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The All Things Van Morrison Thread

103 posts in this topic

We all know about Crapton's tendencies. This should come as no surprise. Barf.

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Maybe Van Morrison should get on the show Who Wants To Be Millionaire? and try to win the big one like David Chang did for the hospitality industry.

Edited by six string

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I listened to the 2 disc The Philosopher's Stone set last night.  It's an assortment of previously unreleased tracks that came out in 1998.  Most of the material would be of interest to the dedicated Vanthusiast, but it's not really an essential set.  What is essential is this version of "Bright Side of the Road". It's like 100 times better than the released version. I love the down home jug band feel of this version and Van sounds, if not exactly happy, then at least significantly less grumpy than usual.

Go ahead and give a listen.  You'll be glad you did.

 

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Posted (edited)

That's a good collection and a great version of 'Darkside...', a track I love on the album too.

I listened to the lead single of his new album last week with low expectations which were exceeded by some degree. Not sure if his current quality control will survive across the double album that's due though

Edit to add: just listened to the second track now available from the new album. Quality control issues resurface, definitely

Edited by mjazzg

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A double album? And will it be plenty of irrational ranting?  I imagine at least some of it will be.

I'm a big fan of Van Morrison, but I confess that I have put his music aside when I heard about his attitude toward the pandemic.  But we all know that sometimes you just have to go on loving the art even though you may not love the artist.  I am sure I will come back to his music eventually.

 

  

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Has the man totally run out of things to say?  His title must be the worst of his career: Latest Record Project Vol. 1.  Not to mention we can expect a Vol 2 of this brilliant title.  And I sampled as much as I could stomach of the title song--"have you got my latest record project" over and over and over.

   

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Yes, that track is absolutely grim isn't it? A real indictment of his current quality control. The album title is laughable but I did enjoy 'Only A Song' which I thought would be dreadful with that title but is actually quite soulfully jaunty.

I've not consistently enjoyed a Van album since 'No Guru...' after which every album has one, if not more of his self pitying songs where he rails against his treatment in the business or life generally.

However, I'm still drawn to investigate each new release just in case a late career renaissance is revealed. Only 'Keep Me Singing' has proved worthy of more than an initial listen in recent years, it's half decent at least.

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Posted (edited)

I enjoyed You're Driving Me Crazy (w. Joey DeFrancesco), which was just three years ago.  Actually, I think there are records by Van from every decade that are good and sometimes great--a lot of fine material when most artists his age are considered decades past their prime.

 

Edited by Milestones

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I'd be interested to hear which ones you rate over the last couple of decades, it will be a prompt to try them again.

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Too Long in Exile, Down the Road, You're Driving Me Crazy, and possibly Roll With the Punches. Among the live albums, A Night in San Francisco.

 

 

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Thanks a lot. I do have 'Too Long In Exile' and 'Live in San Francisco' so shall revisit them first. Then onto the others

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An interesting excerpt from Rickie Lee Jones' new memoir chronicles her first time meeting Van Morrison in the flesh in 1983.

There he was with his shock of eyebrows and his red, red hair. His blue eyes made bluer by the contrast with his white skin. His poor taste in clothes too. All of it made him the sexiest man I’d ever imagined. The fairies were out and the people were singing. And Van Morrison was actually smiling!

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/met-leprechaun-read-rickie-lee-131225987.html

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I didn't know about RLJ's memoir. That's a must for me. Thanks for alerting me to it.

And, beauty is in the eye if the beholder...

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The only occasion I saw and heard Van Morrison was on the Chet Baker video from London 1986, I think he sang "Send in the Clowns" but it didn´t kill me. About the other music I don´t know to much, it´s not my style.

I only know a saxophonist Sam Morrison, who played with Miles in 1975, and an austrialian multiinstrumentalist James Morrison.

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An entertaining, if not very positive review of Van's latest 

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/may/06/van-morrison-new-record-project-volume-one-review

I have to say it highlights a number of traits that I feel have been apparent for nearly twenty years but it would seem somewhat amplified on this release.

I will give it a go but I'm not holding out much hope

 

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1 hour ago, mjazzg said:

An entertaining, if not very positive review of Van's latest 

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/may/06/van-morrison-new-record-project-volume-one-review

I have to say it highlights a number of traits that I feel have been apparent for nearly twenty years but it would seem somewhat amplified on this release.

I will give it a go but I'm not holding out much hope

 

That's a pretty funny review and not unwarranted. 

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There was a similar cranky review in WSJ.  But I liked some of the reader comments:

"Unfortunately, this review tells us more about the reviewer's political disagreements with Morrison than it does about the album itself."

"Van’s the man, and it seems he’s paying pretty close attention to contemporary culture, but the author doesn’t seem to understand the Blues."

"I have been a Van Morrison fan for 55 years and I have always had the sneaking suspicion that Morrison was a closet Capitalist. He definitely believes in a free market and his anti establishment, anti authoritarian streak must grate on all of those left wing music reviewers who still cannot admit that they themselves are the establishment and the authoritarians."

"I guess his gripes aren't intersectional enough to warrant a favorable review."

"Yep, if Van were singing the praises of BLM and Critical Race Theory, or looking for the bogey man of White Supremacy, the reviewer would praise the album as if it were by Beyonce or Lil’ Wayne.  Instead, because Van is writing lyrics from right of center, it is derided.   It’s is sad that everyone at the WSJ not on the editorial side is so SJW biased. Rock music used to be about criticizing “the man” and those in power.  Now when an artist criticizes the government and its policies, a double masking, restaurant avoiding, grocery decontaminating, basement dwelling critic defends “the man” while pillorying the artist.   Sad how times have changed."

"Songs in the key of "the lockdowns were not even remotely close to worthwhile." He is correct. The lockdowns were not even remotely close to worthwhile. An Actuarial Society of South Africa study estimated the South African lockdowns caused 29 times more harm than benefit in their country."

"I imagine that if Van Morrison had, instead, put out an album praising Biden and Fauci, asserting systemic raz-esm and commending politicians for the lockdown, the reviewer would have loved it.  Pop music, as elsewhere, is an echo chamber of unimpressive undercooked groupthink. Deviate from the "truth" at your own peril."

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Van Morrison? Still? Really?

1 hour ago, mjzee said:

There was a similar cranky review in WSJ.  But I liked some of the reader comments:

"Unfortunately, this review tells us more about the reviewer's political disagreements with Morrison than it does about the album itself."

"Van’s the man, and it seems he’s paying pretty close attention to contemporary culture, but the author doesn’t seem to understand the Blues."

"I have been a Van Morrison fan for 55 years and I have always had the sneaking suspicion that Morrison was a closet Capitalist. He definitely believes in a free market and his anti establishment, anti authoritarian streak must grate on all of those left wing music reviewers who still cannot admit that they themselves are the establishment and the authoritarians."

"I guess his gripes aren't intersectional enough to warrant a favorable review."

"Yep, if Van were singing the praises of BLM and Critical Race Theory, or looking for the bogey man of White Supremacy, the reviewer would praise the album as if it were by Beyonce or Lil’ Wayne.  Instead, because Van is writing lyrics from right of center, it is derided.   It’s is sad that everyone at the WSJ not on the editorial side is so SJW biased. Rock music used to be about criticizing “the man” and those in power.  Now when an artist criticizes the government and its policies, a double masking, restaurant avoiding, grocery decontaminating, basement dwelling critic defends “the man” while pillorying the artist.   Sad how times have changed."

"Songs in the key of "the lockdowns were not even remotely close to worthwhile." He is correct. The lockdowns were not even remotely close to worthwhile. An Actuarial Society of South Africa study estimated the South African lockdowns caused 29 times more harm than benefit in their country."

"I imagine that if Van Morrison had, instead, put out an album praising Biden and Fauci, asserting systemic raz-esm and commending politicians for the lockdown, the reviewer would have loved it.  Pop music, as elsewhere, is an echo chamber of unimpressive undercooked groupthink. Deviate from the "truth" at your own peril."

Or maybe it got a bad review because it's a bad record, period.

Reminds me of the Wynton fans back in the day (oh, where are they now?) who would always tell you that you had some extra-musical agenda for not liking him. No, dumbass, it really IS as simple as that I just don't like his music.

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Posted (edited)

I preordered the latest Van Morrison record project and it arrived today.  I  was anxious to hear it as I read read the commentary upthread and thought - how could it be that bad.... it's Van Morrison.

So I played it, or at least tried to - this evening.  I will never listen to this recording again.  It is simply horrible in almost every way.

On a positive note, Van's voice is in good form. That takes care of the "in almost every way" reference.   

But the songs suck - in every respect.  Melodies, if you can call them melodies - suck. There is no creativity or passion -  just disjointed crap. Almost every song sounds the same - and they collectively suck.  The lyrics - some of which come off as the rants of a psychopath or a second grader stringing together sentences that end in words that rhyme - suck.  The lyrics that do make any sense - suck.  The arrangements suck. The performances suck. The back up singers suck.  The production sucks. It's almost like 28 different songs each of which has been designed to suck more that the others.  

I got about 2/3 of the way through it listening to the the complete songs and then skimmed the rest for anything listenable and everything sucks.  Anything even barely listenable is not worth searching for because anything worth listening to is just washed away by a tsunami of suckitude..

All of this is coming from a huge Van Morrison fan.  Someone who has found something to love in every album he has released - until now.  I have loved Van's music as it has brought me joy and helped heal me when I needed it. It has energized me and calmed me.  He's transported me away from my problems and helped me face them as well. His music has been a source of inspiration and enjoyment for me for years. So without further thought, or shame, or misgivings, or impact on my feelings about Van and all of his previous releases - I will take the discs out of my CD player, place them in their case and bury it somewhere in my storage area out of site where someday when I find it I will toss it in the garbage.  I can't do it today because it's Van Morrison and ........ nothing else makes sense - so that's what I am doing.

 

Some time in the near future, I will pull some of my favorite Van Morrison albums off the shelf, listen to them and try to forget that this ever happened.  

Edited by Ed Swinnich

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4 hours ago, Ed Swinnich said:

I preordered the latest Van Morrison record project and it arrived today.  I  was anxious to hear it as I read read the commentary upthread and thought - how could it be that bad.... it's Van Morrison.

So I played it, or at least tried to - this evening.  I will never listen to this recording again.  It is simply horrible in almost every way.

On a positive note, Van's voice is in good form. That takes care of the "in almost every way" reference.   

But the songs suck - in every respect.  Melodies, if you can call them melodies - suck. There is no creativity or passion -  just disjointed crap. Almost every song sounds the same - and they collectively suck.  The lyrics - some of which come off as the rants of a psychopath or a second grader stringing together sentences that end in words that rhyme - suck.  The lyrics that do make any sense - suck.  The arrangements suck. The performances suck. The back up singers suck.  The production sucks. It's almost like 28 different songs each of which has been designed to suck more that the others.  

I got about 2/3 of the way through it listening to the the complete songs and then skimmed the rest for anything listenable and everything sucks.  Anything even barely listenable is not worth searching for because anything worth listening to is just washed away by a tsunami of suckitude..

All of this is coming from a huge Van Morrison fan.  Someone who has found something to love in every album he has released - until now.  I have loved Van's music as it has brought me joy and helped heal me when I needed it. It has energized me and calmed me.  He's transported me away from my problems and helped me face them as well. His music has been a source of inspiration and enjoyment for me for years. So without further thought, or shame, or misgivings, or impact on my feelings about Van and all of his previous releases - I will take the discs out of my CD player, place them in their case and bury it somewhere in my storage area out of site where someday when I find it I will toss it in the garbage.  I can't do it today because it's Van Morrison and ........ nothing else makes sense - so that's what I am doing.

 

Some time in the near future, I will pull some of my favorite Van Morrison albums off the shelf, listen to them and try to forget that this ever happened.  

This is such a shame and sadly what I expect my reaction will be if and when I listen to this latest album.  I've cooled towards his recordings over the last 20 years but thought 'Keep Me Singing' was the first in some time that was consistently good.

Your description "I have loved Van's music as it has brought me joy and helped heal me when I needed it. It has energized me and calmed me.  He's transported me away from my problems and helped me face them as well. His music has been a source of inspiration and enjoyment for me for years." very eloquently my feelings about so much of his music.  Given that, I think I may just save myself the pain and not bother even trying the new one.  Just imagine it never existed.

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I have listened to a few of the new songs online and this is an album I will definitely be skipping. 

An assortment of reviews for any one interested:

Van Morrison’s Latest Record Project is paranoid and Covid-sceptic – yet oddly good

Van Morrison’s ‘Latest Record Project’ Is a Delightfully Terrible Study in Casual Grievance

Van Morrison's New Album Is an Utter Embarrassment

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I finally listened to this disc for the first time over the weekend.

My first impression is that this is one of the weakest VM discs, for sure. Monotonous/lineal and a bit tedious, awfully produced and with annoying backing chorus... Particularly, a few songs and lyrics do suck, but... Actually, it is not the end of the world as it has been described in the Guardian review and in this thread! As commented above, VM's voice is in good form and the blues/R&B is all over the place... which is not intrinsically bad!

My personal view is that the reviews are more politics-oriented than they should be, while acknowledging that our old-grumpy is perfectly capable of getting on almost everyone's nerves... 

So, place it in very distant and non-easily-reachable place in your shelves, and turn the page! 

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If an artist inserts their political beliefs into a work then the critical reactions are going to address politics. I haven't listened to this and don't really plan to despite enjoying some of VM's previous work as the song titles are hammed up and cheesy, not something that attracts me musically. He's not above cheese even in that back catalog as Common One's Satisfied is stilted as hell. If I want to hear a VM album I'll just put on VF, St Dom's or TH. 

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