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Van Morrison - Album by Album discussion - PART THREE

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by DJ WILBUR, Feb 29, 2008.

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  1. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    Location:
    North of Seattle
    That's right, you don't have a copy of No Prima Donna. :whistle:
     
  2. drewslo

    drewslo Forum Resident

    And this brings up another issue...we often like albums that are the product of emotional turmoil - the "Blood On The Tracks" syndrome. The happy album in tribute to a healthy relationship is easily dismissed.
    So ultimately, we need our Van to be grumpy in the name of art!
    Compare the hunger of early Springsteen to "Human Touch". It's like he was abducted by aliens as far as many fans were concerned.
     
  3. Buzzcat

    Buzzcat New Member

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    San Fran is one that I never play anymore. I'd heard that one prior to getting Too Late, thought it was ok then, but when I got Too Late, San Fran disappeared.

    The radio station I used to work at had Tupelo Honey from San Fran in regular rotation. Luckily I'm in good with the music director and I wrote her, begging her to take that horrible abortion of a song version out and put the original studio version in it's place. She did.

    Yeah, I'm an unashamed BK hater.

    We listened to Days Like This recently and sadly I was kinda embarrassed by it. To me, there just ain't much meat there.

    By the way, any of you who ordered Keep It Simple from Acoustic Sounds get yours shipped yet?
     
  4. Baron Von Talbot

    Baron Von Talbot Well-Known Member

    Days Like this was one of the few Van Morrison albums i bought when they came out and i liked that immediately. Comparing it to other VM albums i was familiar with (It's Too Late to Stop Now, Hard Nose The Highway, Wavelength, Live At Belfast Opera House) this was nearly as solid. The music is okay to brilliant , good R'nB and none of that terrible smooth Cocktail Lounge Jazz Van used as background for his vocals on many 90ies records.
    Perfect Fit is exactly that, i even like Underlying Depression and Melancholia, since i know these feelings quite well. But the real gem is the title track. There is such a fine magic going on within Days Like That, reminding me of other days that were special. Ancient Highway and the closing song are typical Van Morrison staples, no one else has the format to come up with. Only Van, the Man knows how to work up the magic in those long upbuilding grooves....
    Days Like That isn't a masterpiece or a record i could listen to over and over for days non stop. It loses some of it's magic, when you analyze it or hear it too often, but still is / was a pretty strong return to form of Celtic Don !
     
  5. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    Dropped by my local indie store today and noticed some promotional "Van Morrison-Keep It Simple" notepads behind the counter. I asked the clerk about them and apparently some promo guy had dropped those off along with some "Van Morrison-Keep It Simple" pens when he was in town a couple of weeks ago. The guy chuckled and said for $250 a ticket they should have given them away to the people at the show. And, no, he wouldn't let me have one :sigh:
     
  6. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    how rude...maybe he was hoping you'd offer to buy one....:confused:
     
  7. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    I love Days Like This. Underlying Depression and Melancholia are two of Van's bravest and most personal statements, imo.

    There's nothing I don't like about Days except for the two duets. His daughter on You Don't Know Me sounds dreadful to me. I can't listen to her tone and pitch of voice.

    Van's vocal are a bit on the gruff side for the first two songs. Mostly after that, I think his voice sounds great to me.

    And I enjoy the backing vocals too. :laugh: . That other guyy's phrasing and singing is so accurate at times that there are moments I think it's Van's shadow, or his boyish alter-ego echoing the Man.

    Well, all in all, it's a great listen for me. I've enjoyed listening to it many, many times.
     
  8. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Yeah, that's pretty lame of that fella!
     
  9. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Hmm, shameless hoarding of pens and notepad promo materials, eh? Anyone getting the same visual as I?
    [​IMG]
     
  10. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    :laughup:
     
  11. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    Best Van promotional pens EVER.:D
     
  12. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Anyone get a Back on Top dummy CD that's actually a drinks coaster?
    That particular promo idea wasn't terribly smart, was it, when one considers it was being distributed in a bar (I just happened to be sampling a particular proprietor's finest English ales and was given one:angel: ), and Van has reportedly struggled with alcohol through his life.

    Also, a coaster, of all things? That's usually how I refer to CD's of dubious quality (as in "might as well be used as...").
     
  13. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    Indeed that is the best use for Back On Top IMHO :shh: :angel:
     
  14. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    As I indicated earlier in the thread, Days Like This is a new album for me; I passed on it during my extended hiatus from all things Van, which lasted roughly
    from this album to Back on Top.
    It was with some trepidation then that I tracked down this album for the purposes of this thread. Certainly it doesn't have a great reputation that I'm aware of (in spite of William's laudable efforts), so I'm afraid I went into this somewhat prejudiced by what I had read about it. I went into Days Like This feeling like I was a coroner en route to an autopsy as opposed to what I should have been: a curious fan anxiously gobbling up the missed portions of a distinguished and prolific career.

    "Perfect Fit" is an energetic opener. I especially like the bass and drums, which are crisp and assertive, but never overpowering. The harmonica bit is a little lame for me though, and for some inexplicable reason reminds me of that song with Elton, Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick and Gladys Knight, "That's What Friends Are For.":laugh:

    "Russian Roulette", for some reason, reminds me of Bob Dylan. Can't think of the song right now ("Shelter from the Storm"?), but as soon as you hear Van use words like "hustlers", you just know it's going to be an anti-Biz whinge. It quickly becomes tedious and predictable, both lyrically and musically.

    "Raincheck" is the first great song on the album. Van sounds possessed in his vocal, sounding, by turns slurry, feral, tender, drunk, and supremely pissed off. Not a bad mixture, as it turns out, and the band match his dynamic shifts at every turn. The drumming in this song is just exquisite. The only lame moment for me is Brian's gutless "unless I want to" at the very end of the song in answer to Van's belligerent "I don't fade away." That one moment is evidence enough that Bri wasn't the best choice to complement Van. He detracts from the power of the song rather than adding to it.

    "Ancient Highway" is an instant classic for me. The first time I heard this song I was coming home from work and had to restrain myself from spontaneously bursting out in tears. Oddly enough, I had no idea why exactly, except to say that somewhere in this litany of Van's familiar mystical incantations and imagery (including references to a town called Paradise, pagan streams, Belfast, Georgie--possibly Madame George?), it struck me that it wasn't the business-as-usual repetition that was important here, it was the music. The lyrics are merely a construct to enable Van, like some kind of poet-priest/psychologist, to induce a form of hypnosis upon the listener, asking us to watch the pocketwatch, ultimately lifting us into that mystical mindset which can only be brought through the power of music.

    Compared to all that, the rest of the album (except for the incredible closer "In the Afternoon":righton: ) seems contrived and lazily conventional. The lyrics don't seem to have that much work put into them (predictable rhymes, awkward phrasing) and the music feels a little too samey from song to song.
     
  15. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    :laugh:
    I don't agree, but that was funny.
     
  16. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014



    And what about the cover to Veedon Fleece? :righton: :shh: :D
     
  17. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Who is it on the cover of that album anyway?
     
  18. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    Yeah, other comments people have made along the way indicate I will be the minority view when we get to Back On Top. That's alright. I'll carry that weight. Or may be I'll drop it on the burning ground :)
     
  19. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    My Keep It Simple vinyl arrived.....:winkgrin:

    oh and did I mention side 4 has three bonus cuts not on the cd?

    Blue and Green
    Little Village
    and The Healing Has Begun
    all recorded January 26, 2008 at the Blackpool Opera House.........:winkgrin:
     
  20. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    I demand an immediate assessment of the quality of this performance of "And The Healing Has Begun". Get busy, Mr. DJ :wave:
     
  21. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    haha, give me til tomorrow....i'm gonna needledrop it as I listen so i need to sort all the set up out...sooon.....
     
  22. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    :whistle: :nauga:
     
  23. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    Hand Bills are appearing all over NYC. Posted on every blank wall promoting Keep It Simple with the photo of Van. The release date is listed as 04/01/2008.

    April Fools day, wonder if that is significant?
     
  24. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    Rolling Stone review

    Van Morrison

    Days Like This

    Rolling Stone: Not Rated Average User Rating: 4.5of 5 Stars

    Just past the halfway point of his 25th album as a solo artist, Van Morrison offers a Vegas-like soft shoe called "Songwriter." It's his statement of purpose, codified in cringe-ola couplets: "I'm a songwriter, I can put it in words/I'm a songwriter, and it's not for the birds." If you've been moved by anything Morrison has done in the last 10 years, it's hard not to be discouraged: Why would Morrison, king of curmudgeonly cranks, feel compelled to add an extra helping of sanctimony to "I Write the Songs"?

    Immediately following "Songwriter" comes a stunningly simple piece of introspection called "Days Like This" – classic Van Morrison, as though he knew he would need to atone pretty quickly. With its steady, churchgoing easiness, "Days Like This" is everything "Songwriter" is not: a gentle, understated gospel prayer invested with lyrical poise and old-soul insight. Here is the man who is concerned with soul healing and salvation, his every pronouncement buttressed by terse horns and firm piano triads. Here is the worshipful Irish aspirant to the soul throne.

    One campy indulgence, one masterpiece: That's the general pattern on the bumpy Days Like This. There are moments of genius followed by lavish displays of questionable taste, sometimes within the same song. Though the mood doesn't shatter, the title track isn't exactly enhanced by Morrison's squawky, wobbly alto saxophone solo. Elsewhere, again proving that he's not the best judge of talent, he allows the two guest vocalists who trampled 1994's A Night in San Francisco to wander freely through his new material. Daughter Shana Morrison sings an odiously off-pitch duet with Dad on the Ray Charles classic "You Don't Know Me" and contributes hair-raising backing vocals to songs that didn't need any such help. And singer/songwriter Brian Kennedy worms his way into "Melancholia" and other selections simply by repeating Morrison's vocal phrases – a mindless echo. In a small, timid voice that's nearly buried in the mix, Kennedy sings with surplus earnestness until the lyrics, sometimes even the rather profound lyrics, are reduced to a gibberish-filled pingpong match.

    Throughout, there's the sense that Morrison is trying to get back to that light, freewheeling sound of decades gone by – the Van Morrison of "Wild Night" and "Moondance," which seemed closer at hand on 1993's masterful Too Long in Exile. Instead, he selects a peppy faux-jazz celebration of love, "Perfect Fit," as an opener. This seems overweeningly cheerful at first – especially given everything we know about this brooding bard.

    Gradually, "Fit" descends into the ruminative atmospheres that Morrison, alone among songwriters, sketches with unflinching accuracy. Quieter pieces like "Russian Roulette" and "Melancholia" capture the perpetually seeking Morrison in near-peak form, muttering to himself from some deep exile the world will never penetrate. On "No Religion," Morrison admits as much: "When I cleaned up my diction, I had nothing left to say." The other songs, if the words of "Songwriter" are to be believed, are merely what he does for a living.
     
  25. peterC

    peterC Aussie Addict

    Location:
    sydney
    Alas, I fear they will be very disappointed.
     
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