Saturday, 3 December 2011

Van Morrison Under Review DVD

A popular purchase on ebay is the Van DVD documentary called Van Morrison - Under Review 1964-1974.  It's a 2 hour coverage of Van's music and influences during that period. The documentary starts with the strains of Sweet Thing as the various journalists and critics make their introductory comments over shots of Belfast, Hyndford St, the Harland and Wolfe shipyards, etc. 

The DVD begins with a brief history of Morrison's youth and the influence that music from people like Leadbelly and the Carter Family had on him. The film explores the skiffle movement, Lonnie Donegan, and the London scene, and then the formation of the band Them, whose name was taken from a 1950's horror movie. Them began as a blues band similar to the early Rolling Stones, but is was Morrison's early songwriting that allowed him to assume leadership and make a real name for the band.

Next, the disc takes us through the albums of his solo career: Astral Weeks, Moondance, St. Dominic's Preview, Tupelo Honey, Veedon Fleece, and It's Too Late to Stop Now.  Along the way the film places the dynamic creativity of Van front and centre.  Just look at that list of albums.  Paul McCartney wishes he had put out a stunning array of albums like that, post-Beatles. 

It's probably the most enlightening, revealing and entertaining Van Morrison documentary yet to emerge.  It features rare and classic Van Morrison performances re-assessed by a panel of esteemed experts, rare interviews, seldom seen footage, and unusual photographs from the period.   The panel are an incredibly complimentary bunch and include two notable Van biogaphers in Steve Turner and Johnny Rogan.  To a man they're definitely fans.  Their talk isn't much different to the loyal readers of this blog.  You can see sometimes how they struggle trying to explain what they feel for the Man who doesn't love them back.   

Some scenes from the DVD

Van Morrison: Under Review 1964-1974 is a must for any fans and can always be picked up on ebay.  It's a great reminder about the incredible depth and creativity of Van Morrison, songwriter and performer.  Why this isn't even more recognised I'll never know.  He's great, isn't he?  

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