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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. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    One more aside. I'll be heading out shortly to loiter around the Austin Music Hall in hopes of scoring a cheap ticket to Van's show tonight. My success (or lack thereof) will play a large role in how hard I try to get into tomorrow night's SXSW Van appearance.
     
  2. gohill

    gohill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    This one and How Long Has this Been Going On are the only Van albums i don 't have which i think says quite a lot. I used to have this but sold it with every Van cd after Beautiful Vision (No Guru excepted,as its my equal fave along with Veedon Fleece) quite a few years back when i reckoned i needed to trim my huge Van collection down to the essential albums. Probably also said a lot at the time that only one album post 1982 survived! Anyway i made a mistake of course and have bought all the rest back over the past 2-3 years along with the ones i missed post Back On Top until Whats Wrong With This Picture drew me back in on a random purchase a while after it came out. However i have never really felt Too Long in Exile is providing a burning hole in my collection. I did really like the version of lLonely Avenue on this from memory. Jumped forward and listening to Days Like This right now, a nice though untaxing listen but for Brian Kennedy ('the hideous echo') in preparation for its iminent arrival. Does How Long Has This Been Going On, A Night In San Francisco and maybe Tell Me Something come before that. He started pumping out so much in the 90's i lose track. Havent even heard that album he made with Linda Gail Lewis at all and don't think i want to especially after the tawdry court case she raised against him for sexual harrassment or something. :(
     
  3. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Don't get me started about Brian Kennedy, man!
    (Don't get me started about Brian Kennedy, man!):laugh:
     
    mark ab likes this.
  4. gohill

    gohill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    Just finished Days Like This and "the curse of kennedy" seems even worse than i remember. What was Van thinking of? I daresay we will get to this in time.

    Picked up a cheap copy of Tupelo Honey Warner Brothers cd for £3.99 at the weekend (extremely hard to come by in the UK as the early 70's to early 90's cd's were of course released on Polydor here) and its sounds really warm and classy. I am not as hung up on sonics as some of the obsessives on the forum but the Van 1997 remasters have always sounded way too bright and harsh on the 70's albums so its good to hear a cd thats close to the vinyl. Now to track down Veedon Fleece and St Dominics on warners cd's. Too many slight clicks on my vinyl copies especially on songs like Come Here My Love spoil my listening a wee bit though they are in pretty good nick ( those albums need to be in perfect condition for a truly satisfying listen imho).

    Listening to the Philosophers Stone disc one now. I kept that cd along with No Guru No Method in the purge of course. You'd have to prise any cd with Contemplation Rose out of my cold dead hands before i part with that. Can't work out why i sold Poetic Champions Compose, Avalon Sunset and Enlightenment though. All 3 excellent albums now safely back in the collection completed with the new remaster of Avalon Sunset i bought the other week. That one sounds okay as the remastering on the late 80's/90's cd's doesn't ruin the original sound.
     
  5. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    Just returned from Van's show. Good, but underwhelming. I wanted to go to church, but Van wasn't going there. The show had sort of a mellow good-timey vibe to it. Started at 7 on the dot. Ended at 8:30 on the dot. No encore. I missed the first song while I was haggling for my ticket.

    To say this is not a greatest hits tour would be an understatement :laugh: It's not like I wanted to hear the hits either, but Van completely ignored the vast majority of an impressive body of work. I must own 30 Van albums and the set included only 4 songs I know, 5 if you count "Entrainment" which I have heard on the raddio. 2 of those were covers of "I Can't Stop Loving You" (much better than the Hymns version thanks to a slower tempo and some inspired pedal steel playing) and "St. James Infirmary" (highlight of the show). No interesting medleys a la San Francisco.

    He did a straight "Moondance" that was mostly a vehicle for soloing and introducing the band (an 11 piece backing band--no wonder tix are so expensive). The lone other "classic" track was a somewhat subdued rendition of "Bright Side Of The Road" which nevertheless brought the crowd to it's feet (I guess they were excited to hear a song they knew).

    I'll have to get back to you about what else was played after I review song titles from the few recent albums I don't have, but I picked out "Magic Time" for sure. The majority of the set must have come from Keep It Simple (understandable), Magic Time and Down The Road.

    Oh, and I passed on the $40 t-shirts. . .
     
  6. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    Well, trying to match up song titles this morning with snippets of lyrics I can recall, I believe the following songs were also played: "School Of Hard Knocks", "Soul", "Keep It Simple", "Playhouse", and "Beauty Of Days Gone By" (the set closer--I'm really unsure if this was actually the song). That leaves several songs that I have no idea what they were including an instrumental featuring lots of Van on sax and some wordless vocalizing. I would guess the remaining mystery songs must have been from the new album.

    It must be said that all the new songs seemed to work well live and got good audience response. The crowd was pretty enthusiastic, bursting into whoops and applause whenever Van did any vocal acrobatics. I think Van could have torn the roof off the place had he deigned to play anything at all familiar.

    Lots of people milling around in stunned disbelief after the house lights came up indicating no encore. Overheard on the way out: "'Moondance' was the only song he played that I knew", "I just wanted him to play 'Brown-eyed Girl'" :laugh:
     
  7. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    :laugh: An utterance one can almost count on having been said at every Van concert for the last 38 years.

    "Entrainment" is growing on me. It has a nice little mood to it and lives up to the album title.
     
  8. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Wow, Too Long in Exile seems to have been largely ignored by our regular contributors. It's mostly been just me and curbach having a back-and-forth here.:laugh:
    Maybe everyone fell asleep during the protracted ponderousness that constitutes tracks 10-15.

    I do agree with you, curbach, about the disappointment arising from the Yeats poem "Before the World Was Made." Heylin says at one point Van considered recording an entire album of the Great Poets' works set to music but it obviously never came to fruition. Not among my favourite Yeats poems, and Van didn't even write the music for this one--I know he didn't for "Let the Slave" either, but that was more effective, imo--so it doesn't hold much significance for me.
     
  9. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    Yeah, everyone seems to have jumped off the Van bus at this point (perhaps with good reason). I'm going to feel really bad when we get to the albums I don't have. You may just be talking to yourself :laugh: I guess I better buy them quick (added benefit, may be I'll recognize a few more songs from last night's show). Unless I'm forgetting one, I'm missing Days Like This, Down The Road, Magic Time, You Win Again, the Mose Allison tribute and the Chieftons album.
     
  10. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Well, some folks could be away for March break right now, and presumably William will have returned by the time we get to the next record.

    Don't forget on the 17th we're planning to have a special St. Patrick's Day edition of the thread where we discuss and compile an ultimate Celtic Van CD.
     
  11. drewslo

    drewslo Forum Resident

    I am fond of this album. "Big Time Operators" is like a sequel to "The Story Of Them". "Lonely Avenue" features some of my favorite Van vocalizing. This is perhaps the most bluesy, raw album since the Bang sessions. This is a return to Van's early roots. I always took the title to be a reference to this. I love the two J.L. Hooker tracks. After reading Tom's praise for "In The Forest", I gained a new appreciation for that track. I agree that "Till We Get The Healing Done" is a lesser version of the classic "And The Healing Has Begun". Van tries his best to get this going, but it's been done better. Overall, I think Van's vocals are great - he's looking back on his career and revisiting early influences. I actually like the jazz stuff at the end...it flows well.
     
  12. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    You know something, I never thought of that.:righton: Nice observation.
    I'm going to go back and listen to both of them with that idea in mind.
     
  13. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014



    I'm still on the bus... or Van... just busy working on my Master's Thesis, but home today, just put 2LIE on the turntable (and took some pix I'm hope to post on here forthwith) side one, come and gone, nothing moved me (I was listening to Best of V.3 yesterday at school, and the tracks after exile (from SF shows/Cd were much better, more inspired, more moving...) Oh, I like this song "In The Forest."

    cool report in Curbach, :righton: know what you mean by wanting sum "Chruch", my one Van show was the best night of church in my life, ah men, and I can imagine being dissapointed if it (my next one) was Van Bore Dumb... Brings to mind my recent viewing of the Mountreux DVD, the 1980 show simply inspired, the 74 show, pretty good, but same vibe as your show, no hits, in and out, Van not willing to share his take on the grand plan... tonight's NOT the night...

    More later, pix first, thesis, then exile....
     
  14. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    :laugh:
    Exterior and interior shots of the Van-van. [Van, Michelle Rocca. Not pictured: DJWILBUR]
     
  15. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    Too Long In Exile, double import picture for your viewing pleasure...
     
  16. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Nice shots! Cool to see the vinyl.
     
  17. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    Boy he sure looks happy to be in a nice car with a beautiful woman drapped over him... must of had a rough life... our lad... shame about that vox...:D
     
  18. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    Couple a little blurry sorry, beginner...

    Also really liked the song after In The Forest, about the healing... very nice...

    Desided to take a Van break, and put on Shiek Yerbuti, pust aquired RL pressing, man, talk about culture shock, one should not go from Van to Zappa EVER... Might have to go back... though I do like City of Tiny Lights...
     
  19. laughingboy

    laughingboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bucks, UK
    Me too. I don't really rate the album, but the fact that the last few tracks have an improvised, live-in-the-studio kind of atmosphere enlivens proceedings enough that I slip the fourth side of the vinyl on every now and then.

    But this is where me and Van part ways. I bought Days Like This when it came out, but I only like a couple of tracks. As Tom mentioned, 'Songwriter' on that album is one of the worst things he has released, and its attitude of 9-to-5 musicianship almost single-handedly convinced me that Van had quit his mystical path.

    So, when I think about buying the later albums, I get cold feet. There are usually one or two tracks to tempt me, but it always feels too likely that I'll be buying another 'Days Like This' for me to commit. For this reason, I will be reading the rest of this thread with interest.

    I am already tempted to buy 'Back On Top', and you chaps haven't even got there yet:D . This could be costly...
     
  20. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Much of the album sounds like it was improvised, or very close to it. This is getting repetitive of me, I know, but Heylin recounts more stories of bemused musicians thinking they were merely performing a blues play-through to familiarize themselves with the material, only to have Van say that was the take going on the album and they were free to go.

    I'll dig up the quotation later.
     
  21. laughingboy

    laughingboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bucks, UK
    Just thinking aloud, Tom, but I think that this improvisatory method - that worked so well on the extended meditative workouts of the late 60s and 70s - is peculiarly ill-suited to the soft-shoe blues that Van favours in the 90s and beyond. The bluesier material needs a full performance to really come alive. Compare for example I Will Be There on St Dominic's Preview (a song I don't particular like), where the band seems to be responding to Van's every ounce of effort, with Lonely Avenue on Too Long In Exile. The latter, while perfectly adequate, doesn't have the snap or drive that I would hope for.

    It is as if Van is so concerned with whether his vocalising feels fresh (to him) that he overlooks the fact that the listener at home might want a bit of spark from his consummately proficient band.
     
  22. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Not to leave the present topic, but "Songwriter" is dreadful, to be sure; "Ancient Highway," on the other hand, does a lot to make up for it--for me anyway. After a couple of consecutive missteps in the Mystical Workout style ("Take Me Back" and "Till We Get the Healing Done"), that song was a nice return to the mystic.
     
  23. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Excellent point.:righton:
    Van might have been better off letting the musicians become acclimated to what he was going for. There's inspired spontaneity and then there's playing by rote, which is what I think is going on a lot of the time on Too Long in Exile.
     
  24. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014



    If you mean ("Take Me Back" and "Till We Get the Healing Done") off of Hymns and 2LIE, I must beg to differ, those are two of the highest highlights on 2 albums not having that many... Not to diss Ancient Highway... which is a great song... ;)
     
  25. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Yeah, I figured I'd probably be in the minority where those tracks are concerned.
     
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