Thursday, 2 August 2018

Van Morrison


  

I initially became aware of Van Morrison in the mid seventies, because my friend's older sister had the "Brown Eyed Girl" single from 1967. I loved that, and also, as a result of David Bowie's cover of "Here Comes The Night" on 1973's "Pin Ups", checked out Them's original version of it, which she also had. From then, though, he sort of passed me by as punk and new wave took over my angry young spirit, until I was walking through Piccadilly Circus one hot afternoon in the early eighties. I went into "Our Price" record shop ( I could show you where it used to be, but it is long gone now, of course) and they were playing this great song - really soulful and with a supremely evocative vocal. I asked the assistant who it was. The song was "Crazy Love" from Morrison's "Moondance" album. I duly "got into" Morrison and starting exploring his back catalogue - mainly the early stuff, "Moondance" and "His Band And The Street Choir". Then I started enjoying his more mystical material like "Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart". I have been with him ever since, through his various journeys - spiritualism, Christianity, jazz, blues, soul, Caledonian soul - he has been putting out albums very year or so for decades now and I am always able to get something out of all of them.


Many have accused him of being formulaic, particularly in his later years. I see him more as trustworthy and honest. You know what you're going to get and if you like it then you'll be fine. The same theory applies to his live performances. On stage banter is a kept to a non-existent level. Good. Just play your sublime music.

The man is, of course, a "complex" character - almost simultaneously giving and generous yet mind-bogglingly mean-spirited. A great quote is that you can still really like his music despite having met him. I should know, my Father was the same sort of man. The thing is, when those characters choose to give, they have so much there to enrich our lives. Van Morrison is one of those people.

LIST OF ALBUMS

Click on the title for a more detailed review.

Blowin' Your Mind (1967)
Astral Weeks (1968)
Moondance (1970)
His Band And The Street Choir (1970)
Tupelo Honey (1971)
St. Dominic's Preview (1972)
Hard Nose The Highway (1973)
Veedon Fleece (1974)
A Period Of Transition (1977)
Wavelength (1978)
Into The Music (1979)
Common One (1980)
Beautiful Vision (1982)
Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart (1983)
A Sense Of Wonder (1985)
No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (1986)
Poetic Champions' Compose (1987)
Irish Heartbeat (1988)
Avalon Sunset (1989)
Enlightenment (1990)
Hymns To The Silence (1991)
Too Long In Exile (1993)
Days Like This (1995)
How Long Has This Been Going On (1995)
Tell Me Something (1996)
The Healing Game (1997)
Back On Top (1999)
You Win Again (2000)
Down The Road (2002)
What's Wrong With This Picture (2003)
Magic Time (2005)
Pay The Devil (2006)
Keep It Simple (2008)
Born To Sing: No Plan B (2012)
Duets: Re-Working The Catalogue (2015)
Keep Me Singing (2016)
Roll With The Punches (2017)
Versatile (2017)
You're Driving Me Crazy (2018)
The Prophet Speaks (2018)
The Best Of Van Morrison Volume One
The Best Of Van Morrison Volume Two

The Healing Game - 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (2019)

Van Morrison - All Live Recordings

* with Them

*The Angry Young Them (1965)
*Them Again (1966)
*The Complete Them (1964-1967)

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