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Thread: Ok, what's so great about... Van Morrison?

  1. #26
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    My wife likes him a lot. Me, ummm, probably not.

  2. #27
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    My wife talked me into going to one of his shows.
    I honestly remember nothing about it other than the seating location.
    Not the only performance that has left no mark, but one by a more 'notable' performer.
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
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  3. #28
    Estimated Prophet notallwhowander's Avatar
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    I wouldn't call myself a fan, but I own Moondance and really like it a lot. (I've been meaning to move on to Astral Weeks but have yet to do so.) The thing is, I really like the backing band on Moondance and don't know if it something consistent across other records. All I can say is that it all comes together on Moondance in a pretty special way. Far from leaving me cold, I find it quite affecting, a kind of balm on my spirit. Is it the man himself, or the total package? I can't be sure to say.
    Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

  4. #29
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    The only album of his is a live one, that I can’t remember the title off the top of my head, but I like it ok. I have never actually seen him live. I like some of his songs, but never really explored seriously.

  5. #30
    Really love everything from Astral Weeks through Saint Dominic's Preview. There is also an album he did with The Chieftains called Irish Heartbeat that is stellar. Superb versions of "My Lagan Love", "She Moved Through the Fair", "Carrickfergus" and "Raglan Road".
    "And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision."

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  6. #31
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teddy Vengeance View Post

    Now, I generally 'get' and appreciate both Joni and Neil but Van the Man leaves me cold. Yet, the man is a legend, the icon of blue-eyed soul. The voice I find clipped and lacking in dynamics, the songs pedestrian, the lyrics full of stock tropes.
    However, almost anyone in the business talks of him as an untouchable in the pantheon of Great Artists (and we're talking about the music here, not his infamous temperament). So, what am I missing? Tell me proggers!
    Van is known as a prick in the trade...

    For me, I'll keep only two albums (AW and SDP) and I made a CD-r comp from the rest - spread over five or six albums.

    I seem to like mostly his longer songs in, his early albums (and I tried the album in the early 80's Common One with long tracks, but it was a total bore) until Hard Nose The Highway (what a great artwork, btw)...

    The rest of his stuff bores me to shred or leave me cold
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  7. #32
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    I do think Moondance is a great album all the way through and deserves it's accolades, but Astral Weeks, the one everyone says is a masterpiece, leaves me a tad flat. I own Moondance and have a CD-R of songs throughout the rest of his catalog and find it plenty enough Van for me. However, I do visit it quite often and think the best of his stuff has stood up rather well. He hasn't ever really embarrassed himself or chased fads, unlike another blue-eyed soul singing British Empire subject (cough, cough, rod stewart, cough).

  8. #33
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    The shorter songs on Saint Dominic's Preview also have that R&B flavour of Moondance, but the longer songs like 'Listen To The Lion' and 'Almost Independence Day' are something else.
    Such a cool album in how it manages to blend wonderful, punchy, uptempo pop like "Jackie Wilson Said" (what a great album opener!) with those mesmerizing extended slipstreams without one side disturbing the mood of the other. I love love love those more meditative and dark albums like Astral Weeks, Veedon Fleece, and Common One, but I also love the lighthearted, funky stuff like "Domino" and "Blue Money." St. Dominic brings these elements together beautifully.

  9. #34
    Hard to describe as he's had a number of periods. His early albums -Moondance, Astral Weeks, etc - are great, but my favourite period is his "spiritual" one, from 1979's Into the Music tbrough 1987's Poetic Champions Compose. Lyrically his deepest, I think, and musically a combination of great groove and Zen-like vibes.

    Of his early period, 1973's live It's Too Late to Stop Now (made even better with last year's 3CD/1DVD of It's Too Late to Stop Now, Vols II-IV really represents his early material with great playing, energy & commitment. Of his spiritual period, I particularly like 1982's Beautiful Vision, 1983's Inarticulate Speech of the Heart and 1985's A Sense of Wonder, the latter made especially fine by the appearance, on three tracks, of the wonderful Irish band Moving Hearts.
    John Kelman
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  10. #35
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Hard to describe as he's had a number of periods. His early albums -Moondance, Astral Weeks, etc - are great, but my favourite period is his "spiritual" one, from 1979's Into the Music tbrough 1987's Poetic Champions Compose. Lyrically his deepest, I think, and musically a combination of great groove and Zen-like vibes.

    Of his early period, 1973's live It's Too Late to Stop Now (made even better with last year's 3CD/1DVD of It's Too Late to Stop Now, Vols II-IV really represents his early material with great playing, energy & commitment. Of his spiritual period, I particularly like 1982's Beautiful Vision, 1983's Inarticulate Speech of the Heart and 1985's A Sense of Wonder, the latter made especially fine by the appearance, on three tracks, of the wonderful Irish band Moving Hearts.
    That's funny because I only have CDs from Van's earlier period. Sounds like the "Zen" period is worth exploring. I think he's a very soulful singer.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Hard to describe as he's had a number of periods. His early albums -Moondance, Astral Weeks, etc - are great, but my favourite period is his "spiritual" one, from 1979's Into the Music tbrough 1987's Poetic Champions Compose. Lyrically his deepest, I think, and musically a combination of great groove and Zen-like vibes.

    Of his early period, 1973's live It's Too Late to Stop Now (made even better with last year's 3CD/1DVD of It's Too Late to Stop Now, Vols II-IV really represents his early material with great playing, energy & commitment. Of his spiritual period, I particularly like 1982's Beautiful Vision, 1983's Inarticulate Speech of the Heart and 1985's A Sense of Wonder, the latter made especially fine by the appearance, on three tracks, of the wonderful Irish band Moving Hearts.
    I tend to agree with John on this - I love the 80's period but include Wavelength in that group - so from there through Poetic Champions. I agree with the zen comment - these albums have a calmness to them that I find very powerful.

    The early albums are deservedly classics - my favourites are probably St Dominics and Veedon Fleece.

    The albums after Poetic Champions are extremely spotty - I haven't heard them all but the ones I have all have some strong tracks but also definitely weak moments - there are some fantastic moments on Hymns to the Silence.

    My family is from Northern Ireland so when I've seen him in interviews I'm very familiar with the gruff, why are you asking these stupid questions attitude he gives off - strikes me as part of the culture he comes from.

  12. #37
    Geriatric Anomaly progeezer's Avatar
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    I once asked Richard Davis, renowned/legendary (take your pick) jazz bassist, who lives here in Madison, what he thought of Van Morrison back when he played on Astral Weeks (which was recorded with all present at the same time in the studio).

    He basically said, paraphrasing (it was a lot of years ago), "Very talented & adventurous with his music".

    I am a Van fan.
    "My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician, and to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference"

    President Harry S. Truman

  13. #38
    Oh No! Bass Solo! klothos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oreb View Post
    I don't understand these threads. If you actually need someone to explain why music by pretty straightforward performers like Van, Joni or Neil is great then it's not for you. Move on.
    Quote Originally Posted by kid_runningfox View Post
    Oh, I dunno. I don't think it's always unreasonable to ask what it is that causes so many people to rave about a particular artist that leaves you cold. Sometimes that alternative perspective can then act as a way in to appreciating that artist's music. I'd also humbly suggest that what might seem straightforward to some might prove to be the exact opposite to others, unless we know the musical and cultural background of the person asking the question, there's no way of knowing that what constitutes 'normal' for them.
    ...it should also be added that threads like this is what many PE posters here live for: "Lets argue on the internet about ambiguous opinions because we have nothing better to do with our lives"

    put me in the "Yeah, he's good and I like a lot of his music, but I can take him or leave him as the bulk of work Im familiar with isnt my cup o' tea" category

    @rcarlberg - Yeah, "Into the Mystic" is a great song...he has a few

  14. #39
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Hard to describe as he's had a number of periods. His early albums -Moondance, Astral Weeks, etc - are great, but my favourite period is his "spiritual" one, from 1979's Into the Music tbrough 1987's Poetic Champions Compose. Lyrically his deepest, I think, and musically a combination of great groove and Zen-like vibes.

    Of his early period, 1973's live It's Too Late to Stop Now (made even better with last year's 3CD/1DVD of It's Too Late to Stop Now, Vols II-IV really represents his early material with great playing, energy & commitment. Of his spiritual period, I particularly like 1982's Beautiful Vision, 1983's Inarticulate Speech of the Heart and 1985's A Sense of Wonder, the latter made especially fine by the appearance, on three tracks, of the wonderful Irish band Moving Hearts.
    That's kind of funny, because I don't hear a whole lot of differences in his "periods/eras, albeit, I'm not very familiar with his later stuff...
    Unlike Neil or Joni, he sounds always way tooooooo samey to me. .
    I mean sure Neil & Joni always sound like Neil & Joni, but van doesn't seem to have the gaps like the ones between Trans and Zuma to Harvest... or Canyon to Wreckless Daughter for Joni.
    Van always sounds samey... too samey for me to be saying... well that's different from this or that album.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  15. #40
    He has a feel. If you can take the time to sit and listen you can feel he is projecting something of himself into the songs. He is not someone I go to often, but when I do it really takes me someplace.


  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    Van always sounds samey... too samey for me to be saying... well that's different from this or that album.
    Not samey for me until the 1990s. Van Morrison is one of those artists whose music is so rich that genres are completely meaningless, really, so much ground has been covered in his work.

    Actually, funnily enough A Sense Of Wonder is one I always thought was a 'place holder' album, compared with the ones either side of it. But it's still very good.

  17. #42
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Actually, funnily enough A Sense Of Wonder is one I always thought was a 'place holder' album, compared with the ones either side of it. But it's still very good.
    The cover always cracked me up. He looks like he's spying through the backyard hedge at Mrs. Murphy's bathroom window.


  18. #43
    Van brings a sense of peace to me. There is a spiritual quality to his music that I really like. Plus, if you've ever had a woman who loves Van then you've had some nice evenings.

    Bill
    She'll be standing on the bar soon
    With a fish head and a harpoon
    and a fake beard plastered on her brow.

  19. #44
    I heard an amusing story about Van. He used to be a jerk to his roadies, so they would wipe his harmonica on their sweaty butts before the show. Van never noticed.

  20. #45
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the winter tree View Post
    I heard an amusing story about Van. He used to be a jerk to his roadies, so they would wipe his harmonica on their sweaty butts before the show. Van never noticed.
    I've heard stories like that... He appears to have such a high opinion of himself that he's a bit or an arsehole...and his stage persona transpires to the audience.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Not samey for me until the 1990s. Van Morrison is one of those artists whose music is so rich that genres are completely meaningless, really, so much ground has been covered in his work.
    Nothing to do with genres, but outside of AW and SDP (which I know by heart), Moondance and San Anselmo and Autumn Song, I'd have a hard time telling which track is on which album from Moondanxe to Veedon Fleece.
    Last edited by Trane; 01-26-2017 at 03:13 AM.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  21. #46
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    Not a fan.
    Prog's Not Dead

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    Nothing to do with genres, but outside of AW and SDP (which I know by heart), Moondance and San Anselmo and Autumn Song, I'd have a hard time telling which track is on which album from Moondanxe to Veedon Fleece.
    But you could say that about any artist you haven't really listened to that closely. Moondance has brass on it and is very R&B-flavoured, Veedon Fleece is mostly acoustic and folk-influenced. They aren't similar albums.

    I can't say I'd want to deal with him but he made marvellous records.

  23. #48
    A Sense of Wonder was my intro to Van the Man. I still love that album. He's done a couple of records I'm not overly fond of but by and large I like all of his stuff.

    Bill
    She'll be standing on the bar soon
    With a fish head and a harpoon
    and a fake beard plastered on her brow.

  24. #49
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    Never been a big fan but I like his hits. Wild Night just swings. Great, great song. He was a huge influence on Springsteen, Bob Seger, Melencamp, blah blah. I need to get some of his albums.

  25. #50
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    But you could say that about any artist you haven't really listened to that closely. Moondance has brass on it and is very R&B-flavoured, Veedon Fleece is mostly acoustic and folk-influenced. They aren't similar albums.

    Well, you've taken the extremes with these two albums (though there is brass on many/most of his albums, including VF)

    All I can say is that I've listened enough up to VF to make a compilation CD-r (80-mins) of his best stuff from MD, TH, HNtH, VF and SC
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

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