Sunday, 3 May 2015

Horsfield's Best Of

Here’s a forum initiated by Martin Horsfield’s search for the best songs of Van.  It can be found in full on The Afterward site

Martin Horsfield   -   The glaring lack of many works by The Man on Spotify sent me back to iTunes recently, in the hope of adding to my existing “best of”, assembled a good 10 years ago. Unfortunately, he’s pretty unrepresented on there as well these days, so I’ve spent the last week listening to the further reaches of his back catalogue and ripping the odd find to iTunes. So, now my best of is a good 50 songs long, covering as many of the veteran R&B grump’s Caledonian soul stompers, Celtic reveries and metaphysical musings as I could find.

But it’s too late to stop now. I fear there must be some deep cuts that I’ve missed. Or perhaps you could help me rearrange the running order so that the GLW doesn’t insist that I turn it off whenever we get into the more “difficult” likes of Rave On, John Donne. Maybe some of his recent records are under-represented (The Healing Game seems quite good). So, here’s my work in progress. What more needs to be done?

Brown Eyed Girl, Domino, Bright Side Of the Road, Full Force Gale, Moondance, Glad Tidings, Gypsy, Wild Night, Heavy Connection, Flamingos Fly, And The Healing Has Begun, And It Stoned Me, (Straight To Your Heart) Like A Cannonball, Sweet Thing, The Way Young Lovers, Into the Mystic, Bulbs, Raglan Road, Why Must I Always Explain?, Streets Of Arklow, You Don’t Pull No Punches, The Mystery, Orangefield, Have I Told You Lately, A Town Called Paradise, Summertime in England, Redwood Tree, Snow in San Anselmo, Haunts of Ancient Peace, Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart I, In The Garden, Dweller On the Threshold, Rave On John Donne, Coney Island, In The Days Before Rock’n’Roll, Wavelength, Call Me Up In Dreamland, Real Real Gone, Jackie Wilson Said, Precious Time, Days Like This, Ivory Tower, Caravan, The Great Deception, Madame George, The Street Only Knew Your Name, Street Choir, Hard Nose the Highway, Tupelo Honey, Saint Dominic’s Preview and Enlightenment.

Vulpes   -   Gotta have Kingdom Hall. Then there’s “Natalia” and “Take It Where You Find It”, and that’s just the Wavelength tracks. If I were you I’d just buy the whole damn catalogue and be done with it.

Jayhawk   -   What no Astral Weeks? Also love Cul de Sac and Listen to the Lion, and Take me back off of Hymns to the silence. But seriously what is Van up to? You can’t seem to buy anything of his other than Astral Weeks and Moondance, at least not in new editions.

Black Type   -   The ‘original’ Wonderful Remark is much better imho. Also Ballerina, On Hyndford Street, Listen To The Lion, Celtic Swing, A Sense Of Wonder, Queen Of The Slipstream, Celtic New Year, Carrying A Torch, Irish Heartbeat (Chieftains version) and Crazy Love.

Steve T   -   You must have On Hyndford Street on the playlist. Also Queen of the Slipstream. I know there are people on here who dismiss his later stuff entirely – they are wring – Magic Time and Back on Top for example are both great albums . Try Just like Greta from the first of these two. Much as I love Mr Leven, and I love Mr Leven, to claim he is “better” than Van is just dumb. Van’s been coasting for about 20 years now but is still capable of churning out a masterpiece or two on every album. Oh, Healing Game is almost as good as Wavelength which is almost as good as Veedon Fleece which is almost as good as Too Late to Stop Now.

Gary   -   Madame George so low? Nooooooooooooooo! No. No. No. No. No- And no. “The kids out on the street collecting bottle-tops” is enough alone to merit a higher placing. Never mind the rest of those beautiful lyrics.

Blue Boy   -   The best post 90s albums for me are The Healing Game and Down the Road. Agree about Hymns to the Silence which is superb. And, like everyone else I am baffled that the availability of Morrison’s material is by some distance the worst of any major artist. What about Cyprus Avenue, Ballerina, Street Choir, Old Old Woodstock, Listen to the Lion, Cul de sac, Take it where you find it, Cleaning Windows, Vanlose Stairway, Cry for Home, Ivory Tower, Queen of the Slipstream, I’m tired Joey Boy, Enlightenment, Hymns to the Silence, Carrying a Torch, Rough God Goes Riding, The Healing Game, Sometimes we Cry, Down the Road, Fast Train, Just Like Greta, The Lion This Time and If in Money we Trust?

SteveT   -   I’m tired Joey Boy – great choice.

Charlie Gordon   -   Huge omission so far is the extraordinary one two punch of Linden Arden Stole The Highlights and Who Was That Masked Man from his best album, Veedon Fleece.

Argot   -   Rave On, John Donne has to be higher.

Rob C   -   Piper at the Gates of Dawn, She Gives Me Religion.

Simon L.   -   Angeliou and the live version of Caravan from Too Late To Stop Now. I could actually leave the rest and just keep those two and I think I’d have the essence of Van, at least as far as I’m concerned.

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