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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. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    St. Thomas, ON
    I just checked Amazon.ca and Keep It Simple is sitting atop their best seller list.:righton: Awwwwright Van! Nice work, El Pudgo!:righton:
    It's number 3 on Amazon.com. This is extraordinary for Van.

    We'll be moving on to The Healing Game tomorrow, weather permitting.
  2. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    St. Thomas, ON
    It may not be a golden autumn day, but I woke up with fire in my belly, so I think we'll move on to The Healing Game at around lunchtime (my time).

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    the world is on your time tom! i wonder if we'll get a flood of Floyd heads wanting to talk about The Piper At The Gates of Dawn??

    it's cued up for a listen in the car this very morning..(my time)
  4. dgstrat

    dgstrat Senior Member

    West Islip, NY
    Perfect timing cause there's "spring in my heart"
  5. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    In The Forest...

    All Right!!! I'm ready for this one, having recently bought it and quite enjoyed it... Rough God Goes Riding is my theme song of these strange daze...and...

    I absolutely love Piper At The Gates Of Dawn... you mean its a Floyd cover??

    looking for words to this one... didn't even mind BK!!!:shh:


    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    no, just the name of their first album...
  7. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    Hah!!! Got cha DJ Willy... suckafish... ;) :shake: :agree: :righton:


    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    :cheers: let the healing games begin.
  9. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    St. Thomas, ON


    All songs by Van Morrison:
    1. "Rough God Goes Riding" – 6:19
    2. "Fire in the Belly" – 6:34
    3. "This Weight" – 4:37
    4. "Waiting Game" – 5:56
    5. "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" – 3:53
    6. "Burning Ground" – 5:38
    7. "It Once Was My Life" – 5:10
    8. "Sometimes We Cry" – 5:14
    9. "If You Love Me" – 5:01
    10. "The Healing Game" – 5:16


    * Van Morrison - vocal, acoustic guitar, harmonica
    * Ronnie Johnson - electric guitar
    * Peter O'Hanlon - dobro
    * Leo Green - tenor saxophone, background vocals
    * Pee Wee Ellis - soprano and baritone saxophones, background vocals
    * Matt Holland - trumpet, background vocals
    * Haji Akbar - flugelhorn
    * Paddy Moloney - Uilleann pipes, whistle
    * Robin Aspland, Phil Coulter - piano
    * Georgie Fame - Hammond organ, background vocals
    * Nicky Scott - bass guitar
    * Alec Dankworth - double bass
    * Geoff Dunn - drums, percussion

    1996 was a rough one for Van. I'll give a quick summary of the gory details as recounted in Heylin: his relationship with Michelle Rocca ended (temporarily) after the Irish papers ran with a story about an alleged affair between Michelle and a man from the horse-racing industry. For someone like Van, who guarded his privacy with as much zeal as an inveterate control freak can muster (oh, that reminds me, still no sign of our Van Morrison resource site, btw, since it was yanked), the negative publicity generated by the alleged affair brought their stormy relationship head on into the public eye. Unfortunately, things only got worse for our jilted gent, and, after an afternoon of boozing with two female acquaintances (for those who care, Sheila and Rose), Van exacted his revenge on Rocca when he decided to retire to a hotel room (with his two new friends in tow) for two hours of jellyroll bakin'.

    Of course the press ran with this one too, giving him still more press, more humiliation, leading him to an uncharacteristic mea culpa with a reporter: "I just felt lonely and rejected and wanted something to hold on to," he began.

    So it seems predictable and reasonable that after the genre indulgences of the last two albums that Van would hunker down, use the pain of the preceding year as inspiration, and produce another great album.

    And a great album it is.

    "Rough God Goes Riding" starts off the album in classic Van style. You just know it's going to be good when one of the first phrases heard is "ancient highway," one of his traditional images, which communicates to us Van is in mystical mode. If it had begun with a phrase like "two-bit chiselers" or "crooks stole my money" or the like, I would have been very worried indeed.:laugh:
    "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" manages to celebrate Kenneth Grahame's timeless Wind in the Willows without ever being overshadowed by its subject: the book is merely a springboard for Van's own personal meditations. Just when I'd have thought Van would never be able to take me back, take me way, way, back into the mystic, he does so with haunting effortlessness. "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" is a stunning song that I keep coming back to time and time again.
    "Burning Ground" is the peppiest, most hard-driving song recorded by Van since "Real Real Gone"; a punchy, gritty performance here from all concerned. The energy exhibited is comparable to any of the so-called "classic"-period pieces like "Domino" and "Wild Night." Incidentally, people who hold out those early albums as some kind of totemic indication of how great Van was as opposed to what he had become, ought to listen to a track like "Burning Ground" with open ears.

    In "The Healing Game," Van cops to the repetition for which he is sometimes criticized, but ironically, it is in this unabashed acknowledgement of repetition wherein we discover such repetition is not gratuitous or an indication of any lack of ideas: Healing has always been the name of the game. And, like the priest he is, the coda to this song takes me to that same plane of unnamed, peaceful religiosity to which "And the Healing Has Begun" took me. Different song, but the same message, same approach, same imagery. Nothing new under the sun, but when it is done this much soul, there is no need for any alternative message.
  10. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    St. Thomas, ON
  11. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    All In? (Good Fun...)

    Amen, brother!!! :righton:

    It's next up in the Cd player... one I don't ahve on vinyl, but who does?

  12. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    The Healing Game (Pt. 1)

    I only just listened to this Cd for the first time last month, and I really liked it. I found the first 'side"~half especially strong, and honestly didn't even notice BK's vocal paradox until some folks went off on it in hear. I love the title track, Fire in the Belly, The Wieght, the sublime TPATGOD and the killer, Rough God Goes Riding... is this not the song (sign) of our times or what?


    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    there's a fire in that belly

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    i dig Brian's vocals for the most part and a couple others in here do as well. So i think we have a pretty even split on that one....he's got a nice voice IMO...not sure why Van teamed up with him on these songs, but I dont fnd it a deterrent for me to enjoy them.
  15. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    St. Thomas, ON
    You know he's talkin' bout this weight.
  16. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    Love the Van-as-hitman album cover, but I don't much care for this one. Too much Brian Kennedy, not enough memorable material. It's overdue for a re-listening which I hope to get to this week, but good ol' Tom managed to hit all the highlights I can recall. In fact, as I look at my iPod right now I see that the songs I chose to load from this album are indeed "Rough God", "Piper", "Burning Ground", and the title track. All are nice songs, but none is really crying out for a place in my imaginary best of Van Morrison comp.

    And what's up with that really weird spoken word segment in the middle of "Burning Ground"?
  17. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    Van in his fat Elvis phase singing about God, Grace, and Faries?

    We'll call it The Healing Game...
    ghostjmf likes this.

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    he's always seemingly in his elvis fat phase.
  19. drewslo

    drewslo Forum Resident

    Just listened to "The Healing Game" in preparation.

    I agree "Rough God.." is a tremendous opener. Van means business. It's apocalyptic, poetic, reminiscent of Yeats. When he performed this live (on the Dylan, Joni tour and latter on the Dylan, Lucinda Williams tour), the band started, then Van came out from the wings on harmonica, playing the tune for a long time before attacking the vocals. Very dramatic.

    Van's vocals in a way transcend the very good material. "Fire In The Belly" is a great example. He actually sings as if there is fire in that belly, especially during the latter half of the song.

    Tracks 1 through 6 really flow well. As mentioned "Piper" is beautiful. Nice to have an acoustic number from Van.

    "Burning Ground" is the centerpiece. Again, when Van performed this live it took on another dimension. I remember it being at the end of the set. Is this the song that Van would carry the mic stand on his back like a cross? Much like "Summertime In England" became transformed, this song was stunning live.

    I must add that the Pee Wee Ellis factor is in high gear on this album. Beautiful sax solos beginning with the opening track.

    Tracks 7 through 9 give us a breather. They are placed where they belong - toward the end. I think they are outshined by the first half of the album but are still enjoyable.

    The title track is a great vocal performance. I'm not completely taken by it as a song because it is a bit self consciously an attempt at a classic. The original "And The Healing Has Begun" from "Into The Music" is still the best of the "Healing" songs but this one holds up well. I prefer the version Van does with John Lee Hooker one of JLH's albums from the same year.

    As mentioned earlier, Van put on some great shows with this band. The Shoreline Ampitheatre show (on the Dylan, Lucinda tour) comes to mind. He was on fire - also did a great version of "Just Like A Woman".

    So this is a very good album. A classic? Not quite on the level of "No Guru" but one of Van's best vocal performances coming from deep down in that belly fire.

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    the Rolling Stone 4 * review

    Van Morrison is the living embodiment of an old cliché: His voice is so good, you could listen to him singing the phone book. During the course of a 30-year solo career, he has crafted classic albums like Astral Weeks, Moondance and Into the Music. He has also chased his muse down innumerable blind alleys, turning his back on the audience both figuratively and literally. After 1995's Days Like This and the perversely cynical track "Songwriter," some longtime Morrisonians wondered whether it wasn't time for Van to actually give Ma Bell a spin.

    Let's put that on hold for now. Though The Healing Game won't erase the years of dashed expectations, it should salve the wounds of frustrated fans. Morrison hasn't retreated from his spiritual quest or retracted his loathing of Information Age phonies. Maybe he has just remembered something: Graspable tunes and reasonable, cogent lyrics are a more efficient means of communicating than endless vamps and lofty sermonizing. The Healing Game's 10 songs adhere to pop structures while allowing him room to stretch his celebrated vocal cords. Morrison works the gruff low end of his register to great effect, especially; like a veteran blues belter, he's grown more authoritative with age.

    At first the musical setting of The Healing Game recalls Moondance: jazzy guitar chords, gentle-yet-firm syncopation, horn charts centered on a warm, reedy baritone sax. But this is no retread: It's subtler, more autumnal. Morrison repeats lines hypnotically, stroking each word without obscuring its meaning, filling every syllable and sigh with suggestion. Without grandstanding or lapsing into self-consciousness, he summons the testimonial power of gospel and soul music – even if you don't exactly know what he's talking about.

    All you have to do is hear Morrison describe his "fire in the belly" (on the song of the same name) over a smoldering groove, and you realize his flame is the kind that sparks indefinitely. "Burning Ground" illuminates the murky connections between the brief ecstasy of romantic love and the sustained joy of religious faith – whether or not you recognize the historical references to the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain. On the title track, he salutes the mysterious "homeboys" who croon "songs of praise" to an unnamed higher power. It's not hard to imagine devotees of the Babyface/Tony Rich school of acoustic soul discovering a kindred spirit here. After years of preaching to the converted, maybe Van the Man is ready to find a new flock. On The Healing Game, he sounds more than ready to meet them halfway.
  21. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    St. Thomas, ON
    Outtakes from this album, which may show up on the forthcoming remaster, include:
    "Full Force Gale '96":wtf:
    "Look What the Good People Done"
  22. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    Awesome review drewslo...:righton:

    YOU rock!!!:D

    Now I got a "fire in me belly"... ;)

  23. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    St. Thomas, ON
    Does anyone have these?
    Tracks are:
    1) Rough God Goes Riding / At the End Of The Day / The Healing Game (alternate version)

    2) The Healing Game CD2
    Ref: 27781
    UK 4 Track CD Single - Part 2 (bottom)
    The Healing Game/ Full Force Gale 96/Look What The Good People Done/Celtic Spring
  24. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    St. Thomas, ON
    These tracks have already been released as part of the CD singles pictured above. Love to hear some words on these bonus tracks if anyone has 'em.
  25. drewslo

    drewslo Forum Resident

    I do have a Van Morrison signed gold album (or CD) of "The Healing Game" that the record company sent to the radio station I worked at.
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