Tuesday, 20 November 2012

An Iman Rates the Van Albums



I really enjoy comparing album ratings, particularly when they apply to Van.  In this post Iman Lababedi (surely not his religious title) throws his hat into the Van album ratings ring.  Here are some of his subjective ratings and comments from the rock nyc site:  

Astral Weeks (1968)   –   A mystic document about love, death, renewal (A+)

Moondance (1970)   –   Written for the radio, turn up these classic AOR songs. All the way. (A+)

Tupelo Honey (1971)   –   Domesticity with Janet Planet never sweeter. (A)

Saint Dominic's Preview (1972)   -   Jackie Wilson Said and Listen To The Lion" and that's just first side.  (A)
Hard Nose The Highway (1973)   –   C'mon, Being Green is here… and "Warm Love". (B+)

Veedon Fleece (1974)   -   Linden Arden Stole The Highlights does not an album make. (B)

A Period Of Transition (1977) – Slab dab in the middle of punk, after three years silence, Morrison releases a dog.  (B-)
Into The Music (1979) – Wow, an unimportant Van album.  (B)

Common One (1980) – Give him all fifteen minutes of Summertime In England and ignore the rest.  (B)
Beautiful Vision (1982) – New Age Van and lives up to its name. Don't miss Dweller On The Threshold.  (A)
Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart (1983)- More New Ageism, less strong songs.  (B)

Live At The Grand Old Opera House (1984) – What does it mean when the best moment is a cover of It's All in The Game?  (B)

A Sense Of Wonder (1985) – Sure it has Tore Down A La Rimbaud… and then?  (C+)

No Guru,  No Method, No Teacher (1986) – Sure it has In The Garden… and then?  (B-)

Poetic Champions Compose (1987) – More of the same but better.  (A-)
Irish Heartbeat (1988) – Traditional with the Chieftains.  (B+)

Avalon Sunset (1989) – His born again album? I remember listening to this over and over again on my Walkman.  (A)

Enlightenment (1990) – A coupla second tier tracks.  (B+)

Hymns To The Silence (1991) – A double CD, and not a dog in the lot… though the only masterpiece, Quality Street, Van didn't write. (B+)

Too Long In Exile (1993) – And back to the blues.  (B+)

A Night In San Francisco (1994) – I saw him on this tour and was blown away, so maybe I have a soft spot for this liver.  (A)
Days Like This (1995) – Coupla blues jams, coupla pop tunes, coupla covers. That and genre exercise is all he has performed for the past 12 years. The keeper is Raincheck.  (B+)
How Long Has this Been Going On (1996) – Jazz songs with the eternal Georgie Fame on keyboards. The tour was even better.  (B+)

Tell Me Something: The Songs Of Moses Allison (1996) – Sister album to How Long and excellent for those (like me) who were not in the alright.  (A-)
The Healing Game (1997) – Van likes it, he often plays tracks on stage like the way Dylan gravitates to "Down in The Groove".  (B)
The Philosopher's Stone (1998) – Astounding bootleg tapes a la Van.  A

Back on Top (1999) – Actually, exactly where he always is.  (B+)

The Skiffle Sessions Live In Belfast (2000) – Yes, Sir: that IS LONNIE DONEGAN.  (B+)

You Win Again (2000) – Another genre exercise, this time the genre is rock and roll with Jerry Lee Lewis' kid sister. Gail rubbished Van's reputation after the recording and he appears to have deserved it. the ornery cuss.  (B+)
Down the Road (2002) – Nostalgia for the corner record store and Van's most ordinary album ever.  (B)

What's Wrong With This Picture (2003) – On Blue Note! Check out the St. James Infirmary cover.  (B+)
Magic Time (2005) – Around about now it feels like he can produce an album at will.  (B+)
Pay the Devil (2006) – His country exercise. Who needs another cover of Half As Much? On the other hand, who doesn't?  (B)

Keep it Simple (2008) – More of the same, except Behind The Ritual, a great work about song form and what it really all means.  (A-)

Astral Weeks Live At The Hollywood Bowl (2009) – I caught Van twice on this tour, and the second night at the Beacon was the one he should've released.  (B+)

Not a bad report card that - all As and Bs with only one C+.  No one's surely going to write "could do better" are they? 

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