Thursday, 8 June 2017

Van Morrison: Guy With Serious Pipes


The Electrical Audio blog says that Electrical Audio is a two-studio complex located in Chicago, Illinois and owned by Steve Albini. There is a forum section on the website which has some Van stuff like the thread below in which readers debate the topic as to whether Van is "crap or not".   

 Guy with serious pipes: Van Morrison

Capnreverb   -   How Van Morrison has escaped the crap/not crap is beyond me. The dude has some great stuff and still seems to knock out a good tune every now and then. I am really partial to that song Tupelo Honey right now. Astral Weeks sure is a magical record and even the overplayed Moondance LP is pretty darn good. Also, Them were a killer underrated 60's rock group.

Tree   -   Those three albums are great, then it's great songs dispersed here and there. At its worst, his music gives me that feeling that love is uncomfortable, like you never quite finished after using the bathroom. At its best, his music is on par with Coltrane for a pure, untainted feeling of positivity, that "speeding down the road with the top down, swerving all over and laughing all about" feeling. Just pure joy.

Rashiedgarrison   -   When he is good, he is magical. In the Days Before Rock and Roll is a fantastic piece of music. When he plays the 12 bar blues for 400 albums which are the ones I have to listen to when my dad gives me a lift anywhere, he is soooo bad.

Kenoki   -   I can't get down with Moondance or much after that, but astral weeks (i guess typically) is... whoa... definitely in my top 20 favourites, though no longer in my top 5. . plus he's so small and has chubby lil hands. I love it. Definitely not crap.

Mayfair   -   Veedon Fleece is my favourite of his. I generally like him and agree, when he is great it is unmatched. I find many more of his records to be uninteresting to me. BUT the good ones are worth wading through the less than great ones.

154   -   It's pleasant enough as background music for sipping tea or whatever, but I really don't see the big deal about him. It's about as inoffensive and uninvigorating as music gets, imo.

Mayfair   -   I find 'background music' to be, by definition shallow, uninteresting, and not very deep. I find Van Morrison very soulful and expressive and very human.  Not background at all. I know it often comes off as very 'pretty' music which seems to turn off many loud rock types, which is too bad. I think there is a lot of great stuff in there worth looking past the sometimes off putting 'pretty' veneer. Veedon Fleece and Astral Weeks are the two most serious and realized in my opinion.

tmidgett   -   one of the truly great r&b singers (of any shade) sometimes a clever, twisted, downright odd songwriter. Sometimes banal, but no one hits it out every time.  Every one of his subpar albums has some good music on it and his good albums are OTT.

Tree   -   I heard Domino at a restaurant last night.  I think my favorite thing about him was how he always looked so solemn on his record covers, while the records themselves contain exclamations of pure joy.

whiskerando   -   It's about as inoffensive as music gets. Astral Weeks is more desperate and bleak at points than any noisy band I've ever heard. George Ivan Morrison sometimes sounds the way a blackhole looks - no light.

tmidgett   -   The best three or four Van Morrison records for the rest of my life. And be totally happy with my listening choices.  Jackie Wilson Said is on Saint Dominic's Preview, maybe fourth best Van album! Probably making the final cut in my eternity of Van listening!  But Astral Weeks is #1!

sparky   -   I have a very soft spot for the live San Francisco double album. Too many strong memories from ten years ago are associated with that one. It makes me cringe and smile at the same time; I love it, and it may be awful. Anyone else know it?

tommydski   -   Of course Van the Man is amazing but what about Them? There were a band and a half, and then a half again.

Brett Eugene Ralph   -    Yes, Astral Weeks is number one. Saint Dominic's Preview is number two for me, probably tied with Tupelo Honey, which few people seem to like as much as I do. I think it's up there with Behind Closed Doors as one of the definitive statements of connubial bliss. I especially like Old Old Woodstock and Straight to Your Heart Like a Cannonball. Obviously, the title song is a masterpiece.

So what's the fourth, Tim? Veedon Fleece or Moondance?  Stoned Me is one of my favourite songs ever, and Crazy Love is gorgeous, but I'm not as into the jazzy aspects of that record. Don't overlook 1980's Common One, a weird, wonderful record that always surprises me.

Ivan   -   I know its probably irrational but having heard too many accounts of what a fat little asshat this man is I can't approach his maudlin music without thinking how much I hate him

tmidgett   -   Avalon Sunset is a good record. Enlightenment is a pretty good record. He hasn't made a lot of bad records. Anyway, I think Moondance is number two. It's even MORE like something I would hate coming from anyone else. But it's incredibly good.  His Band and the Street Choir may be my number three. I don't know. That, SDP, and Tupelo Honey are kind of equivalent in my book.  Veedon Fleece is very good, but I don't think it's quite as good.  Wavelength! And A Period of Transition! They aren't very good Van albums, right there. Or A Sense of Wonder, which has the worst cover EVER!

dabrasha   -   Gotta mention T.B. Sheets, which was his last real record for Bang. My favourite track is the Madame George version that is completely different than the AW version. I like them both. It's Too Late To Stop Now's version of Sam Cooke's Bring It On Home To Me is excellent.

Matthew   -   His live stuff could get self-indulgent. I have the live album It's Too Late to Stop Now and he stretches out Listen to the Lion from St Dominic's Preview WAY too long. Just an example. Other than that, I love Van's stuff. St. Dominic's Preview especially is probably my favourite record that he did.

tommydski   -   Recently, His Band and the Street Choir was been on my turntable a whole lot. For whatever reason it never really clicked with me before but after twenty odd years it's finally sinking in. Whilst I agree with Christgau that side two isn't as consistently striking as the neighbouring records, there is enough excellent material elsewhere to make up for it. 'Domino' remains one of the all time great singles. Up there with Jackie Wilson Said even.

Heeby Jeeby   -   My da has a copy of Brown Eyed Girl sent back to Ireland by the man himself. It's signed 'Van the Man in the U.S.A'. Pretty cool and worth a pretty penny or two I'd imagine.

Dr. O' Nothing   -   (White Irish) Soul Man Extraordianaire. Pipes, man, pipes on this guy. Some great albums and songs. Stole the show in the Last Waltz, despite being impossibly sartorially challenged. Not mentioned, but one that i enjoy is the Live at the Belfast Opera House LP.

SecondEdition   -   All I have ever heard by him is Astral Weeks, and I'm not really sure I need anything else, because that record is perfect.  As for "the black hole" effect someone mentioned here before...Slim Slow Slider. Good God. That song is despair.

BadComrade   -   I could never decide if I liked Blow in Your Nose, or Nose in Your Blow more that the other... but the best song he ever wrote was RINGWORM.  I do a reasonably funny cover of Ringworm, and I have been working up one of "Want a Danish."  Seriously, though, Ringworm is gold.

Dovey   -   Never really cared much for the guy, only in the sense that he just wasn't on my radar except for the obvious songs. Easy to dismiss, these obvious songs. They're everywhere.  But seeing his performance on The Last Waltz somewhat piqued my interest. 

Robert G   -   They have Gloria in the pumped-in music rotation at Second Job. Not sure if this is because they think it's a Christmas song, or if it's just because it's old enough to qualify as an "oldie". 

Heliotropic   -   Dweller on the Threshold is great.

JeffP   -   I listen to Van pretty often (usually Astral Weeks, St. Dominic's, or His Band and Street Choir), but I had not listened to Moondance in probably ten years until the other day. Solid gold album top to bottom.

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