Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Van Vs Bob


Let’s Talk Music is a music blog specialising in forum topics.  The following discussion was initiated by someone calling himself Rimbaud82

Van Morrison

So how many Van Morrison fans do we have here? What are your favourite lyrics of his? What about songs? Just generally what do you think about him, and his music? For me, although in a different way, he is tied with Bob Dylan for the greatest lyricist of all time (and by that I mean they are my favourites of course, I wouldn't suggest that they are the literal best). However, though I love both Bob and Van equally, Van is my favourite singer (as in vocalist) of all time, his voice is amazing. In my opinion it’s the richest, and most expressive voice in all of rock music, there is no one better. Someone described it as “aural poetry” and that’s incredibly accurate. Rolling Stone say this “He’s the most painterly of vocalists, a master of unexpected phrasing whose voice can transform lyrics into something abstract and mystical”.

I like this quote too: “I know of no music that is more lucid, feel able, hearable, seeable, touchable, no music you can experience more intensely than this. Not just moments, but extended … periods of experience which convey the feel of what films could be: a form or perception which no longer burls itself blindly on meanings and definitions, but allows the sensuous to take over and grow … where indeed something does become indescribable.”

Van holds a special place for me…he comes from the same place I do and so I can relate to him more. Dylan, and other great songwriters may be more ‘intellectual’(for lack of a better word) in their lyrics, but Van’s are exceptional in another way. His words come seem to come from a another time and place — they are pure poetry and his view on things is really like my own, his pastoral, romantic, wonder-filled lyrics really strike a chord with me.

Forgive this eulogy of a post, I am a huge fan and want to see who else loves his music as much as I do, or alternatively what others think. I’ll just leave you with these songs and await your thoughts: Summertime in England, Astral Weeks, Sweet Thing, Into the Mystic and Listen to the Lion.

Reader Comments

Jagedar   -   Astral Weeks is one of my favourite songs of all time, without question. It's such an adventure, a mystic invitation to this other place performed in such a natural way with guitars and flutes and Van's incredible vocals. Not to mention the cryptic lyrical poetry that is quite possibly some of the best songwriting ever: "If I ventured in the slipstream/ between the viaducts of your dreams/ where immobile steel rims crack/ and the ditch in the back road stops/ could you find me?".

veraciousful   -   It's like slowly falling asleep in during a long car ride at the end of a warm summer day spent on the beach.

Jagedar   -   I've always seen it as a sleepy, clear early summer night.

Rimbaud82   -   and that's whats so great about it! 

heady_hood   -   I always saw it as a marvellous night for a moon dance, in the cover of October skies.

weinerdog12345   -   Van Morrison is my all-time favourite musician, and I believe that Moondance is among the greatest albums of all time.
Admittedly, it's tough for me not to use hyperbole when speaking of Van's music. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on his collaboration with Dylan. Although those two are my favourites, I didn't care for the collaboration at all. In fact, I thought it was Dylan who took away from much of the richness of Van's music.

It occurs to me that I listen for different things when I listen to Dylan than when I listen to Van. I feel a much greater attachment to Dylan's lyrics and passion, but I am more moved by the whole package of Van. Not sure why - just a preference, I suppose.

Rimbaud82   -   I actually feel the exact same way about their collaboration, and as I say they are two favourites also. I love both, Dylan's lyrics have a very different sort of attachment for me. I have two framed posters of him on my wall for goodness sake, but he connects on a much more 'intellectual' (bad word probably, but for lack of a better one as I say) level for the most part (Not exclusively of course, Mr Tambourine, Lay Down Your Weary Tune, Chimes of Freedom for example all go to similar places as Van's lyrics albeit in a different style). 


Stuff like Visions of Johanna, Desolation Row though (Perhaps his finest lyrics, up there anyway) is much more rooted in Ginsberg-ian, Beat style poetry...something more like Rimbaud (Who of course, is one of my favourites). In comparison, Van just hits me right there, I don't know where that is but somewhere - he rocks my gypsy soul you could say. With him the words are wonderful in a different way, and really it's combined with his incredible voice as well, the pauses, grunts, repetitions and phrasings just make it all the more special. If Dylan is Ginsberg or Rimbaud, then Van is clearly Yeats, Kavanagh or romantics/mystic poets like Blake. If you'll forgive the cheesy comparisons...

dikbutjenkins   -   I think Van Morrison has almost made his own genre of music where he blurs the line between folk and soul music. Sweet Thing is my favourite song by him but I've recently been getting into his work he did with the chieftains in the late 80s.

Rimbaud82   -   Absolutely mate, "Celtic soul" it gets called. I like The Chieftains stuff too, though haven't got into as much as some of the earlier albums.

Caverndish   -   I'm not a fan of Van Morrison, though I've never really given his music a proper listen. Though I was working in a studio a few months ago and him and his band was recording in the studio next door. I didn't see anything but what I heard was pretty good. A good set of musicians.

spurios   -   Astral Weeks could be described as an album created by good musicians. It deserves a proper listen.

MrsJohnJacobAstor   -   This thread has inspired me to check out more Van Morrison!

Rimbaud82   -   I love Van. Love his phrasing, his vocal range, his explosive presence. I also love the vulnerability behind all of his performances. A lot of people are not aware Van suffered from excruciating stage fright; I've always thought that it somehow compelled his music to this state of perfection.
Lately I've been addicted to the Tupelo Honey record, particularly Moonshine Whiskey. I also want Caravan played at my funeral with everyone drinking whiskey.

SicMus   -   The entire Astral Weeks album is simply transcendental. The album has taken me to places no other album has. Also, I can't stand it when people hear the name Van Morrison, and their mind just automatically jumps to Brown Eyed Girl. No where close to his best song, and he deserves a better appreciation than that.

MCanavan14   -   I love Van, one of my favourite artists of all time. My Top three by him are probably: Snow in San Anselmo, Moondance then Tore down A La Rimbaud but he has so many good songs it's tough to pick. Moondance is by far my favourite album of his. One of the best things for me about Van is he's made so many songs I'm always stumbling on new ones.

jord0hh   -   Into The Mystic is one of my favourite albums. I don't think their will ever be another voice like his. His music takes me to a different place.

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