in the intimacy and humanity of this central seam of songs. It's a very welcoming bunch of songs - like a fireside chat with an avuncular raconteur. It's as if, by the time you're close enough to hear the spittle on Van's whispering of the word quiet, in So Quiet In Here, you just know that almost every element of what is great about life is about to be affirmed.

    I respectfully reject the comparison with No Guru, though. Firstly, I feel that this album belongs to a 'post-Avalon-Sunset' string of records. Secondly, I don't think it is as consistently strong as that earlier album. Even despite the wireless knobs. :)

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    Oh I love this, my favorite line of the day today. Great post, laughingboy, thanks and I agree with you about No Guru and this one.
  15. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    Welcome, Mr. Bill. You like Veeden Fleece and Common One? Then I guess you're alright with me even if you don't recognize Graham Parker :laugh: The real acid test is Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart. Everyone on this thread who dissed it and compared it to Yanni is on my persona non grata list. Harrrumph :cheers:

    One key track per album, sounds like a fun idea for a separate thread.

    BTW the Into The Music remaster is available as an import only. I suspect that will be the case with Common One, Beautiful Vision, and Inarticulate Speech, too. For whatever reason, those four have remained with WB and have never gone OOP or been remastered for the U.S. They have previously been remastered on Polydor for the rest of the world.
  16. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    Thanks for this info. Important stuff I did not know!! Might have to order it (Into the Music) then... the review I read and the web site listed bonus tracks (skimpy at best) for it too, so I might spring for it as I don't own the Cd, love the Lp though.

    Know anything about the still on top comp? I read it is a triple cd euro release as well, and wondering if there is vinyl out there, as i though i saw it mentioned in an early mag ad for it... thanks for your help curbach!!!
  17. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    PS: How could anyone not love Veedon Fleece? I could see maybe some not digging the vibe on Common One, whatever, but Veedon Fleece? Undisputed masterpiece!!! Indeed, if I could only take one Van title to my mythical Desert Isle ~ which sound like a mellow place to kick it right about now ~ it would be a serious decision to chose between it and Astral Weeks.
    That's how highly I rate it... and NOW, I do think it his BOTT, in sum more mythically, mysterious and magical way... a purging of the planet demons...
  18. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    St. Thomas, ON
    As he's done throughout his career with songs like "Caravan" and "Domino", our man Van was not only writing songs about the radio again--he was all over it with "Real Real Gone." In those days as a struggling student I worked part time in a jewellery factory, which, while dull and extremely dirty, afforded me a lot of time to listen to the radio. (Ahh, radio--or, if you prefer, "raddio," as Van pronounced it in The Last Waltz--sadly, a word that grows more quaint with every passing year). I can still remember the thrilling feeling as that opening Hammond organ swoop led to that peppy horn line that itself led to Van's unmistakable voice. It was like a special three-minute reward for my having sat through hours of Journey, Starship, Alannah Myles and Phil Collins.
    Perhaps his last truly great single, "Real Real Gone," as it appears on Enlightenment, is proof that Van knew he hadn't nailed the definitive version way, way back during the Common One sessions and was very wise to hold off till he got it right.

    Yes, Enlightenment is a great record. It was very big for me at the time of its release and, pulling it out for reassessment for purposes of this thread, I was struck once again by how positive and uplifting the album is on the whole. Where are the anti-Biz songs I was complaining about in posts above?
    Once again Van is singing about love, enlightenment and the search for Avalon, or, in the alternative, the lack of all of these things.
    "Avalon of the Heart" conjures up Van's distant and immediate past with phrases like "viaducts of my dream", which of course recalls "Astral Weeks," and the use of "Avalon sunset" as a nod to the album which preceded this one. What do we take from the blatant repetition? Is this merely proof positive of a paucity of ideas for our paunchy patron?
    As I think I've said earlier in the thread--if we go way, way back, take us way, way back--I think Van's raison d'etre is the desire to recreate certain specific moments of transcendence he first experienced as a boy ("And It Stoned Me"). Since humans have never mastered the art of time travel, Van uses song as a means of recreating these moments of transcendence which continue to inform his life and music.
    This is the common thread that runs through every Van album, because they are essentially all saying the same thing. "Beside You" says the same thing as "Oh the Warm Feeling" which says the same thing as "In the Garden" which says the same thing as "In the Forest". These are all different songs which form a continuum, they are merely parcelled out in neat, bite-sized album packages.
    This is his life's work: to recapture these moments of momentary bliss and transcendence in song. Seen this way, this is not repetition. This is One.
    Remember "The Oneness" from "Rave On, John Donne"?
    This is a unified concept spaced out over Van's lifetime.

    The importance of radio in all of this cannot be underestimated. "In the Days Before Rock and Roll" reminds us of this although admittedly a tad bizarrely, thanks to poet Paul Durcan's strange recitation, but I find this song very moving, especially Van's final utterance "Come aboard." (And where else can you hear Van utter hilarious lines like "And we let the goldfish go...down the stream"?) The (by now) routine name checks read like a (really good) radio broadcast, which is presumably the intent: Van is enumerating the songs which grabbed his attention and imagination during his youth of a 1000 summers--just as "Real Real Gone" grabbed my attention way, way back during the summer of 1990.

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    :hide: I'm not worthy to co-host this thread with this man!

    So much to think about in your post Tom, WOW. You clearly spent a long time thinking and gestating all these many ideas and gives me much to ponder.
  20. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    St. Thomas, ON
    I forgot to mention something in my post and I ran out of time.

    I think the Mystical Workouts we've all noticed in Van's music are tied up in this as well. I think they are an attempt to create a spiritual plain on which these childhood reveries could be re-experienced, and, of course, shared with the listener, whether in the privacy of their own home or in a more communal setting, such as a concert.

    It's all interrelated, man.:laugh:

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    stations playing Vans new single "That's Entrainment

    with all this talk about radio. here are all the stations in the U.S. playing Van's new single "That's Entrainment"....No one in here has mentioned having heard it yet I dont recall. Anyway, its on the radio in a lot of places now.

    >XM Radio
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Des Moines
    San Francisco

    >XM Radio
    Madison, WI
    Portland, OR
    New York
    Morristown, NJ

    Reno, NV
    New York
    San Diego

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    “Entrainment is when you connect with the music…It’s kind of when you’re in the present moment – you’re here – with no past or future.” -Van Morrison
  23. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    St. Thomas, ON
    William, do you have access to what Canadian stations are playing it?

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    :shake: sorry, i dont.

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid




    Nashville, TN – For the first time ever, the legendary Van Morrison will perform at the South By Southwest Music Conference in Austin, TX, kicking off the event on March 12 at the La Zona Rosa. This special show is sure to be a highlight of the music industry’s annual enclave as Morrison previews songs from his upcoming Lost Highway release Keep It Simple (out April 1). Keep It Simple is Morrison’s first album of new material in two years.

    Morrison’s tour begins the prior evening on Tuesday, March 11, with a public performance at the Austin Music Hall. Morrison returns to the Live Music Capital after an extraordinary performance at the Austin City Limits Music Festival followed by the taping of his first appearance on the legendary Austin City Limits television show in 2005.

    Following Austin, Morrison returns to Nashville, TN with a sold out show at the historic Ryman Auditorium on Thursday March 13. On Friday March 14, Ireland’s favorite son kicks off the St. Patrick’s Day weekend with a performance at the Wang Theatre in Boston, MA. Morrison will wrap up the tour in New York City at the United Palace on March 15.

    Keep It Simple features Van Morrison at his finest. His music has always incorporated the widely varied influences he heard and absorbed since his childhood days on the streets of Belfast. Here Morrison honors all those varied influences - jazz, folk, blues, Celtic, country, soul and gospel (even making uniquely innovative use of the ukulele) - at times melding them all together at once in his own signature sound. Keep It Simple proves that Van Morrison is still making the best music of what is already an unparalleled career.

    Tuesday March 11 Austin Music Hall Austin, TX
    Wednesday March 12 SXSW / La Zona Rosa, Austin TX
    Thursday March 13 Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN
    Friday March 14 Wang Theatre Boston MA
    Saturday March 15 United Palace Theater, NYC

    (wow, so Van is going to play a "music industry show". Is he changing his ways, hoping for new respect in the biz he's usually dissing? I cannot wait to hear about this particular performance. that will not be the audience to alienate with a bad show.)
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