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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. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    So you must be in the very select Imacculate Speech of the Heart Club then?

    ;)
     
  2. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    "Til We Get The Healing Done" may be a highlight of Exile, but its not too high. I would also cite the title track and "In The Forest" as highlights, but also not as high as one would hope. BTW, anyone else notice that strange highpitched whine that starts up in the middle of "In The Forest"? I've never been quite certain if that is a recording flaw or some sort of intentional effect.
     
  3. albert_m

    albert_m Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atl., Ga, USA
    Too Long in Exile is a good album of Van going back to his roots. Again, I really think that Hymns was the transition of the adult conptemporary/smoith jazz/new age 80’s to more rootsy stuff. The album does suffer from length in overall size and song length. The title song is good opener and highlight (not a classic but he sounds good and well, I like sax & overall sound).

    "Til We Get the Healing Done" is even better than the Too Long in Exile. Yes he’s been down that familiar road before, but I’m not talking about lyrics. But again, it’s way too long (maybe that’s what inspired the album song/title…?)

    “In the Forest” might be the best one on the album. For me, Forest, Exile and the duets with John Lee Hooker and cover of the Lonesome Road are worth it for me, but this overall is not an collective work that I enjoy. I don’t care for the last few tracks and they contribute to the “too long” ness of the cd.

    All Music Guide gives it a ** rating, but in quality I feel it's a little better despite not being as engaging many others.
     
  4. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
  5. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    I NO EYE KNOW...

    I was just tryin' got get your Van in a Dan druff... ;)

    Still, if you don't mind paraprasing, whats your beef with Take Me Back and The Healing has Begun?

    Sure, not AW, VF, or CO quality, but surely some of the best stuff on these two albums? NO?
     
  6. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    I tried to explain why in my review but maybe it didn't come across as clearly as I hoped. I appreciate the question because it forces me to understand my own reactions to, and opinions of, the songs in question. This, in short, is why I dearly love this thread. In other threads I've seen--and at times become caught up in as a participant--people get upset about someone trashing an album they love, get hung up on arguments, antagonism, sometimes resulting in personal insults and so forth---and yet few people stop to ask that person why they feel a certain way. The reason--the why--a person has their opinion gets completely bypassed in the process.
    So for that I'm very grateful to you.

    First off, I like the long mystical works probably more than any other style Van does, except, of course, for the man-God-woman relationship songs I've named along the way (most recently "In the Forest"). "Take Me Back" and "Till We Get the Healing Done" just don't take me there, if you know what I mean---with "there" being essentially the same "there" that the Staple Singers talk about. I've tried to get into the vibe but ultimately those two songs feel forced or overwrought or something. It's mysticus interruptus or something.:laugh:

    Let me put it this way: To me, "Till We Get the Healing Done" seems to coast along on a flat trajectory, while something like "Almost Independence Day" rises and falls and builds to multiple climaxes---I get drawn into the experience, a part of it, or it a part of me, if you want me to get really corny. The two tunes I mentioned just don't do that for me, but I still listen to them and can enjoy them for what they are, you know?
    Not every Mystical Workout is going to take me to that special trance-like, meditative state. That's all I'm saying.
     
  7. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    Thanks Tom, a well put explaination. I'd agree that the two tracks in question don't have the intensity of AID and LTTL, , YDPNPYDPTR, or WHIO for that matter, but, in the context of the albums they share songs with, I think they are some of the better tracks on these mediocre? Van albums...


    PS: Is it safe to assume that you, like me, are a big fan of Clark's 1974 masterpiece, No Other? Talk about a mystic experience... scary tasty...

    Hey, No Other AND Veedon Fleece AND On The Beach AND Court & Spark...

    wow, 74 weren't 'alf bad!!!

    cheers,
     
  8. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
  9. mrbillswildride

    mrbillswildride Internet Asylum Escapee 2010, 2012, 2014

    Did neither of you catch my tweaked title of the much maligned masterpiece?

    Or was it just to lame to comment on... :D

    As for club membership, for that new age synth relic? Shirely You Jester...
     
  10. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    I have thought, since I first acquired it, that this was one of my least favorite Van albums. Maybe, but it ain't bad. It's just not there, you know? I've played it 3 or 4 times this week, trying to see if there is something profound going on in there. The most profound things I can find here are a really good original blues song in Lonely Avenue, with some of the finest guitar comping I've heard, in which entire, fairly complex chords are hammered on, completely transforming the instrument's attack and making it sound alien and chiming and marvelous. And then, later that same tune? Some of the worst scat I've heard. What is that, a goat?

    Oh, another pretty profound moment is the - no contest - best arrangement and performance of Good Morning Little Schoolgirl ever put on record. Truly outstanding IMHO. It is a childish tune miraculously rendered sleek, elegant and sophisticated. Don't know how it happened, really, but there it is.

    But God, Sex, Mythic Memory, Mystic Workout? I'm not hearin' it anymore. It's a pleasant listen. with a couple of real high points, but it's not as good as Hymns, much less Into the Music.

    Oh, the jazz stuff. Eh...most of it is pretty forgettable, except for Moody's Mood For Love, which is very memorably annoying. I really like Lonesome Road, though. I don't know why, but I do. Overall, Van is treading water here, and more pleasantly so than he has a couple of times in earlier decades.

    Hold on. It gets worse before it gets better...

    Tim
     
  11. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    They're too polite to correct your spelling. :)

    Tim
     
  12. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    Hey everyone. Work has had me tied up but I've just spent some time catching up on your comments. To Long In Exile is one of my favorite "later" Van albums. NO it is not on a par with NGNMNT or even Poet Champions Compose, but it has a R&B edge that I like. Van's smoking version of Lonely Avenue shows me that he should return to the music he loves for rejuvenation, rather than recycling ideas when "he's not feelin' it anymore." I love the fact that Van revisited Gloria and it became a hit again in the UK. That was a big risk and he pulled it off repaying a debt to John Lee Hooker in the process. NICE. I like both the old and the new Gloria.:thumbsup:

    I agree with Tom, that by now Van's mystical work outs have a perfunctory feel, however they put me in a good mind even though they may not be transcendent. My theory is that Van's early work were often played by musician's playing at the edge of their comfort zone. Not really jazz players Van pushed them into unfamiliar territory, where interesting things happened. The mystical music all relies on the players really listening to each other. By the time Too Long In Exile came out Van is playing with musician's that have the kind of academy training that ensures they are playing well within their comfort zone. The player's chops make for a safe level of professionalism, but the magic is sacrificed in the process. I think some of the redundant lyrical ideas are what Zappa called "conceptual continuity." After all style is based on limitations and Van has been honing his style now for 40+ years. :shh:

    The high points for me, besides the R&B, are In the Forest, I"ll Take Care of You and Till We Get the Healing Done. I also love the instrumentation, saxes, Hammond organ, and a locked in rhythm section. Among Van fans this one is a bit of a whipping boy but over time it has surpassed Hymns To the Silence for me.

    Since I was too busy to comment, I'll just add Hymns was one that I loved at first, and then it slowly slipped in my esteem. Although I like it it is not even a "second tier" Van album for me. As always I have found the writing and comments on the thread insightful, humorous and thought provoking. What's the matter don't you guys know this is the internet?;) :D
     
  13. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    You suck. Loser.

    Have I got that internet vibe yet? :)

    Tim
     
  14. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    Yes! Much better.:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  15. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Wow, extremely well put. That's exactly what I've was blathering on about (except I was hindered by my usual verbosity). :laugh: You cut right to the chase and nailed it.:righton:
     
  16. gohill

    gohill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    Strangely enough perhaps one of the reasons i have not re-bought Too Long In Exile is that i consciously seem to think of it as not really a 'proper' Van Morrison album. In my mind i lump it in with his side project albums How Long Has This Been Going On, Tell Me Something , The Skiffle Sessions and You Win Again. I don't know why, perhaps its the guest artists, the plethora of cover versions etc etc. It all makes it sound like a diversion rather than the real deal. However I dont have the same problem with Pay The Devil for some reason. Perhaps because thats a good, strong record.
     
  17. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    Yep. I think Pete just nailed one. While I still think Van's muse/inspiration was a big part of the change around this time in his career, there is no doubt that early on, when it was really good, it was good because all the players were deep in the groove. By the time we got here...maybe even by the time we got to, say, Inarticulate Screech of the Heart(?), the players were so so good they could phone it in. With a few exceptions (and there are some really notable ones) the instrumental support was on cruise control. Van was supplying all the mojo. When he ran short of mojo there was nothing left but craft.

    Craft ain't good enough.

    Tim
     
  18. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    Pay The Devil is some serious #$% that goes way past a side project or a set of cover tunes. Let's examine this for a moment because, after all, that's what we do here. My apologies for getting out of sequence:

    1) He did what brother Ray did, famously, so he set himself up for a very difficult comparison.

    2) He covered some of the greatest country songs ever written, made famous by some of the greatest country singers to ever record a track. Tough duty all around.

    It took some huge spherical objects to even attempt such a project. Did he pull it off? I'm not getting that far out of sequence...

    Tim
     
  19. gohill

    gohill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    Well i managed to pick up a copy of Keep It Simple tonight in Glasgow on my way home. Listening to it now, its rawer and quite bluesy and i am liking it. The presence of john Plantania on lead guitar on most tracks is very welcome indeed. Wont talk anymore about it until i have given it a few good listens but its a positive first impression.
     
  20. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    I got the sense it was going to be a rawer sound than previous efforts just from my cursory listens to "That's Entrainment."
    We look forward to a fulsome review after you've had time to Vanitize yourself.:righton:
     
  21. gohill

    gohill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    Still Vanitizing myself on this one but after 3 full listens its definately not a Tier 1 Van album (Astral/moon/tupelo/dominics/veedon/into/guru) or an unexpected late career masterpiece like Dylan pulled off with Time Out Of Mind. Its got some really nice bluesy stuff but mystical Van is definately not present though the second last track 'Soul' is looking promising. Thankfully there's no real clunkers though, even the unpromisingly titled Don't Go To Nightclubs is enjoyable with a very fine vocal. A few more listens are needed but i don't feel its quite there as a Tier 2 Van album (ie. Beautiful Vision, Avalon Sunset, Enlightenment, half of Hymns, Poetic Champions, His Band and The Street Choir, Common One). I think its part of a nice roll with Magic Time, Pay The Devil. The voice is till in awesome condition and the poise and phrasing is so spot on he elevates middling material to something quite special. A more in depth analysis will be forthcoming after a few more listens over the weekend but i would give it a good 3 and a half out of 5 stars so no real letdown. Quality assured!
     
  22. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Thanks. I'm not so sure Van has any Tier 1 albums left in him simply because the well simply has to get dry at some point--he's been so incredibly prolific. At this stage I'm just thankful for what we have, so while Keep It Simple sounds like another workmanlike outing, I'm still looking forward to hearing the voice. There is something to treasure on every Van album, with the exceptions of what DJWILBUR calls the "Turd Trilogy":
    How Long Has This Been Going On?
    Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison
    You Win Again (with Linda Gail Lewis)
     
  23. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    Hhhmmm. The only one of the "trilogy" records I have is How Long Has This Been Going On?. Not my favorite, but not really a turd either. I suppose we'll be discussing it soon enough. . .

    I got to listen to some of Exile on the main system last night and it sounds quite nice. Well done Ian Cooper (why didn't he do all the remasters with this kind of nice well-balanced sound?). Sorry, Tom, didn't get to "Gloria" before it was time for The Daily Show, so I still have no comment on Hooker's guitar. The whining sound I mentioned on "In The Forest" is actually much briefer than I remembered. It appears just before the last verse (right after the guitar solo and repeat of the chorus). Still don't know what it is :confused:
     
  24. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Oh, I'm sure there's some good stuff on it (don't have that one yet), that's just an example of William's unique brand of funny cut-to-the-chase reviewing.
     
  25. albert_m

    albert_m Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atl., Ga, USA
    So it's better to have calculated albums instead of him having fun, doing the songs that inspired him?

    Should he carefully construct an album like the pop stars do who want carefully made hit jukeboxes?

    Yes they are hit and miss, but all three of those have stuff that most any Van could enjoy.

    I don't listen to these as much, or really often at all (I tend to compile my favorites regardless anyway) but it's all that much more to enjoy.

    It doesn't always work, Pay the Devil, was merely ok to me, but country ranks low in genres of music to me personally.
     
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