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Is Astral Weeks uniquely unique?

Discussion in 'music' started by Woodface, Apr 12, 2019.

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  1. Mal45

    Mal45 pfm Member

    Absolutely - all anyone needs to do is play "Dolphins" and "Once I Was" from "Dream Letter - Live In London 1968" to get the connection. "Astonishingly moving and emotionally dynamic" perfectly describes those two Tim Buckley performances also.
     
  2. Charlie_1

    Charlie_1 pfm Member

    Thanks Mai45. I've not had much success with their work to date, but only tried a couple - 'Blue' and one other which escapes me. I've always felt that these modern reissues lack something, no matter who masters and presses them. Some spark of life or essence has been lost, perhaps due to the degredation of the master tapes. They seem less fun to me. However, with Astral Weeks I may have to try again.
     
  3. carruthersesq

    carruthersesq pfm Member

    I’m a huge VM fan and can listen to almost every album he’s put out, having said that AW is surely the pinnacle of his work.
    To put some weight behind that I must say he IMO has at least 10 utterly superb albums and AW still stands at the top of that pile.
     
    alan967tiger and Weekender like this.
  4. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    While we're dicussing Van. 'In the Garden', from 'No Guru..etc..' is surely one of his best. A staggeringly emotional performance.

    And as I type, Veedon Fleece is gracing my Orbe and giving my 17D3 a workout.. as it were.. Took a while to dig out.. but worth the effort.. It might have the sonic edge on AW..a bit more polished and 'hi-fi' as I think someone said upthread.. but it doesn't have quite the same mysterious quality as AW. AW is one of those albums which feels as if you've just been accidentally allowed to glimpse someone's world for a while.. there's no real beginning or end and no 'performance' as such. You just get to eavesdrop and then leave..
     
    Weekender likes this.
  5. Weekender

    Weekender pfm Member

    Heartening to read the central place AW occupies for so many other posters.
    ...later gems for me would be Bright Side of the Road and Cleaning Windows. Coney Island.
     
  6. jackbarron

    jackbarron Chelsea, London

    Astral Weeks is a fantastic album. Van's singing style, his lyrics and the arrangements, sound unlike anything else. Veedon Fleece is the other one I rate.

    Wonder if what John Cale said is true? The band couldn't deal with Van Morrison apparently. So they put him into the studio by himself, to record the album's songs with an acoustic guitar. They overdubbed their entrancing instrumentation afterwards. This claim is made by Lester Bangs in his review of the album.

    A lot of the writing Bangs did is excellent, but I only made it through 2/3rds of his long piece on Astral Weeks ... even with it playing in the background. Overindulgence doesn't necessarily make for great insight and writing.

    Jack
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  7. saturn9

    saturn9 vita umbratilis

    Probably the only album I know where I can honestly say that at one time or another, every track has been my favourite. Not even quite true of VF.
     
  8. gassor

    gassor There may be more posts after this.

    What pisses me off about Van is that he is now content to plough the jazzy side of blues without challenging himself. He goes through the motions at concerts and albums without showing concern that Johnny Cash, Leo Cohen, Bobby Womack and others were prepared to explore new sounds and ways of doing things as they entered the final phase of their lives. Van needs to "get on the train" to new find new situations where he is not in control of everything and has to innovate, not sit back on cruise control.
     
  9. Weekender

    Weekender pfm Member

    Ain't Feelin' It No More...
     
  10. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    On the other hand he's paid his dues & can do what he likes? He is in his 70s
     
    wacko and carruthersesq like this.
  11. Andy1912

    Andy1912 pfm Member

    One of my test LPs if I’m tweaking with my vinyl set up. Fabulous production, and musically very very interesting. I turn the lights down and crack open a good bottle of red...
     
    carruthersesq likes this.
  12. Del monaco

    Del monaco pfm Member

    Thought he was very mannered. His son became the same.
     
  13. david ellwood

    david ellwood Kirabosi Kognoscente

    It’s 20 years since I first worked with van and he’s as miserable now as he’s always been.

    Only artist I’ve met that was more curmudgeonly is Bill Wyman.
     
  14. jackbarron

    jackbarron Chelsea, London

    In what capacity did you work with him?

    Jack
     
  15. david ellwood

    david ellwood Kirabosi Kognoscente

    I worked in theatre for twenty years and was a technical manager, sound engineer, lighting designer, rigger, stage manager, flyman.

    But to answer your question van tours most of what he needs so I would be just supplying the get in crew and checking the install was compliant. Tailing in and routing multis. Operating the in house rigging and stage lifts.
    Giving the lighting guy access to house lights, followspot positions and comms. Opening up catering facilities and dressing rooms. Briefing security, isolating the fire alarm for haze. And probably a few dozen other things to keep the promoter and tour managers happy.
     
  16. jackbarron

    jackbarron Chelsea, London

    That sounds like quite a handful. I assume it had an element of fun as well i.e. you got to see the entertainment.

    Jack
     
  17. david ellwood

    david ellwood Kirabosi Kognoscente

    We had a few regulars like Van, status quo, jools Holland where you got to know them well and had everything ready so it was quite good fun.

    Most of the pro gigs are straightforward because everyone knows what they are doing.

    Corporate and am dram is less so.
     
    Moko likes this.
  18. jackbarron

    jackbarron Chelsea, London

    I can imagine.

    Jack
     

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