Van Morrison recommendations

Mike Broadman

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Hey, all. I was just thinking of picking up some Van Morrison. I like a few of his songs and have read good things.
I'm 23, so I don't "remember" his stuff, it's all history to me.
I love jazz and like blues, and most of the rock I like is from the 70s and current (I post a lot about progressive rock music). I also like soul and classic R&B (the real R&B, not Destiny's Child), which I hear some of in the little Van Morrison I've heard.
So, do you guys think I'd like Van Morrisson, or would his stuff sound a bit dated to me?
 

Matt Birchall

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I don't own a Van Morrison album, but "Moondance" and "Astral Weeks" are usually the two albums of his that get the most acclaim. I've been meaning to buy those for quite some time; maybe I'll get around to it sooner or later. Gotta love "Brown Eyed Girl". . .
-mwb-
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Rain

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Astral Weeks - The greatest album ever made!
Moondance
His Band and the Street Choir
St. Dominic's Preview
Tupelo Honey
It's Too Late to Stop Now - Live double album
Basically, you can't go wrong with the early stuff.
Also good, if you want to try the later years:
Into the Music
Irish Heartbeat - With The Cheiftans
Enlightenment
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Mark Turetsky

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For some reason Enlightenment to me is absolutely transcendant as an album.
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Peter Apruzzese

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Later stuff that's also great and worth checking out:
Poetic Champions Compose
Hymns to the Silence - my vote for one of the best albums (2 discs, actually) of all time. Contains an absolutely killer version of the Ray Charles hit "I Can't Stop Lovin' You" as well as a song called "Carrying a Torch" that'll pull your damn heart out everytime.
 

Jimmy Nugent

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Blowin' Your Mind- great album full of wonderful songs. T B Sheets is a personal favorite. I would claim this to be my two cents but I'm helplessly senseless.
Jimmy
 

Craig S

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I got into Van about 10 years ago and ended up buying his entire catalog in a span of about 16 months... just warning you what you're getting into...

At any rate, these are my faves (in no particular order):
Astral Weeks
Hymns to the Silence
Enlightenment
Moondance
Tupelo Honey
Poetic Champions Compose
Into the Music
But (and this may be heresy to some of you, but bear with me) you may want to START with the 1990 The Best of Van Morrison collection. It's a generous 20-track collection that contains most of the essential hits ("Gloria", "Brown Eyed Girl", "Wild Night", "Moondance", etc.) along with some lesser known album tracks. If for some reason these don't appeal to you at least you've got the hits. But if you're like me you'll be seduced by such gems as "Warm Love", "Dweller at the Threshold", "Full Force Gale", and "Queen of the Slipstream" and this will draw you naturally into a deeper exploration of the albums from which they were drawn.
Enjoy!
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[Edited last by Craig S on October 29, 2001 at 05:44 PM]
 

Rain

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...you may want to START with the 1990 The Best of Van Morrison collection.
It is worth it alone for the great song "Wonderful Remark," which was heard over the closing credits to The King of Comedy.
The Belfast Cowboy also turns in a couple of amazing numbers with The Band on The Last Waltz CD (only one song, I think, made it into the film).
Poetic Champions Compose I have never heard. I did read once that Sinead O'Connor listed this as one of her favourite albums of all time.
Upon further thought "A Sense of Wonder" is also a pretty good album.
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James RD

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I have to agree with Rain and Craig S. Start with "The Best of..." and go from there. Even his latest CDs, "Back On Top" and "You Win Again" (w/Linda Gail Lewis) are excellent.
One quibble about the superb "Astral Weeks". The LP sounds MUCH better. The CD is a really old transfer and begs for a reissue. If anyone knows anything about a planned update let us know.
 

DonaldB

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His work with the bluesy/Brit-Invasion band Them is also essential. Them Featuring Van Morrison is the one to get.
 

Rich Malloy

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The Belfast Cowboy also turns in a couple of amazing numbers with The Band on The Last Waltz CD (only one song, I think, made it into the film).
A great album, to be sure, and one that I'd recommend unreservedly except for the recent announcement that the DVD is being readied for a 2002 release!!! Of course, I'm hoping for some good deleted performances, perhaps even Morrison's entire mini-set, and - oh god, please - a Scorsese/Robbie Robertson commentary (they were roomies back then, ya know).
 

Jon_Are

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I saw The Last Waltz in its original theatrical release and was blown away. I immediately picked up the album (vinyl, of course) and played the grooves out of it. This film introduced me to The Band, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, and, of course, the Belfast Cowboy. I will buy the DVD on Day One.
By the way, Van actually performed two songs on Last Waltz: Tura Lura Lural & Caravan.
As for recommendations, I haven't heard a bad VM CD. I'm getting How Long Has This Been Going On - the Georgie Fame collaboration - in a few days. Anyone know it??
Jon
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Rich Malloy

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Who sings "Life is a Carnival" on the Last Waltz cd? Is it Danko or Morrison (or someone else entirely)?
 

Darren H

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If I could only listen to one song for the rest of my life, I would be tempted to pick "Into the Mystic" (from Moondance). Van delivers the hell out of that opening line. If I could sing like that, I'd stop talking.
"We were born before the wind, also younger than the sun . . ."
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Ted Lee

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i also have his best of and am very proud to have it in my collection.
like, every song on it is excellent. i would probably consider this one of my d.i.d's.
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Jay Gregory

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My absolute favorite is Veedon Fleece -- his last album before his mid 70s retirement. It is gorgeous. And Common One has lots of laughs.
 

Mike Broadman

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Hey all, thanks for the recs.
Well, I just got Astral Weeks (see, I'm a good boy, I pay attention
)
Very pretty. Not like the stuff I heard on the radio. I really like flute playing in general (I know, I'm weird) and the guitar arrangement was generally nicely done, although there were a couple instances where they went a little nuts.
My favorite tracks (I'm working off memory here) are the title track, the 3rd track, the 5th track and Madam George. The only song I didn't like was Beside You. When he starts to go off on some rant, it can be a bit trying.
The bass at times really hit the mark. Perfectly placed within the arrangement.
For an album that's all pretty much acoustic and emphasises his voice (which isn't really that great), it's pretty damn good.
The only other singer who did this stuff (the acoustic-jazzy pop folk singer thing) that I like is Joni Mitchell.
I didn't get the Best Of because I just generally tend to stay away from them (with some exceptions: Kate Bush, Black Crowes, Cream). I think I'll pick up Moondance later this week.
 

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