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Old 11-30-2008, 04:34 PM   #71 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Sasquatch View Post
Been a while since I stopped by to read your amazing reviews of Van, I see I have some catching up to do.

Belated congratulations on your Moderator promotion, I would have recommended you and Rezz for the vacant position, I hope it works out for you.

Sorry to hear about your fire, I had one about 9 years ago and most of my vinyl albums were destroyed, and most of my photographs as well. The music I have replaced but the pictures are gone forever. I was going to offer some albums for you to consider, but I see in your Ashes to Ashes thread the generosity of the MB community is already taking care of that.

Good luck JJJ, hopefully you have nothing but good fortune from here on out.
That's one of the nicest and most flattering posts I've had directed at me, thanks Sasquatch! I'm sorry we both had the misfortune of our experience, I hope you were as lucky as we were not to have any harm come to our family or pets. Best wishes and I am glad you enjoy the Morrison reviews, probably do another one tonight or tomorrow night oddly enough.
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My Van Morrison Discography Thread
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:55 PM   #72 (permalink)
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Yeah nothing was lost but some possessions everyone including the pets escaped without a scratch.

I finally got my hands on some serious Van Morrison albums, from 1968 to 1983 about 15 of them altogether, and they are hard to find, took me a while. I will go through them and read your album reviews as I play them, then I may be able to offer an intelligent observation or two on this subject.

I certainly hope you continue to provide your in depth reviews, now that I have some reference material to enjoy along with your thread.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:44 PM   #73 (permalink)
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Default Irish Heartbeat (1988)

Recorded in Dublin, Ireland in the Winter of 1987, after the group and Morrison had discussed recording an album together a few years prior. Recalls Paddy Maloney of the Chieftains: “I think at that time Van was searching for his Irish roots. It was this man of blues, of rock ‘n’ roll, jazz and more importantly soul, coming home to his Irishness with The Chieftains and the music we’d been playing for so many years. Musically we were going to meet each other half way.” The union culminated in the album release and a concert for the BBC on St. Patrick’s Day 1988.



Irish Heartbeat (1988)

Comprised of eight traditional Irish numbers and two reworkings of previously released Morrison originals, the album is distinctly Irish but still with noticeable Morrison panache woven in. The album was welcomed to warm critical reviews and became on the most critical acclaimed and best selling albums of 1988, still in retrospect it does not hold the same esteem or place in my memory that much of his less ballyhooed earlier and later original albums…

1. Star of the County Down – Distinctly Irish traditional with a lighthearted gait through the verse building towards the resounding chorus and it’s subtle at first then obvious harmonies. An easy song to enjoy and be annoyed by, I happen to like this filth so it meets my approval. 7\10

2. Irish Heartbeat – The soft and welcoming Morrison original is re-imagined in a delightful way. Originally released on 1983’s “Inarticulate Speech of the Heart” it harkens back to a time of Morrison’s longing to return and reconnect with his roots and thus is appropriate in it’s inclusion on this album recorded in Ireland with the traditional giants. 7.5\10

3. Ta Mo Chleahnas Deanta – This traditional March number features a back and forth between Kevin Coneef and Morrison on lead vocals and a harmony through the chorus with Mary Black, the combination of vocal styles paired with the distinct and charming sounds of Ireland help this song work comfortably into flow of the album and make it an enjoyable addition. 8\10

4. Raglan Road – Inspired and based on a poem by Patrick Kavanaugh, this gradual builder is a heavy handed number as much an acquired taste as any on the album. Well delivered by limited in terms of appeal, instrumentally as tame and predictable as any on the album thus far and maybe the weak link through the albums first side. Morrison’s lyrical bellows are not the same when the pain he sings of is not his and this is evident on many parts of this album. 6.5\10

5. She Moved Through the Fair – One of the most creative and individual renditions of this number closes side one with a detailed soft introduction welcoming Morrison’s vocals which carry the verses almost alone throughout as the pulse never raises much above a whisper from beginning to end. 6.5\10

6. I’ll Tell Me Ma – Side two opens with more energy but it’s not necessarily a good thing this one falls on the wrong side of the thin line between charming and annoying a little two often as the feeling of an Irish square-dance is not one I need to revisit. Still innocent enough it’s over as quick as it starts and is probably pretty good if you’re drunk. 6\10

7. Carrickfergus – Another traditional ballad and proclamation of love as this song rocks back and forth on its own harmony. Morrison sings with candor but without conviction, it’s simply a well tuned instrument playing a song as to form as it can. Still a few moments of Van’s signature shriek and the natural lure of the song are enough to make the experience an enjoyable one. 7\10

8. Celtic Ray – The second Morrison original, Celtic Ray, originally released just five years prior finds itself right in the middle of side two and finds a more comfortable home in 1988’s Irish backdrop then it did in it’s synthesized resting place a few years ago. The chorus is still the catchy and signature moment of the song; and the only missing element is the desperation of the more agonized Morrison. 7.5\10

9. My Lagan Love – Tedious, especially at this point of the album. This is the point where I start to get disinterested every time, this time is no exception. 5.5\10

10. Marie’s Wedding – The Closing number is a joyful song from start to finish and does a nice job of sort of encapsulating the albums best qualities without putting a false face on it. A toe-tapper you’d call it, simple and safe enough and just short enough to stay charming. 7\10

…As the album wears on it’s easy to lose interest a pure Morrison fan, it’s not his world you’re in, it’s his reconnection to his roots your witnessing, or at least the symbolic re-embrace that culminates his quest to go back as he first mentioned directly in “Irish Heartbeat” after hinting at it time to time throughout the 1970’s. A solid musical compilation, but lacking the energy or individuality to be a lasting gem.



Defining Track(s): “Carrickfergus” and “Ta Mo Chleahnas Deanta” are my favorite traditional covers and that’s the album’s concept.
Line in my head: “She’s the wee Lass that’s left my hear broken”
Christagu’s Take: C+ Having finally met up with the jet-setting Irish traditionalists, known the world over for sitting down with anybody who'll look good on their résumé, the blocked poet essays a few jigs in a misguided attempt to prove he hasn't lost his rebop. Instead he should take another cue from the bluesmen who taught him his ****--once you settle into other people's songs, the secret of an honorable senescence is your own sense of rhythm.

Star rating: (1-5) (from my personal catalog) ***
How it made me feel today: (1-10): 6.5
Overall Ranking: TBD


Next up: Avalon Sunset - 1989
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My Van Morrison Discography Thread
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Old 04-28-2009, 04:31 PM   #74 (permalink)
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Default Avalon Sunset (1990)

Continuing his quest to fill the uncertainly of his Spiritual side Morrison goes to work on his most devout and mystical effort to date.



Avalon Sunset (1989)

A major commercial and critical success, it features a major hit, a major standard composition and my least favorite and most confusing Morrison track ever. An album better then I remembered but not as good as others remember…

1. Whenever God Shines His Light – Like most atheists I just love a good God heavy song and this sure is one. It’s as pretentious and as adoring as its title suggests, but that is not to diminish the music which is if not unique certainly well executed and enjoyable. The vocal duet with Cliff Richard and the playful peppy beat are a winning combination despite there more then a little cheesy nature. A solid choice for the opening number on the album. 7.5\10

2. Contacting My Angel – Smooth Jazz walk at a slow and steady gait through the Celtic roots Morrison continued to embrace. Never gains much stem, as Morrison sort of builds the mood of the album too come without giving away too much in foreshadowing. It’s just not what you’re looking for as a long time Morrison fan, but it certainly found it’s audience and I’m as guilty as anyone my age for enjoying it a bit too much in the sentimental department. 6\10

3. I’d Love to Write Another Song – An up-tempo romp with an ensemble arrangement featuring full band, horn section, piano and back-up vocals. The Black Sheep of the album that seems to be a bit of inspiration for Morrison work of the late 2000’s decade. It’s Morrison lamenting the inability to just “write another song” This is one that would work better on a different album then it does here amongst the ethereal mist. 6.5\10

4. Have I Told you Lately – One of Morrison’s many adult contemporary standards written in the 80’s and 90’s. This number was made a huge hit five years later by Rod Stewart. A lot of the thoughts I have about “Contacting my Angel” fit for this song, yes it’s a bit tacky a loaded with cliché but lyrically and musically, but it’s still beautiful when the right voice and the right arrangement belt it out. 7.5\10

5. Coney Island – Morrison starts in poetic narrative monologue and for two minutes that an almost humorous Irish\Scottish accent is all you get. I still haven’t let this one slide. 3.5\10

6. I’m Tired Joey Boy – This is what Coney Island should have been; there is a nice progression here and a subtly delightful melody complete with perfectly anticipated and executed fills. Opening up the second side with new reason for optimism in both the message and the music: It’s a traditional number with a modern twist and at under three minutes it’s the perfect length. 7.5\10

7. When Will I ever Learn to Live in God – Morrison at his most anxious and involved on this album as he breaks cadence to set the mood even more mystical then the music can reveal. The chorus is a reminder of his finest moments of the decade finding the right notes and the right words to relate the desperation of his uncertainty. It’s Gospel undertones are another theme prevalent on the album. “Avalon Sunset” is often considered Morrison’s most spiritual album. 8\10

8. Orangefield – Orangefield is a song of hope and belief of faith really and one that I instantly liked. It has the distinct sound of 1989 allover it and yet overcomes that to persist as a touching number. The song builds very well and the subtle adjustments in arrangement including the more preeminent use of the strings in the final verse and chorus set this composition apart from the rest of the album. 8.5\10

9. Daring Night – The most sensual track on the album, “Daring Night” was actually intended as an Instrumental for an album earlier in the decade, but Morrison’s impromptu lyrics in one studio session led to a lightly scripted arrangement that eventually became this track. With the acute attention paid to the musical cadence the combination with Morrison’s powerful growl and desperate anxiety elevate this number above its base merits. Morrison even slows it down and turns instruction into lyrics in-between chorus lines. The drawn out ending is a highlight of the album. 8\10

10. These are the Days – The final track is another inspirational celebration of the present despite the futures uncertainty. A far cry from the Morrison of 15 and 20 years prior, but yet still a musical giant with a great voice he’s still displaying at anytime his message needs it. A restful, seductive rhythm and the hopeful lyrics melt into a mystical menagerie of all the albums elements and a fitting closing chapter. Morrison feels this music as sincerely as any he has in quite sometime and this in my opinion is what drove the success of this album, the second biggest seller of the decade.. 8\10

…Christagu is accurate in describing Van’s experimentation in various genres to be a bit boring despite the quality often times. Overall however I am not as kind to the album as he is. It is boring overall, again it fails to consistently capture me the way Morrison always had, not then and still not now. There is no doubt that it is a strong finish, but at this point that’s more the expectation then the exclamation for Morrison.



Defining Track(s): “Whenever God Shines His Light”, “Have I told You Lately” they are the biggest hits and speak directly to Morrison’s most prevalent theme and most prolific style of songwriting.
Line in my head: “One Four, One Four” (calling for the chord pattern in the ending of Daring Night)
Christagu’s Take: A- Like it or not, Morrison's genre exercises are kind of boring. Having long since sold his soul to his Muse, he's her slave for life, and though he keeps importuning various gods to loose his chains, the best they can offer is extra inspiration once in a while--now, for instance. Cliff Richard's support on his liveliest tune since "Cleaning Windows" suggests that Christ the Redeemer is lending a hand, but on the first side Van prefers to find the divine in the blessed present--folk lyric, poem about birdwatching, song called "I'd Like To Write Another Song." Side two comes out more today-is-the-first-day-of-the-rest-of-Van's-life--that is, his own genre exercise. And for a side he gets away with it.

Star rating: (1-5) (from my personal catalog) ***1\2
How it made me feel today: (1-10): 7.5
Overall Ranking: TBD


Next up: Enlightenment- 1990
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If you're posting in the music forums make sure to be thoughtful and expressive, if you're posting in the lounge ask yourself "is this something that adds to the conversation?" It's important to remember that a lot of people use each thread. You're probably not as funny or clever as you think, I know I'm not.

My Van Morrison Discography Thread
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:41 AM   #75 (permalink)
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Nice to see you back JJJ and updating your magnum opus. I'll put Van back in my rotation now.
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:48 PM   #76 (permalink)
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Nice to see you back JJJ and updating your magnum opus. I'll put Van back in my rotation now.
Thanks for all your support all along, it's nice to have time to devout to something I so thoroughly enjoy once again. These albums are not his best, but I'll still take them over 90% of the music I hear on the radio and in general in public.
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i prefer foreplay. the orgasm is overrated.
If you're posting in the music forums make sure to be thoughtful and expressive, if you're posting in the lounge ask yourself "is this something that adds to the conversation?" It's important to remember that a lot of people use each thread. You're probably not as funny or clever as you think, I know I'm not.

My Van Morrison Discography Thread
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Old 05-19-2009, 02:26 PM   #77 (permalink)
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So now we've traveled through three decades of Van Morrison music and still have two more to go, however before I continue I have a few things I'd like to do. First and foremost I'd like to ask anyone here who has been following or is currently reading this thread to share their thoughts as many or few as you have on Morrison; Obviously my viewpoint is biased, but the MB community has always been one to have an open and thoughtful mind and your contributions could greatly strengthen this thread and it's value to those who are interested enough in the subject manner to read it.

To sum it up:

What are your thoughts on Van Morrison, his career to date and his place in music history?

Thanks,

Jack, Jackie, 3J, Jayjamjah
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Originally Posted by cardboard adolescent View Post
i prefer foreplay. the orgasm is overrated.
If you're posting in the music forums make sure to be thoughtful and expressive, if you're posting in the lounge ask yourself "is this something that adds to the conversation?" It's important to remember that a lot of people use each thread. You're probably not as funny or clever as you think, I know I'm not.

My Van Morrison Discography Thread
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Old 05-19-2009, 03:49 PM   #78 (permalink)
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I'll be honest and say I don't really have an opinion on Van Morrison - I've just never come across any of his music before. That said, this is a really well-written thread (and one I took a few cues from for my own discography thread), so I'll get a few albums based on your reviews soon, give this thread a good read and get back to you on that question a bit later in the week.
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:59 AM   #79 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by JayJamJah View Post
So now we've traveled through three decades of Van Morrison music and still have two more to go, however before I continue I have a few things I'd like to do. First and foremost I'd like to ask anyone here who has been following or is currently reading this thread to share their thoughts as many or few as you have on Morrison; Obviously my viewpoint is biased, but the MB community has always been one to have an open and thoughtful mind and your contributions could greatly strengthen this thread and it's value to those who are interested enough in the subject manner to read it.

To sum it up:

What are your thoughts on Van Morrison, his career to date and his place in music history?

Thanks,

Jack, Jackie, 3J, Jayjamjah

I like Van Morrison, I got the Moondance album when I was in high school becuase my friend said I'd like it. I really like the horns and the vocals, I never got into most of there albums on this thread, but it is an amzazing thread and I think I should. Is there anywhere to download them or sample them for free.
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:30 PM   #80 (permalink)
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Wow, interesting .. I hadn't noticed that this thread had been revived I have a few Van Morrison albums (Astral Weeks, Moondance, Saint Dominic's preview, His Band and the Street Choir, a "best of" if that counts), but I don't have any kind of clear opinions on any of them. Still, I just wanted to make a post and say that it's nice to have you back and I'll see if I can read some of your reviews while I listen to him tomorrow. Maybe I can contribute with with some viewpoints later on.
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