Thursday, 7 November 2013

Extra Fan Stories

Joe Creighton   -   Back in '64 and '65 Robin McClelland, myself and a few others from the Bangor crew would make the trip up to Belfast to see some bands. Saturday afternoon The Jazz club in (I think) Royal Avenue was a great place to go and hear some great R&B music as there was quite a strong culture of this kind of music in Belfast which was giving rise to many bands playing blues and R&B. On Saturday night there was The Maritime club where Them would often play. I remember we would go to Austins of Ann Street to buy our tab collar and button down collar shirts and Cuban heel boots. Ann Street was like the Carnaby Street of Belfast.
Them were always a great band to see live. Van always seemed like he was pissed off about something and would go off as the band progressed into their set. I remember seeing him kick mike stands and finally a Vox Continental organ off the stage in a frenzied rage at one of the 'Inst' dances (Royal Belfast Academical Institution) I don't know if it was rage or pure show biz, but it sure got the place pumping. We were all impressed that he was a 'wee hard man'. (A Belfast term for someone not to be f#*~ed with)
I was playing with my own band 'The Aside' doing local dances and clubs. I was the lead singer, Paul Lyttle on vocals and guitar, Mike Harrison (cousin of Billy Harrison, guitarist with Them) on bass, Len McCormick on drums, and Jon (Jonas) Brown on keys. We played everything from Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters to Stones, Them and the Animals. Some of our memorable highlights as a young band was doing support for The Troggs and I don't know why but, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch.
Michell Longo   -   The most important instruction to the band at my wedding was that they were, under no circumstances, to play Van Morrison's Brown-Eyed Girl.  No matter what compromises I was willing to make, I simply would not tolerate a song that caused girls to stand in a circle holding hands and sway like Brown-Eyed Girl does.  If anyone requested it, our DJ was to instruct the guest that by order of the bride the answer was no. 

During the wedding, I made my rounds to each table.  By the time I reached the table where my coworkers and boss were sitting, I had hit the whiskey bottle pretty hard.  Then I heard a few familiar notes giving way to some familiar lyrics.

Hey where did we go
Days when the rain came...

My boss was mid-sentence when I cut him off.   "That mother f###er!  I told him not to play this f###ing song!"
Jaws dropped.  I heard something like "no one dressed in a white gown should be swearing like that," but I was already on my way to give the DJ a piece of my mind.

Saturday Buddha   -   I saw Van Morrison live on six occasions here in a very different London during the late Eighties and early Nineties - including a brilliant performance with The Chieftains at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith and one at the Royal Albert Hall during the Avalon Sunset tour. Been revisiting his material quite a lot recently in turn by way of the great lost Mechanical Bliss album from the mid-Seventies which can now be accessed on youtube. Some very raw hard rock blues jams to be heard here on You Move Me, Feedback On Highway 101 and Not Working For You that are utterly unique within Morrison's work. The album also includes the extraordinary title track as delivered in rambling aristocratic style worthy of our current rulers in Austerity Britain, the driving funk of Naked in the Jungle,  jazz instrumental Much Binding In The Marsh and an original version of The Street Only Knew Your Name which ranks with anything else in the artist's magnificent back catalogue - indeed truly as priceless as the equally reflective Madame George, And It Stoned Me, Saint Dominic's Preview, Linden Arden Stole The Highlights or Irish Heartbeat in my opinion.
Jillian   -   After breakfast Nik dropped me off at Inlet Yoga for a “yoga for athletes” class with my cousin, Heather. Holy moly. I’ve never worked so hard in a yoga class in my life. I knew it was going to be an awesome class when the music started with Van Morrison’s These Are the Days. If there were a soundtrack to my childhood, Van Morrison would be up there with Bruce and Dire Straits. When I wasn’t slip-n-sliding around my mat (yes, it was that sweaty), I managed some new poses and a hard core arm and shoulder workout.

Cormac Looney   -   The opening piano fill on St Dominic’s Preview puts me in Alamo Square Park on a sunny afternoon that same summer.  Beside You brings me to the house I grew up in in the Irish Midlands in the early hours during a late 1990s’ summer; Tupelo Honey to a climb of Carrauntoohil in 2010; Linden Arden Stole The Highlights to the kitchen of W’s home, overlooking the river Shannon, on an evening sometime in the past decade. Why this happens more with Van Morrison (and a small number of other composers) is unknown to me.
JB   -   The most problematical song on the album is If in Money We Trust. If you listen only to the band and the sound of Van’s voice, it’s a hypnotising groove that runs eight minutes and could run eight more. But the content of the words—short, mantra-like phrases telling how we’ve replaced God with filthy lucre—eventually becomes strident. And ironic, too. Van Morrison’s a guy who spent several years making war on the Internet, going after anybody who dared post anything he considered to be his intellectual property, and even warning those of us he feared might be tempted. A few years back, after a Morrison-themed post—which didn’t contain an mp3, Youtube video, or snippet of lyrics—I got an from Web Sheriff thanking me for my interest in Van but also reminding me, in creepy, Big-Brother-is-watching-you fashion, that Van’s intellectual property was his and his alone. So his protestations about how evil money is tend to ring hollow with me. Although he’s come around on the value of Internet promotion, for a long time he locked down his intellectual property like Hetty Green. Money doesn’t matter? Really?

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