Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Veedon Fleece - Some More Fan Opinion

Veedon Fleece is a great album.  Here's a sampling of listener opinion: 

Lester Bangs   -   Veedon Fleece is a record about people stunned by life, completely overwhelmed, stalled in their skins, their ages and selves, paralysed by the enormity of what in one moment of vision they can comprehend.

Matt Domino   -   There is a lot on Veedon Fleece to waste your time with. You Don’t Pull No Punches, But You Don’t Push the River is the centrepiece of the album because it is the most dramatic, the most moody and it contains the title within its lyrics.  Critics and listeners have called Veedon Fleece Van Morrison’s tribute to Ireland, whether by feel or by lyrics.  

Anonymous   -   Veedon Fleece is among my all time favourite records, alternately revelatory and enigmatic, and definitely best savoured late at night or early in the morning, with no distractions. The only other artists that affect me in a similar way are Gene Clark and Townes Van Zandt, putting This record in rarefied company.

David   -   I listened to Linden Arden several times today . . . and the first two times tears came to my eyes. I don't know why. I'm a 52 year old lawyer and crying is not what I do (last time was when my mother died on Christmas day 2006). I've heard the song described, I think accurately, as "ferociously mournful."

Anonymous   -   There is a lot to reveal about the lyrics on Veedon Fleece, but I don't get any pleasure out of bursting bubbles. They are usually a lot less "mystical" than folks want to believe. For example, on Fair Play,Van sings "And there's only one Meadows Way to go, and you say Geronimo." He was asking his fiancee where they should move to begin their lives together, and she said San Geronimo - a bucolic town in W. Marin County, where they lived happily on Meadow Way.
Pinup Nights   -   I am crazy about Van Morrison, and Linden Arden Stole The Highlights must be one of his best ever songs. Its a very mysterious tune but in a few sentences Van conjures the sunlight and slopes of San Francisco. 

Charlie   -   The work that's most successful at enchanting me endlessly is Van Morrison’s Veedon Fleece from 1974. No matter how closely I listen to it, or what I read about it, it only seems to take on more folds. The more I admire its simplicity, the more complex it paradoxically grows. Closest stylistically to his classic Astral Weeks, the album also relies on a stream-of-consciousness and is largely acoustic. 

On Veedon Fleece, his voice sounds weirder and more idiosyncratic. It’s hard to forget his anguished howl at the end of Cul de Sac, his guttural, throat-clearing guffaws on Bulbs. His tendency vocally to adapt and elongate at will fit the lyrics perfectly, which also tend to meander and drift like a back country river. Every song, even the largely straightforward Comfort You bends and twists on repeated listens, stripped-down and cryptic and multifaceted all at once.

The Sanity Inspector   -   I read Van's interview in Rolling Stone in the late 80s, wherein he said that fans asked him if he still had the dogs from that photo. "Listen, an album cover is not real life!" he said.

Anonymous   -   I remember acquiring my 2nd copy Veedon Fleece back in the mid-70's out of the cut-out bin. Already I was sure that the album was by far the best Van had ever produced. And now years later I am glad someone has the same attachment to this truly excellent album that still sounds new today.

Anonymous   -   I find Fair Play To You particularly affecting and I can't explain why. This album takes several listens to get into for the first time listener but once you do this you can be hooked!

Plush   -   Pulled out my original copy of Veedon Fleece today after more than 10 years and listened-- stunned again. Linden Arden is surely a masterpiece. The poetry and expression is far beyond what I remembered and the depth of emotion is mind blowing.

Richard   -   I always seem to come across people telling me that Astral Weeks is the greatest album by Van Morrison. Not for me. Veedon Fleece is like taking a seat in an old Irish tavern with the fire roaring in the corner, and listening as a wise old travelling man sings you the story of his life; all the people he's met, all the adventures he's had, all the questions he's pondered and all the places he's gone. Astral Weeks is very good but, it's not like this.

David Garfinkel   -   I love this record and it makes me emotional as well. Aside from the lyrics, the looseness of the music and the airiness of the production feel so live. It feels like you're right there in the studio and I think what it speaks to is a way of recording that may not exist anymore as well. Not only are Van's lyrics dreamy, but so is the flute and the piano and the whole thing, but it's also a combination of sad and wistful. Country Fair always makes me long for youth and innocence. Veedon Fleece has real soul to it and that's rare.

Matt Domino   -   When it comes to music, I don’t usually pay attention to lyrics, I pay attention to feel.  That is what much of Veedon Fleece is about.  It’s the feel.  It’s the feel of the songs and the delivery that should tell you what they’re about, not necessarily the lyrics.  Linden Arden Stole The Highlights does the best job of matching lyrics to feel.  It’s a simple tune about a simple man who likes to drink and there is something about that that makes him an outlaw, that makes him murder and regret it.  Murder is a strong metaphor but who doesn’t end up screwing the simple things up.  It all makes sense to drink and enjoy whiskey in the sun, just like it makes sense to go out west and look for the real soul, but we all mess that up and end up living with a gun.

Anonymous   -   This album was recommended to me by a friend too, back in 1976 and it has remained with me in various formats ever since. I regard it as his best, as did my friend, but according to Wiki, Van disowned it quickly. There may be some truth in this as I have never heard him play any tracks from it. But Wiki also refers to it as his forgotten masterpiece. It is certainly that. The photo was taken in the grounds of a hotel in Howth, just up the road from my friend's family home and so has personal meaning for us both.

Pip   -   So…unlike Coleridge’s Xanadu that is traceable in history and…on a map- Mongolia…Van’s Veedon Fleece is …like maybe the abide in Buddhism or nirvana or xanadu…but completely van-created phrase…going west for soul? Going west for Veedon? Clarity? So I can say to my friend Jack…hey man, got to get away from all this green and root-life…let’s go to the Nuyorican nyc…we need to head toward some Veedon Fleece. Do I need to capitalise her? I need some Veedon Fleece…we all need to run toward Veedon eventually…sometime… But you are right…it is the feel. And, of course, that is the essence of any transcendental journey…the meter and pulse of the going west…not the getting, right. 

Johnny Bacardion   -   It's difficult to describe this wonderful record in a few sentences. It's very much in the English Nick Drake/Pentangle tradition, which is not to say that it's traditional folk music. It's got strains of R & B, jazz, and even country running through it, and was a logical, if unexpected progression of Van's music at the time. It's closest in feel, in the Morrison catalogue, to Astral Weeks; it shares the mostly acoustic, jazzy feel of his Warner's debut but is a more mature and introspective work. Morrison had, after the relative aesthetic failure of his otherwise fine Hard Nose The Highway album, begun to get a bit restless artistically...if I recall correctly, he took a trip to Ireland to get back to his roots (so to speak) after spending many years here in the States, and when he returned this is where his muse led him. He receives stellar backing from his road band on this album, especially the underrated pianist Jeff Labes.

I especially love the moody Streets of Arklow, with magnificent recorder accompaniment by Jim Rothermel; the breezy opener Fair Play in which he begins his penchant for name dropping his favourite writers, clever at first but eventually run into the ground later in his career... "You Don't Pull No Punches...", in which he sings about a quest for spiritual enlightenment, known here as the Veedon Fleece; the jazzy "Cul De Sac" with a fearless, amazing vocal, "Who Was That Masked Man", in which Van does his best Smokey Robinson impersonation, and the closer, the gorgeous "Country Fair" which evokes a late summer evening vividly. It's a haunting tune you won't soon forget.

Larry the Lawyer   -   What is there about this guy? He can't sing, his material can only loosely be called "songs", and the overall effect is boredom. The dogs on the album cover are all this thing has to recommend it.

Le Capitaineon   -   One of my favourite Van Morrison albums. It's not for everyone. It's not for everyday listening. But when the mood is right, it is pure magic. If you open yourself to it, this album carries a raw emotional punch of beautiful sadness and soulful desire that can easily choke you up and cause watery eyes.

M. Cherry   -   I think that there are ultimately two types of Van Morrison fans - those who prefer Astral Weeks and those who prefer Moondance. I think both are great, but I give the edge to Moondance. Veedon Fleece is definitely more like Astral Weeks - contemplative, the whole album conveying a mood more than an importance on individual songs. 

Tom Shea   -   While Astral Weeks will always be my favourite Van Morrison album (out of the thousands in my collection, maybe favourite record of all time), the largely overlooked Veedon Fleece is a close second. I am a little ashamed to admit that, after decades of checking out Van's deep discography, I only discovered this gem a few years ago. Man, was I missing out.

Where Astral Weeks is the brilliant, mysterious improvised statement of a wide-eyed, conflicted young man looking at the world in both fear and rapture, Veedon Fleece is the same passionate but older and wiser man looking back with heartful longing and resignation (but not yet bitter, like recent works).

Fair PlayStreet Of Arklow, Bulbs, You Don't Pull No Punches and Cul De Sac rank among his very best compositions but have unfortunately been ignored on Best Ofs, but (like Astral Weeks) it's probably best to hear them in their original form anyway. 

Jeff   -   Whenever I listen to Veedon Fleece I'm carried along a gentle pathway beyond the day's troubles. It's luscious sound is like angels ministering to me. I'm partially deaf and can't hear lyrics without turning the volume up to an objectionable level so I don't concern myself with the verbal message. The mood of this album is magnificent, the artistry transcendent, the effect ethereal.

William C. Stuarton   -   From the gentle intro Fair Play through "County Fair " This is a journey that will capture your heart! It is almost criminal that so few people have heard the magnificence of the song Streets of Arklow let alone the rest of Van's catalogue. Arklow paints a picture of this Irish town captured in time. Comfort You has become a one of the great lost romantic classics. I rank this up there with Moondance, Astral Weeks, and No Guru, No method, No Teacher

Sameer Sharma   -   This is one of the most precious jewels in my music collection. Every song glitters in its own way. This is the most spiritually and emotionally moving of all of Van's albums. My favourite song on this album is Cul De Sac

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