Van Morrison – Meet Me In… (2002)

FrontCover1.jpgVan Morrison continued to record and tour in the 2000s, often performing two or three times a week. He formed his own independent label, Exile Productions Ltd, which enables him to maintain full production control of each album he records, which he then delivers as a finished product to the recording label that he chooses, for marketing and distribution.

The album Down the Road, released in May 2002, received a good critical reception and proved to be his highest charting album in the US since 1972’s Saint Dominic’s Preview. It had a nostalgic tone, with its fifteen tracks representing the various musical genres Morrison had previously covered—including R&B, blues, country and folk; one of the tracks was written as a tribute to his late father George, who had played a pivotal role in nurturing his early musical tastes. (by wikipedia)

Van Morrison has always from time to time allowed for concert recordings and here´s a real pretty one … This show was broadcasted on August 16, 2002, by the German radio station RadioEins.

And here ist the complete version of this concert in soundboard quality !

Enjoy the one and only Van Morrison !

Recorded live at the The Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany, June 06, 2002

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Personnel:
Richard Dunn (keyboards)
Ned Edwards (guitar, background vocals)
David Hayes (bass)
Matt Holland (trumpet)
Bobby Irwin (drums)
Van Morrison (vocals, guitar, saxophone, harmonica)
Martin Winning (saxophone, clarinet)
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Candy Dulfer (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart (Morrison) 3.27
02. Whining Boy Moan (Morrison) 5.10
03. Days Like This (Morrison) 2.59
04. Did Ye Get Healed? (Morrison) 5.47
05. Naked In The Jungle (Morrison) 6.38
06. In The Midnight (Morrison) 5.05
07. Hey Mr. DJ (I) (Morrison) 3.49
08. Meet Me In The Indian Summer (Morrison) 3.51
09. Hey Mr. DJ (II) (Morrison) 5.26
10. Sometimes We Cry (Morrison) 3.00
11. Into The Mystic (Morrison) 3.46
12. Early In The Morning (Jordan/Bartley/Hickman) 5.51
13. Real Real Gone (Morrison) 4.49
14. In The Afternoon/Raincheck (Morrison) 10.31
15. All Work No Play (Morrison) 4.49
16. Its All In The Game (Morrison) 11.43
17. Brown-Eyed Girl (Morrison) 4.18
18. Gloria (Morrison) 4.39

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Van Morrison (feat. Dr. John) – The Wonderland Tapes (1977)

FrontCover1.jpgFor years the best known set of Van’s brief collaboration with Dr John in 1977 has widely circulated only in incomplete form and mediocre sound on a bootleg known as Amsterdam’s Tapes. Now, thanks to the persistence, dedication and collaboration of VLS (vanlose stairway) members and friends, this rare show has finally been assembled from the best sources available to us, complete as broadcast on Dutch FM radio. After 20+ years, we are sure fans will agree that it is about time! Better yet, we have also unearthed the “raw audio source” of that set, taken from the live performance for a TV program called “Wonderland” in Vara Studios, Hilversum, Netherlands. This audio has never before been circulated, and although available only in mono, it will surely delight the attentive listener. –

Thanks to crmass; and to goody for the remaster and for sharing the tracks at Dime.

This is a new remaster (uploaded June 10, 2019) based upon a set that’s been circulating for years, last seen here as of 2017 or so courtesy of, I think, DeathGlider (who’ll definitely be picking up this update, I see…) I got it back in ‘05, courtesy of ‘crmass’ at that time (thanks!).

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I would like to sincerely thank VLS so much for this excellent compilation, and all others along the way for these sources – until now, the best presentation of this great program. Many of the FM tracks needed speed/pitch adjustment and are now in tune. Some tracking here and there has been updated a bit, (meaning a total of only 3 marker moves.) Many of those digital noises mentioned towards the end of disc 2 have been greatly reduced or removed, making it easier now to hear some very low volume off-mic dialog if you listen closely. Hope nobody minds. So… NOW… I do believe to my soul it’s the very best… (goody)

A Vanlose Stairway ProductionVery good FM broadcast/video feed;
Goody Speed/Pitch-adjusted Remaster.

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Personnel:
Mo Foster (bass)
Peter van Hooke (drums)
Dr. John (keyboards, background vocals)
Van Morrison (vocals, piano, harmonica)
Mick Ronson (guitar, background vocals)

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Tracklist:

From FM broadcast:
01. Hallelujah, I Love Her So (Charles) 2.35
02. Nobody’s Fault But Mine (Johnson) 2.14
03. Fever (Cooley/Blackwell) 3.52
04. Foggy Mountain Top (Carter) 5.02
05. I’ll Go Crazy (Brown) 2.57
06. Baby, Please Don’t Go (Williams) 4.18
07. Santa Rosalia (Traditional) 4.15
08. Announcer 0.38
09. Joyous Sound (Morrison) 2.48
10. You Gotta Make It Through The World (Morrison) 3.14
11. I Just Wanna Make Love To You (Dixon) 5:22
12. Shakin’ All Over (Kidd/Robinson) 4.14
13. The Eternal Kansas City (Morrison) 4:53
14. Announcer 0.21
15. Cold Wind In August (Morrison) 5.56

Video feed; mono:
16. Santa Rosalia (Traditional) 4.53
17. Cold Wind In August (Morrison) 6.14
18. Joyous Sound (Morrison) 3:02
19. You Gotta Make It Through The World (Morrison) 3.20
20. I Just Wanna Make Love To You (Dixon) 5.27
21. Shakin’ All Over (Kidd/Robinson) 4.36
22. The Eternal Kansas City (Morrison) 7.18
23. Cold Wind In August (Morrison) 8.00
24. Hallelujah, I Love Her So 3:29
25. Nobody’s Fault But Mine (Johnson) 2.42
26. Fever (Cooley/Blackwell) 4:18
27. Foggy Mountain Top (Carter) 5.45
28. I’ll Go Crazy (Brown) 3.17
29. Baby, Please Don’t Go (Williams) 5.05

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Van Morrison, Lonnie Donegan & Chris Barber – The Skiffle Sessions – Live In Belfast (2000)

FrontCover1The Skiffle Sessions – Live In Belfast 1998 is a live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, with Lonnie Donegan and Chris Barber, released in 2000 (see 2000 in music). Lonnie Donegan had played with the Chris Barber Jazz Band when he had his first hit with “Rock Island Line”/”John Henry” in 1955. He had been a childhood influence on Van Morrison, who had first performed in his own skiffle band with schoolmates when he was twelve years old in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This was Donegan’s first album in twenty years, reviving his career until his death in 2002.

Recorded on 20 and 21 November 1998 at Whitla Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 1977, Morrison had discussed recording an album of skiffle music with Dr. John, “because I started off in a skiffle group and there must be millions of other musicians who also began their careers playing that kind of music…” In preparation for this recording, he went to see Donegan perform and invited him to dinner and after a second meeting they arranged to record the sessions live. Dr. John, who was playing in concert in the city’s Ulster Hall the same evening, arrived toward the end of the recording to play piano on the final few tracks. (by wikipedia)

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Van Morrison probably chose to give a pair of skiffle concerts in November, 1998 not because he was nostalgic, but because he has genuine love for this music. At least, that’s the impression The Skiffle Sessions gives. It’s a cheerfully old-fashioned yet curiously fresh album. By skipping “Rock Island Line,” the style’s best-known tune, and emphasizing the music’s foundation in American folk, blues, and jazz, they wind up revitalizing skiffle while paying homage to it. Yes, this may be corny at times, yet it’s a clever, diverse record. They delve into blues, letting Barber have a Dixieland trombone solo on “Frankie and Johnny,” invite Dr. John to play some New Orleans on “Goin’ Home” and “Good Morning Blues,” haul out Jimmie Rodgers’ “Muleskinner Blues” and Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene,” paying tribute to both country and folk. Only “Don’t You Rock Me Daddio” fits the clichés of skiffle, and here it’s only one side of a rich, generous collection of roots music.

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Some might say that this multifaceted approach to skiffle is revisionism, but it isn’t; skiffle itself was a hybrid, drawing from all sorts of American roots music but given an endearing twist by idealist British musicians, who loved the American myth as much as the music. The Skiffle Sessions captures this love of myth and music, while being a hell of a good listen. Morrison’s career has been idiosyncratic and unpredictable, but nothing has been quite as surprising as this. Really, there’s no reason why a skiffle album released in 2000 should be as irresistible as this, but Morrison, Donegan, and Barber bring such heart and love to this music that it’s hard not to be charmed. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Chris Barber (vocals, trombone, bass)
Lonnie Donegan (vocals, guitar)
Paul Henry (guitar)
Chris Hunt (bass)
Van Morrison (vocals, guitar)
Nick Payne (harmonica, saxophone, background vocals)
Nicky Scott (bass)
Big Jim Sullivan (guitar)
Alan “Sticky” Wicket (washboard, percussion)
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Dr. John – piano on 03. + 04.)

Promo EP

Promo EP

Tracklist:
01. It Takes A Worried Man (Traditional) 3.40
02. Lost John (Traditional) 3.33
03. Goin’ Home (Dvořák) 3.08
04. Good Morning Blues (Leadbelly/Lomax) 2.52
05. Outskirts Of Town (Razaf/Waller) 4.20
06. Don’t You Rock Me Daddy-O (Traditional) 1.51
07. Alabamy Bound (DeSylva/Green/Henderson) 2.22
08. Midnight Special (Traditional) 2.53
09. Dead Or Alive (Guthrie) 2.33
10. Frankie And Johnny (Traditional) 4.31
11. Goodnight Irene (Leadbelly/Lomax) 2.46
12. Railroad Bill (Traditional) 1.57
13. Muleskinner Blues (Rodgers/Vaughn) 3.06
14. The Ballad Of Jesse James (Traditional) 3.07
15. I Wanna Go Home (Traditional) 3.46

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Van Morrison – Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart (1983)

LPFrontCover1.jpgInarticulate Speech of the Heart is the fourteenth studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1983. Morrison said he arrived at the title from a Shavian saying: “that idea of communicating with as little articulation as possible, at the same time being emotionally articulate”. As his last album for Warner Bros. Records, he decided to do an album of mostly instrumentals. As he explained in 1984, “Sometimes when I’m playing something, I’m just sort of humming along with it, and that’s got a different vibration than an actual song. So the instrumentals just come from trying to get that form of expression, which is not the same as writing a song.” Although not expanded upon, of note is that a special thanks is given to L. Ron Hubbard in the liner notes. The reissued and remastered version of the album contains alternative takes of “Cry for Home” and “Inarticulate Speech of the Heart No. 2”.

The recording sessions took place in California, Dublin, and a series of marathon sessions at the Town House in London. Morrison played piano, guitar and saxophone on these sessions. Two Irish musicians played on the album (Arty McGlynn and Davy Spillane) and overall the music had a strong Celtic colouring. Four of the songs were instrumentals. (by wikipedia)

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Almost a forgotten album, Inarticulate Speech of the Heart takes listeners to the deepest, most inward areas of Van Morrison’s renegade Irish soul, the culmination of his spiritual jazz period and also — perhaps not coincidentally — the last record he made for Warner Bros. Four of the 11 tracks are moody instrumentals, which might partly explain the indifference of many rock critics toward the album, although the album’s very title gives a clue to their presence. The mood is predominantly mellow but never flaccid or complacent; there is a radiance that glows throughout. “Higher Than the World” is simply one of the most beautiful recordings Morrison ever made, with Mark Isham’s choir-like synthesizer laying down the lovely backdrop. The instrumental “Connswater” is the most Irish-flavored piece that Morrison had made up to that point, and would continue to be until he recorded with the Chieftains in 1988. “Rave on, John Donne” — in part a recitation invoking a roster of writers over a supple two-chord vamp — seems to have had the longest afterlife, reappearing in Morrison’s live shows and greatest-hits compilations. “The Street Only Knew Your Name” is the only piece that could be classified as a rocker, tempered even here by the synthesizer overlays. The record sold poorly, but many of those who bought it consider it one of the most cherished items in their Van Morrison collections. (by Richard S. Ginell)

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Personnel:
John Allair (keyboards)
Tom Donlinger (percussion, drums, percussion)
Pee Wee Ellis (saxophone, flute)
David Hayes (bass)
Peter van Hooke (drums, tambourine)
Mark Isham (synthesizer, trumpet)
Arty McGlynn (guitar)
Chris Michie (guitar)
Van Morrison (guitar, piano, saxophone, vocals)
Davy Spillane (uilleann pipes, flute)
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background vocals:
Annie Stocking –Bianca Thornton – Mihr Un Nisa Douglass – Stephanie Douglass – Pauline Lozana

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Tracklist:
01. Higher Than The World 3.39
02. Connswater 4.08
03. River Of Time 3.00
04. Celtic Swing 5.03
05. Rave On, John Donne 5.15
06. Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart No. 1 4.52
07. Irish Heartbeat 4.38
08. The Street Only Knew Your Name 3.36
09. Cry For Home 3.42
10. Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart No. 2 3.53
11. September Night 5.14

All songs written by Van Morrison

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Van Morrison – Blowing Your Mind (1967)

FrontCover1.jpgBlowin’ Your Mind! is the debut album by Northern Irish musician Van Morrison, released in 1967. It was recorded 28–29 March 1967 and contained his first solo pop hit “Brown Eyed Girl”. It was included by Rolling Stone as one of the 40 Essential Albums of 1967.

Morrison does not regard this record as a true album, as Bert Berns compiled and released it without his consent. A few months previously, Morrison had carelessly signed a contract that he had not fully studied and it stipulated that he would surrender virtually all control of the material he would record with Bang Records. The songs were recorded in March 1967 and had been intended to be released on four separate singles. The album jacket became notorious as a model of bad taste. It featured a strange swirl of circling brown vines (and drug connotation) surrounding a sweaty looking Morrison. Greil Marcus described it as a “monstrously offensive, super psychedelic far out out-of-sight exploding” design. Morrison’s then-wife, Janet Planet, said “He never has been, never will be anything approaching a psychedelic user – wants VanMorrsion01nothing to do with it, wants nothing to do with any drug of any kind”. As the singer recalls, “I got a call saying it was an album coming out and this is the cover. And I saw the cover and I almost threw up, you know.” Later, after Berns’ death, Morrison would express his displeasure on a couple of “nonsense songs” he included on the contractual obligation recording session. One was entitled “Blow in Your Nose,” and another was titled “Nose in Your Blow.”

Of the eight songs on the album, all were composed by Morrison except “Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)” and the last song, “Midnight Special”. Clinton Heylin contends that the first side of the album “makes for one of the great single-sided albums in rock”, whereas Greil Marcus, the album’s most hostile critic, found it “painfully boring, made up of three sweet minutes of ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ and… the sprawling, sensation-dulling ‘T.B. Sheets'”.[8] “He Ain’t Give You None” is an urban tale of “lust, jealousy and sexual disgust.” It references Notting Hill Gate and Curzon Street in London, England, places Morrison would have been familiar with when he lived there during his earlier touring days. It contains the words, “You can leave now if you don’t like what is happening.” Brian Hinton compares “the delighted contempt of the singer, the song’s graveyard pace, the stately organ and stinging guitar” to the Highway 61 period of Bob Dylan.

Entertainment Weekly gave it a B-rating, noting that it “displays the pitfalls of late-’60s blues rock: meandering solos, hippie sentiments, and the occasional fuzz-tone guitar. But BertBernsin the hand of Van the Man, those vices are virtues, and what could have been tedious is often hypnotic.” (by wikipedia)

Although Van Morrison’s first solo album is remembered for containing the immortal pop hit “Brown Eyed Girl,” Blowin’ Your Mind! is actually a dry run for his masterpiece, Astral Weeks. Songs like “Who Drove the Red Sports Car” look to that song cycle, even as “Midnight Special” nods to Morrison’s R&B past. But it’s the agonizing “T.B. Sheets” — all nine-plus minutes of it — that dominates this record and belies its trendy title and pop association. “T.B. Sheets” takes the blues and reinvents it as noble tragedy and humiliating mortality. It’s where Van Morrison emerges as an artist. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Gary Chester (drums)
Eric Gale (bass)
Al Gorgoni (guitar)
Paul Griffin (keyboards)
Hugh McCracken (guitar)
Van Morrison (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
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unknown female background singers

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Tracklist:
01. Brown Eyed Girl (Morrison) 3.0
02. He Ain’t Give You None (Morrison) 5.14
03. T.B. Sheets (Morrison) 9.45
04. Spanish Rose (Morrison) 3.08
05. Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye) (Farrell/Russell) 2.59
06. Ro Ro Rosey (Morrison) 3,03
07. Who Drove The Red Sports Car? (Morrison) 5.34
08- Midnight Special (Traditional) 2.51
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09. Spanish Rose (alternate take) (Morrison) 3.38
10. Ro Ro Rosey  (alternate take) (Morrison) 3.08
11. Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye) (alternate take) (Farrell/Russell) 2.40
12. Who Drove The Red Sports Car?  (alternate take) (Morrison) 3.49
13. Midnight Special  (alternate take) (Traditional) 2.46

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Van Morrison – It’s Too Late To Stop Now (1973)

FrontCover1It’s Too Late to Stop Now is a 1974 live double album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It features performances that were recorded in concerts at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, California; the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and the Rainbow in London, during Morrison’s three-month tour with his eleven-piece band, the Caledonia Soul Orchestra, from May to July 1973. Frequently named as one of the best live albums ever, It’s Too Late to Stop Now was recorded during what has often been said to be the singer’s greatest phase as a live performer.It’s Too Late to Stop Now is a 1974 live double album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It features performances that were recorded in concerts at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, California; the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and the Rainbow in London, during Morrison’s three-month tour with his eleven-piece band, the Caledonia Soul Orchestra, from May to July 1973. Frequently named as one of the best live albums ever, It’s Too Late to Stop Now was recorded during what has often been said to be the singer’s greatest phase as a live performer.

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Noted for being a mercurial and temperamental live performer, during this short period of time in 1973, Morrison went on one of his most diligent tours in years. With his eleven-piece band, The Caledonia Soul Orchestra, which included a horn and string section, he has often been said to have been at his live performing peak.

Morrison said about touring during this period:
I am getting more into performing. It’s incredible. When I played Carnegie Hall in the fall something just happened. All of a sudden I felt like ‘you’re back into performing’ and it just happened like that…A lot of times in the past I’ve done gigs and it was rough to get through them. But now the combination seems to be right and it’s been clicking a lot.[9]
It’s like watching a tiger. The tiger isn’t thinking about where he’s going to put his paws or how he’s going to kill… and [it’s the] same thing with Van. He’s just so there that you’re completely drawn to it.“”-Jim Rothernel

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Evidence of his newly invigorated joy in performing was on display during the ending of the over-ten-minute-long dynamic performance of “Cyprus Avenue”. When an audience member shouts out, “Turn it on!”, Morrison good-naturedly replies, “It’s turned on already.” At the very end he finished the concert with a final heartfelt, “It’s too late to stop now!” giving the album its title (this line first appeared on the song “Into the Mystic”).
The concert performances were described by Erik Hage as “sequences of a young soul lion whipping the crowd into a frenzy and then stopping on a dime—teasing out anticipation, rushing, receding, and coaxing every drop out of his band.”

Guitarist John Platania says “He had a funeral for a lot of his old songs on stage. With Caledonia, he really got off on performing. There was definitely joy getting onstage at that point. That was a wonderful time for everybody. It was really like a family. Ordinarily, with rock ‘n’ rollers, jazzers and classical musicians in the band, you’d think it was a three-headed serpent but everybody got along famously.”

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The performances on the live album were from tapes made at the beginning of the tour in Los Angeles and also in Santa Monica and London. Marco Bario, who attended the opening night concert at The Troubadour, said in Playgirl: “he was exceptional. The mood was right, the audience was receptive, and the music left no comparisons to be made. It was the finest opening night performance by a consummate musician that I have ever witnessed.”A large cream-coloured and tiled building stands at the intersection of two roads. Dark grey clouds dominate an overcast sky. Two flags are flying from the fascia of the building, which is covered mostly by a large advertising hoarding.The Rainbow Theatre in London
The London concerts were the first time he had appeared in that city since performing with Them, six years earlier. The two concerts at the Rainbow Theatre in London were referred to as “the rock event of the year” by critics according to Ritchie Yorke in his biography. The 24 July 1973 London Rainbow concert was the first BBC simulcast broadcast simultaneously on BBC 2 television and Radio 2 stereo so that viewers with strategically sited loudspeakers could enjoy “stereo TV”. The broadcast took place on 27 May 1974.

VanMorrison03A mixture of songs that inspired his own musical development, together with some of his own compositions, allied to a backing band and orchestra (The Caledonia Soul Orchestra) and several performances (as noted in the album’s liner notes) that were recorded in concerts at The Troubadour in Los Angeles, California (24–27 May 1973), the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (29 June 1973) and The Rainbow (23–24 July 1973) in London.

These performance result in what Myles Palmer of the Times reviewed as demolishing “all barriers between the soul, blues, jazz and rock genres”. The songs chosen went back to his days with Them with versions of “Gloria” and “Here Comes the Night”. His first solo hit “Brown Eyed Girl” was performed but not included on the album until the reissue in 2008. M. Mark called the album “an intelligent selection of songs that draws on six of Morrison’s records and five of the musicians he learned from.” These musicians were Bobby Bland, (“Ain’t Nothing You Can Do”), Ray Charles, (“I Believe to My Soul”), Sam Cooke (“Bring It On Home to Me”), two songs by Sonny Boy Williamson II (“Help Me” and “Take Your Hands Out of My Pocket”) and a cover of a Willie Dixon song, “I Just Want to Make Love to You” that was popularized by Muddy Waters.

Unlike most live rock albums, there was no studio overdubbing allowed by Morrison, which resulted in the exclusion of “Moondance” from the album due to one wrong guitar note. Morrison strictly adhered to his concept of authenticity in presenting the live performance but his musical perfectionism prevented him from including “Moondance”.[15] “It’s common practice to go back and fix things, but not with Van,” bass player David Hayes said, “I think that’s what makes it one of the best ever.” It is thought to be one of the first live albums with no overdubs and the first live album to have string players.

Fellow biographer Johnny Rogan said that “Morrison was in the midst of what was arguably his greatest phase as a performer.”

It’s Too Late to Stop Now has been on lists of greatest live albums of all time. (by wikipedia)

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Named for the mighty Belfast singer’s exhortation at the close of his song, Into The Mystic, It’s Too Late…is oft-referred to as one of the greatest live albums ever recorded. Included in the first batch of remasters of the ‘Man”s back catalogue, now’s your chance to argue the toss again.

When Morrison hit the road in the Summer of 1973 -ITLTSN collects material from gigs in LA, Santa Monic and London – he’d not only notched up a run of six absolutely flawless collections of what would probably now be referred to as ‘soul jazz’, but he’d also assembled a team of players that were the equal of his own perfectionism. Such was this perfectionism that the original running order was shorn of his most widely-known tune, Moondance, due to one bum guitar note. In other words this is one of the few live albums you’ll ever hear with NO overdubs.

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When you hear ITLTSN you realise why this had to be the case: Morrison’s blend of his own classics along with a fair smattering of tracks that influenced him is delivered with such passion, and belief that any studio tinkering would be like throwing a tin of paint over the Mona Lisa. In a live setting all the hyperbole about Morrison’s blend of genres into one Celtic, mystic vision makes perfect sense. This is soul music in a very real sense.

It was also a sign of how Van had matured that he can deliver classics like Ray Charles’ I Believe To My Soul or Sonny Boy Williamson’s Help Me and make them his own. Not only this he improves on his own compositions. Cypress Avenue, complete with the strings of the Caledonian Soul orchestra may even be better than the original on Astral Weeks. Quite a feat. And just listen to how playful Morrison is on the improvised breaks (”You say in France!”): grunting, wailing, going beyond mere words in his striving to convey the heart of this music. This is a master live performer at work. And enjoying it.

With just one bonus track (a version of Brown Eyed Girl) this polished edition gives you the chance to hear one of the best bands and their genius of a singer deliver the goods one more time, 35 years on. It’s never too late… (Chris Jones, BBC, 2008)

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Personnel:
Teressa Adams (cello)
Bill Atwood (trumpet, background vocals)
Nancy Ellis (viola)
Tom Halpin (vocals)
David Hayes (bass, background vocals)
Tim Kovatch (violin)
Jef Labes (keyboards)
Van Morrison (vocals)
John Platania (guitar, background vocals)
Nathan Rubin (violin)
Dahaud Shaar (David Shaw) (drums, background vocals)
Jack Schroer (saxophone, tambourine, background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Ain’t Nothin’ You Can Do (MaloneScott) 3.48
02. Warm Love (Morrison) 3.05
03. Into The Mystic (Morrison) 4.31
04. These Dreams Of You (Morrison) 3.37
05. I Believe To My Soul (Charles) 4.09
06. I’ve Been Working (Morrison) 3.55
07. Help Me (Williamson/Bass/Dixon) 3.25
08. Wild Children (Morrison) 5.04
09. Domino (Morrison) 4.48
10. I Just Want To Make Love To You (Dixon) 5.16
11. Bring It On Home To Me (Cooke)4.43
12. Saint Dominic’s Preview (Morrison) 6.18
13. Take Your Hand Out Of My Pocket (Williamson) 4.05
14. Listen To The Lion (Morrison) 8.44
15. Here Comes The Night (Berns) 3.14
16. Gloria (Morrison) 4.15
17. Caravan (Morrison) 9.21
18. Cyprus Avenue (Morrison) 10.28
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19. Brown Eyed Girl (Morrison) 3.26

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Van Morrison – Enlightenment (1990)

frontcover1Enlightenment is the twentieth studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released in 1990 (see 1990 in music) and reached #5 in the UK charts and “Real Real Gone” charted at #18 in Mainstream Rock Tracks.

The June 2008 re-issued and re-mastered version of the album contains alternative takes of “Enlightenment” and “So Quiet in Here”.”Start All Over Again” from this album was listed as one of the standout tracks from the six album reissue.

The album was recorded in London, England, and Real World in Box. The arrangements were by Fiachra Trench and Micheal O’Suilleabhain played piano with a brass section made up of British jazz musicians from the late sixties: Frank Ricotti, Henry Lowther and Malcolm Griffiths. One of the songs “So Quiet in Here” was recorded at the Kirk, Rode, Somerset, a setting which served as both church or studio.

Contrary to the meaning of the title, the theme of the album is actually full of doubt and the songs seem to be saying that everything is what you make of it — heaven or hell. The song “Enlightenment” contains the words: “I’m in the here and now and I’m meditating/ And still I’m suffering but that’s my problem/ Enlightenment, don’t know what it is”. “So Quiet in Here” is a continuation of the song “Into the Mystic” from the Moondance album. The single released from the album, “Real Real Gone”, was originally written and meant for the 1980 album Common One.[9] The song “In the Days Before Rock ‘N’ Roll” was a collaboration between Morrison and the Irish poet Paul Durcan. (by wikipedia9

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Throughout Van Morrison’s long career, his hit records have usually been followed by more obscure ones, so it should come as no surprise that 1990’s Enlightenment was more subtle than its hit predecessor, Avalon Sunset. The intention of Enlightenment is marked by its first two songs, the scorching Celtic rhythm & blues of the opener, “Real Real Gone,” and the pained spiritual yearning of the title track, a midtempo ballad drenched in nylon-string guitars, atmospheric synths, a gorgeous melody, and a tough Wurlitzer piano. The first tune, with its raucous horns, B-3, and crackling hi-hat and snare work, comes from the shouting R&B singer we’ve known since Moondance. It’s addressed to a nameless other, with a call-and-response horn section answering his every line like it was the gospel truth. The slippery bridge-like lines at the ends of the verses and his invocation of truths from the gods of soul — “And Sam Cooke is on the radio and the night is filled with space/Wilson Pickett said ‘In the Midnight Hour’/That’s when my love comes tumblin’ down/Solomon Burke said, ‘If you need me, why don’t you call me’/James Brown said, ‘When you’re tired of what you got, try me’/ Gene Chandler said, ‘There’s a rainbow in my soul'” — suggest he’s almost found the truth in these moments from his past, a past that haunts him and whose secrets pour from his mouth when he sings, though they elude him. We can add to these, “Van Morrison said, ‘Real, real gone/I can’t stand up by myself/Don’t you know I need your help/I’m real real gone.'” This is only underscored in “Enlightenment,” where these koans mix with those of the Buddhist masters. Some of them come literally from Zen, others from the pit of the protagonist’s life: “I’m in the here and now/And I’m meditating/I’m still suffering/But that’s my problem…wake up.” The rest of the album becomes a suite, with these themes underscored everywhere through an ethereal blend of sonic atmospheres and carefully crafted melodies that seem to come from the oblique shadow of the soul as it wanders, discovers, and sheds its trappings, still seeking. There’s the folksy Irish folk-pop of “So Quiet in Here” and the dramatic yet elegiac regality of “Avalon of the Heart,” where the ghosts of Keats, Shelley, and Yeats all meet to confer and wail. These songs are kissed further down the road by the contemplative jazz in “See Me Through,” a sung prayer that is partially obscured by its chant-like melody. Morrison also does his trademark evocation of memory in the sprightly gospel of “Youth of 1,000 Summers.” Jazz returns in the Friday night strut of “Start All Over Again,” where sadness and hope mix inextricably. “She’s My Baby,” with its nylon-string guitars and taut snares, is breezy Celtic soul at its best, expressing an adult lovesickness in song. Enlightenment, like Avalon Sunset, marks one of Morrison’s best productions, if not albums. Its sound is warm, enveloping, and humid. If the songs seem to bleed together a bit, that’s on purpose; it’s meant to be taken as a whole. It’s an overlooked gem. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Dave Bishop (saxophone)
Dave Early (drums)
Georgie Fame (keyboards, background vocals)
Alex Gifford (synthesizers piano)
Steve Gregory (saxophone, flute)
Malcolm Griffiths (trombone)
Van Morrison (vocals, guitar, harmonica)
Steve Pearce (bass)
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The Ambrosian Singers (choir, with John McCarthy as choirmaster on 04.)
Paul Durcan (spoken word on 07.)
Bernie Holland (guitar on 02., 06. + 09.)
Henry Lowther (trumpet on 06., 08. + 09.)
Brian Odgers (bass on 02. + 09.)
Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin (piano on 03.)
Frank Ricotti (vibraphone on 08.)
Steve Sanger (drums on 04+ + 10.)
Steve Waterman (flugelhorn on 06., 08. + 09.)

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Tracklist:
01. Real Real Gone (Morrison) 3.43
02. Enlightenment (Morrison) 4.04
03. So Quiet In Here (Morrison) 6.09
04. Avalon Of The Heart (Morrison) 4.45
05. See Me Through (Morrison)  6.13
06. Youth Of 1,000 Summers (Morrison) 3.45
07. In The Days Before Rock ‘N’ Roll (Durcan/Morrison) 8.13
08. Start All Over Again (Morrison) 4.10
09. She’s My Baby (Morrison) 5.14
10. Memories (Morrison) 4.14

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