Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Good Van Morrison Albums?


Not a Fan Favourite

On the askmetafilter.com site someone posed the simple question, "Good Van Morrison albums?" Naturally a variety of answers was forthcoming.  It's always interesting to see what a cross section of Van fans thinks.  If I ask the dozen or more people I know who have all the official albums the answer is a bit more predictable.  But what about from a variety of fans?  Some have heard one album and others have heard them all so the answers are far more diverse. 
Here are some of the answers:
"Van Morrison - where do I start?  I have a copy of Astral Weeks, which to be honest I don't really care for, but I really like songs like Once In A Blue Moon and Someone Like You."
 "T.B. Sheets. F#%$ing stellar."  -  saladin 
"I may be the only one, but Beautiful Vision is not just one of his best, but in my top twenty albums of all time. The double CD Hymns to the Silence is good too.  I was tempted to buy his last CD of old country and western standards, but never got around to it. Some of the stuff he put out over the last ten years was real shite."  -  vronsky 
"Astral Weeks / Moondance. The perfect pair."  -  one_bean 
"Jackie Wilson Said."  -  fixedgear  (somebody tell fixedgear it's not an album)
"The Healing Game. Absolutely brilliant brass work alongside Van. Maybe a little too much Brian Kennedy for some."  -  Sk4n 
"Moondance is the obvious answer, but it's the obvious answer for a reason."  -  Bookhouse 
"another vote for Astral Weeks."  -  jessicak 
"Where do you start? With Them. Actually, pretty much everything he did up to Saint Dominic's Preview."  -  timeistight
"If you like Someone Like You but not Astral Weeks, you'll probably like his mellow 80's stuff the best. From that period, I like the albums Beautiful Vision, Enlightenment, Into The Music, Common One and Live At The Grand Opera House."  -  skwm 
"Bang Masters is worth having. It's a bit like a rough, working version of Astral Weeks, plus it has the unedited version of Brown-Eyed Girl."  -  timeistight 
"The Best of and Best of Volume 2? It's obvious, but it is a good jumping off point. It helped me determine that I liked his earlier stuff much more than his later stuff.  With that in mind, I'd also second timeistight's recommendation of Them."  -  Gary 
"Astral Weeks just doesn't do it for me. Thanks, everybody, for all the other recommendations, though...keep 'em coming..."  -  pdb 
"Other folks may contradict this, but Van Morrison might not be for you if you really don't care for Astral Weeks. It's such a touchstone, so central to oeuvre, that it's hard to think where else to go."  -  OmieWise 
"No Guru, No Method, No Teacher is also underrated IMHO."  -  vronsky
"Astral Weeks is a great album, but when you consider Van Morrison's entire 35+ album body of work you quickly see that it's sound and style is an aberration. No other album of his is done in such a folky style. If someone does or doesn't like that album, it's hard to say what they'll feel about the rest of his work. Now, if they don't like Moondance, it's safe to say that they won't like anything up through Tupelo Honey. Preference towards Beautiful Vision would be a good prediction of how they would react to A Period Of Transition through, say, Enlightenment. Other generalisations could be made, but I don't think one can draw strong conclusions off of Astral Weeks."  -  skwm 
"The Live in San Francisco double set is great."  -  funboytree 
"The Bang Records Contractual Obligation album.  I was a casual listener at best. My wife likes him a lot. Then this link appeared somewhere and I was intrigued. I listened and listened and listened.  I laughed and laughed and laughed.  After listening to this album, I grew to appreciate his other music more. Wife hates this album. I love it."  -  Seamus 
 
"If you like your blue-eyed soul of the garage rock ilk, get the two-CD Story of ThemIf you like jazzy acoustic Joni Mitchell-meets-Ray Charles in Belfast music, get Astral Weeks or Veedon Fleece.  If you like more straight ahead pop-soul with Celtic acoustic twists, get anything from Moondance through St. Dominic's PreviewDon't forget to pick up the double live It's Too Late To Stop Now featuring a string section and killer versions of hits from all of the above."  -  joseph_elmhurst 
"Astral Weeks is a great record but if you're looking for some of his more melodic records, try these:
Moondance, Into The Music, St Dominic's Preview, Tupelo Honey, His Band and The Street Choir
All classics in my opinion."  -  gfrobe 
"I've tried to get into his work a few times over the years and really felt like I must be missing the great essence that so many people love. Until I got St. Dominic's Preview. Great, great album. I owned Astral Weeks for a decade before I got St. Dominic's Preview; I always liked it, but never really got what all the fuss was about. I still don't to tell you the truth. But St. Dominic's Preview is one of my very favourite albums by any musician in any genre at any time."  -  willpie 
"the unedited version of Brown-Eyed Girl.  It's funny because the bass player forgets the bass line in the middle of the breakdown."  -  kirkaracha
"Van Morrison & The Chieftains - Irish Heartbeat."  -  mattholomew 
"Back On Top 1999. Song When the Leaves Come Falling Down.Entire album good."  -  madstop1
"I second the recommendation for Them, one of the great unknown bands. Here Comes the Night blows just about everything that was on the radio back then right out of the water."  -  languagehat 
"I find myself digging out Tupelo Honey and Hymns to the Silence and listening to one or the other at least once every month since, well, forever."  -  misozaki 
"I like Tupelo Honey best. as an alternative, try the best of friends by john lee hooker. there are two cuts, i cover the waterfront and don't look back, with vocals by john lee hooker and Van Morrison that are to die for. i melt."  -  brandz  
"As the owner of every VM release (many on record, some on record, CD and tape) and a few boots I must weigh in. But damn. It's just what gfrobe said:
Moondance, Into The Music, St Dominic's Preview, Tupelo Honey, His Band and The Street Choir

...not at all like other Van recordings, but I LOVE it  -  Irish Heartbeat (with the Chieftains).  I'd say AVOID Bang mastersI'm not a fan of Veedon Fleece.  Later efforts like Magic Time and What's wrong with this Picture always have a couple of winners and a few that hurt your brain.  Skip The Skiffle Sessions - Live in Belfast and that weird one -- You Win Again."   -  cccorlew 
 "I'm surprised that Veedon Fleece has been mentioned only once. Bulbs is a wonderful little gem, and Linden Arden is a truly unique song ("cleaved their heads off with a hatchet. Lord he was a drinkin' man"). Veedon Fleece is probably my favourite.  Except of course for Astral Weeks. Which is where any critical examination of VM's work surely must return."  -  Neiltupper  
"Another vote for The Healing Game."  -  caddis
"Another vote for His Band and the Street Choir. When CDs first came this was one of the first three I bought having played St. Dominic's Preview endlessly on tape. Still play it often."  -  mikepop 

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