Saturday, 22 March 2014

5 Favourite Van Bootlegs

Tipps asked somewhere on the net for visitors to list their five favourite Van bootleg albums. 

Tomcasagranda   -   Pagan Streams - Utrecht early 1990s

Saltoftheearth   -   You can find a complete list of all the soundboard and radio recordings on Eberhard Fritz's website(  Except for the Beacon Theater show where Van's voice was shot to pieces virtually all those recordings are at least very good so there is a wide choice covering Van's entire career.  I cannot give you exactly five because it also depends on which eras you prefer, but here are my favourites, where I marked my five personal favourites:

1.  Pacific High Studios   -   September 5, 1971
  2.  New York, The Bottom Line (late show)   -   November 1, 1978
  3.  Berkeley, California, Berkeley Community Theater   -   October 28, 1979
  4.  Essen, Germany, Grugahalle, Rockpalast, TV & radio simulcast   -   April 4, 1982 
  5.  Cannes, France, Nouveau Palace du Festival, MIDEM, Rockpalast   -   January 26, 1984
  6.  Amsterdam, Netherlands, Carre Theatre  -  September 29, 1986
  7.  Glastonbury, Worthy Farm near Pilton, Glastonbury, England, CND Festival   -   June 21, 1987
  8.  Voss, Norway, Voss Cinema, WITH THE RUNE KLAKEGG BAND   -   March 26, 1988
  9.  Montreux, Switzerland, Casino, Montreux Jazz Festival   -   July 11, 1990
 10.  Dublin, The Point Depot   -   December 17, 1995
 11.  Belfast, Waterfront Hall   -   February 2 and 3, 1997
 12.  Düsseldorf, Germany, Philipshalle, Rockpalast Christmas Special   -   December 19, 1998
 13.  Basel, Switzerland, Alter Festsaal   -   December 17, 2000
 14.  Warszawa, Poland, Sala Congresowa   -   May 25, 2001
 15.  Malvern, Forum Theatre   -   November 25, 2003
 16.  BBC London, LSO St. Luke's, BBC Sessions   -   February 10, 2008
 17.  London, BBC Radio Theatre   -   February 12, 2008
Lil' Brian   -   The '78 Bottom Line show is a keeper. Gotta watch now for the '79 Berkeley
StonesTod   -   Too many crackers to pick just five. The last time I saw him was when he opened for the Stones in Oakland.  He was his usual amazing self. The headliner? not so much.

tipps   -   Thanks guys, I have some of these listed, but my Berkeley is November 21, 1979. Just wondering was this another show or is mine the wrong date?

saltoftheearth   -   Go to Eberhard Fritz's website and send him a mail (link 'Kontakt'). He's a close friend of mine and might be able to tell you more than I can. And he speaks English. After all, I'm rather a Stones fan.

treaclefingers   -   I like Dance the Night Away.

tipps   -   What are your favourites?  Pacific High Studios 71 is a aweseome remaster!!! Download it you wont be sorry.

Come On   -   Just did! Thanks a lot tipps! This is probably the best live-act I have heard since Neil Young at Massey Hall was released a couple of years ago...thumbs up

saltoftheearth   -   If you find one of the 'thumbs up' concert recordings marked above download the, and you won't regret it. And you can buy the official Montreux 1974 & 1980 double DVD at a decent price especially for the 1980 recording - it's great!

MILKYWAY   -   I have heard of a bootleg titled VAN THE MAN which is supposedly one of the best Van Morrison bootlegs out there. Never listened to it myself, though.

chrism13   -   Need to ask a favour....Can anybody burn me a couple of Van boots?  I have been a fan of Van Mo for years...Love Caravan from the Last Waltz. Saw him years ago at Pier 84 in NYC, and once at Jazz Fest in NO & a 2 (?)years ago at the Hard Rock here in FL. I actually took my younger girlfriend to the Sunrise, FL show & she had no idea who she was "why are you taking me to see an 80's metal band? (Van Halen!) is what she was thinking.  Needless to say...she became obsessed with his music. Has bought a bunch of his CD 's & is just a huge fan of his works.Would love to get her some quality boots? I will gladly compensate for the effort....

latvianinexile   -   Looking for the Bottom Line (EARLY show) 1 November 1978.  It seems to be on a double CD together with the late show, but can't find it on the net.

Swiss    -   a friend told me 6 months ago that he'd seen Van Morrison perform He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother once---said it was miraculous. I believe it was at a concert in Florida. Do you know how common a performance of that song would be? and how someone could find a recording of him performing that song?

Dcba   -   And there is the The Philosopher's Alternate Stones:  1970-1983 various officially released & unreleased studio recordings

Disc 1:

01. Goodnight Irene
02. All Saints Day
03. Original Face
04. Dead Girls Of London [with Frank Zappa]
05. Caledonia Soul Music
06. Chick-A-Boom
07. Spare Me A Little [with Jackie DeShannon]
08. You've Got The Power
09. Grits Ain't Groceries
10. Down To Earth
11. Mechanical Bliss
12. I Shall Sing
13. It Hurts To Want It So Bad
14. Feedback On Highway 101
15. Much Binding In The Marsh

Disc 2:

01. Caledonia
02. What's Up Crazy Pup?
03. Sweet Sixteen
04. Ain't Workin' For You
05. You Move Me
06. When I Deliver
07. Wonderful Remark
08. The Schooner [soundtrack excerpts]July 10, 1974 Musicladen, Extra TV, Bremen, Germany
09. Heathrow Shuffle
10. Warm Love
11. I Like It Like That
12. Bulbs
13. Buffy Flow

NOTES:  This compilation was released shortly after The Philosopher's Stone came out. I don't think this was a factory-pressed "silver" CD, rather some basement produced CD-R set."
Andrewm   -   I'm pretty sure that was a factory-pressed silver set, that's certainly the way it was advertised way back when, though I didn't actually buy it. Guess I could be wrong, though.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Nobody Doesn't Know the Name Van Morrison

Boston-based John Jay  wrote the following interesting post about Van on the Giant Panther blog.  Some of the post has been cut for the sake of brevity.  Check out the full article via the link above. 
When you sift through  various critics' All Time Favourite Album lists you invariably find Van The Man.  1968′s Astral Weeks is a long time favourite.   1970′s Moondance is another.  1974′s live LP It’s Too Late To Stop Now is sometimes mentioned amongst the greatest live records ever made.  My personal favourite is 1972′s Saint Dominic’s Preview, but I’m not really mad for Van.  I saw his Avalon Sunset Tour at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre in 1989 and almost fell asleep.  Sorry Van.  Intentionally there were no hits, but even if there had been; I really only went because of this girl I was dating at the time.  I wasn’t expecting a rockin’ show and I didn’t get one.  Van Morrison is larger than life itself, but I swear, if you skim 25 songs off the top you could be happy with his work.
I don’t want to say that I don’t like Van Morrison.  That is obviously not true or I would not be posting about him.  The thing is, I worked as a bouncer, all 160 lbs of me at the time…if only that were true today, at The Bull & Finch Pub in 1984 and 1985.  We had this DJ that played Van Morrison until I thought I was going to lose my lunch.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if he mixed in Wavelength or Blue Money once in a while, but no….it was straight Brown-Eyed Girl and Moondance until I didn’t care if I ever heard those songs ever again.   The girls love Van The Man.   I get that.  Really I do, but the guy has been a crooner for decades now.  

Pop music, if that is what you want to call his once fresh sounding Irish Folk Rock, is a thing of Morrison’s past if you ask me.  Any artist is going to be pulverised back to the stone age if their catalogue is reduced to five songs, but in Morrison’s case the rest was sit down and pay attention ballads.  Usually last of my list on things to listen to at home.  That doesn’t make me right or wrong, it just makes me a respectful Van Morrison fan from a distance.   I own everything up until Avalon Sunset (1989), but I took a pass on the rest.  I don’t even listen to Astral Weeks that much to be honest.  I love Tupelo Honey (1971) and Saint Dominic’s Preview.  Even Moondance is still very listenable if you skip the title track (repetition, not quality is the reason for that remark).  There are several very good Van Morrison songs amongst those first ten or so records, but nobody ever hears them anymore.   Most people would call themselves Van Morrison fans I would venture.
Van Morrison’s career began in earnest fronting the seminal Irish band Them in the 60′s.  Patti Smith’s cover of Gloria in 1975 reminded everyone, in case anyone forgot, just how great Them were.   You may remember Here Comes The Night, which is actually a Bert Berns tune (Berns also wrote Hang On Sloopy, Piece of My Heart, Cry Baby, 25 Miles and Twist and Shout just to name a few of his masterpieces) first recorded by Lulu and The Luvvers, as well.  David Bowie did a nice rendition on his 1973 covers LP Pinups as well.  

If you are wondering, Bert Berns was a seven year veteran of the famous Brill Building; a songwriter’s haven noted for other superstar writers like Carole King and Neil Sedaka.  But 1965 was a long, long time ago.  Morrison began writing solo material in 1967 and released a little known single called Brown-Eyed Girl on his first solo LP Blowin’ Your Mind.  Them eventually broke up in the early 70′s and Morrison was free to continue down the solo path without friction.   He was definitely living the poor man’s starving artist’s existence for many years, but by the mid 70′s he was on his way to legend status.  

Boston, in particular, latched onto the Irish born Morrison because he chose to live here for a spell in the late 60′s.   I’ve heard second hand tales of him palling around with Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band, so if that’s true it’s no wonder he has a strong foothold here in Boston.  Nobody doesn’t know the name Van Morrison.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Even More Fan Stories

Will Connelly   -   My college roommate and I spent a long weekend in New York City as part of a road trip, and we passed the time by trying to make our own crossword with the theme of classic rock puns (example: "Van Morrison's ode to bovines Lindy-hopping?" Moodance). We struggle mightily and fudged a few acronyms/foreign words, but we finished a 15x15 grid and sent it out to friends and family as a Christmas present. Only one puzzle came back solved; the rest were trashed or hung on my step-grandmother's refrigerator as an example of the generation gap.

JimmyM   -    But guess what? Van Morrison doesn't play Brown Eyed Girl at every gig. I don't think he plays it at all anymore. He's nasty and crabby for other reasons.  However, he's crabby in a good way that I really enjoy. One night, he was on the Letterman show singing Have I Told You Lately That I Love You with Sinead O'Connor, and she looked extremely nervous and her singing sounded like it. Van was trying to get her to loosen up and she just wouldn't, so he's getting in her face and singing stuff like "Blah blah blah" at her and pretty much gave up on her and just made a mockery of the whole thing. I laughed my butt off! Ever since then, I love the guy.

Rad   -   Van Morrison’s Moondance was that album that really broke me apart from the small town that I was brought up in and really put it’s mark on my experience my 1st summer in Berkeley, California.  Moondance got me into different comfort zones, it slayed me, it challenged me. I was so in love with this time and album.

I was high on life! singing through the streets of Berkeley. The parties in Berkeley really stood out to me! To hang with the older groovy people, the clothes, the music, I was alive that summer and life was buzzing like honey bee’s circling the sweetest flowers. I WAS ON FIRE and in love with life and two women at the same time (that’s never happened again and it crushed me and them for years.  There’s some deep sadness here but life is such a trip and we gotta take it and go for it)….I’ll just say Moondance got me through and opened me up to me and that is the greatness of music and the relationship that it plays on our lives and a great album seeps into your essence your person and really helps define your experience emotionally…a great album like this one is such a gift and as we know it’s rare to find great albums that really transform and elevate one’s experience. Moondance certainly did that for me…I can still see candles on the doorstep outside our house flickering from the garden.

Zach Williams   -   If you could relive one moment over and over again, what would it be?  Easy:  The day I had when I was 17 and my great uncle died. Me and my cousin got paid $50 to drive an S10 pick-up to his house and remove all of his stuff. The place was the perfect amount of scary and weird and beautiful. We took my cousin’s older brother’s Van Morrison cassette and listened to it all day.

Anonymous   -   Here's a dream I had about Van in February 2013.  I was at a small flat of a friend's and one of the guests was Van Morrison. I couldn't think of anything smart to say to him at first, then had the great idea of handing him a guitar and asking if he would be so good as to tune it up for me. I figured that he would not then be able to resist playing a little something afterwards, and that it would be a great story to tell in future of how I got a private Van Morrison concert for free! It didn't quite go as planned though, because when he looked at the guitar it only had three strings.

I was then telling him of the fact that the television was broken and he replied with something along the lines of 'oh I can fix that if you want me to as well.' He proceeded to remove the  front of the screen and have some of the internal wires dangling down. I was then telling him of how my Dad used to fix televisions for a living, but Van sounded disinterested.

Elliott Schiller   -   I was in Loblaw's today and heard Van Morrison on the musak (yikes). My first real stereo system was purchased at a fancy stereo store in Pittsburgh when I was already in graduate school. Before then, I always had roommates with quality sound systems. The store had a listening room where you could bring a record and they would let you hear the record coming out of various speakers. The record I brought to listen to was Van Morrison's Moondance.

According to wikipedia, Moondance is dated as a 1970 album. Strange since I remember stereo shopping shortly after Apollo 11 landed the three astronauts on the moon. It still makes me happy to hear Van singing. It brings back the best of times memories for me. For years, I would play Moondance every time Susy and I got in the car. So much so, that she can't listen to it anymore.

Elmo   -   Van sat next to me, at a Don McLean show, at the Roxy (’76?). Didn’t recognise him. Manager asked if we had room at our table for another, sure … no prob. Only after the show, did my bud ask/mention if I knew ...

DavidJennings   -   Van Morrison and the Chieftains, Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, 7 May 1988. This was my first Van Morrison gig, and the one that has kept me going back another 14 times. Van and the Chieftains were also playing up the road at the Hammersmith Odeon, but the Riverside Studios had a festival of Irish culture and managed to persuade them also to play in their 300 seat theatre.

My eldest friend lived just a few hundred yards from the studios at the time, so we managed to get tickets. First the Chieftains played a set, which, to be honest, we didn’t entirely get at the time. Then Van and his band came on and played maybe 45 minutes, ending with a quite remarkable version of Summertime in England. But the real treat was when both bands played the closing set. This was before the Irish Heartbeat album came out, and I’ve never heard songs like My Lagan Love and She Moved Through the Fair before. I remember moments when the lights doomed to a deep red, and Van was just muttering and grunting repetitively. I swear it’s one of the most musical things I’ve ever heard, though perhaps it was like the experience of music from inside the womb.