Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Random Review #53 Van Morrison - Poetic Champions Compose

C4S9CD15 picked by @momminslounge again a fellow Tweeter and #masterpieces contributor and a selection that’s pretty much smack bang in the middle of my general music section.

I have a real love hate relationship with Van Morrison, I have seen him live on a number of occasions and would class a couple of these gigs as some of the best I have seen. His Rhythm and Blues Review Tour featuring Brian Kennedy and James Hunter was amazing and the tour with Ray Charles allowed me to see 2 of my heroes at the same time. Others have been a nightmare, no conversation from the great man I can accept, but telling the band off for not playing as he expects, and on one occasion coming on at the time the support should have so he could finish early and go and play with The Chieftains at another venue are just not on!. So I took the decision a number of years ago to stop going to see Van Morrison live and to some extent I haven’t really missed the experience. I stopped buying Van’s releases after Back On Top and don’t think I have missed much in the material he has released since then, but counting on my ITunes Library I notice I have 27 Van Morrison albums excluding compilations and a tribute album (Ironically Van Morrison was instrumental in the release of the tribute album, and contributed to it, do I hear you shout control freak...) I spend most of last Sunday wandering round Newcastle Quayside in the blistering Sunshine, my day sound tracked by ‘Van The Man’ and loved every moment of it. So as you can see I blow hot and cold with Morrison, for all my frustrations with him as an artist I can’t seem to drag myself away from his music.

This album was released in 1987 at the time when Morrison was cruising in his career bringing out albums of a good standard but nothing that would rival his classics of Astral Weeks or Moondance, and before he hit the single charts with his religious duet Whenever God Shines His Light (from Avalon Sunset) with Cliff Richard.  His ‘assault’ on the charts with Cliff and prior to that his collaboration album with the Chieftains started real resurgence in Morrison’s career but this album was released just before these two aforementioned facts and means this album has been sadly been overlooked somewhat.

The album includes 3 instrumentals and opens and closes with two of these the jazz infused Spanish Steps and Allow Me. Although Morrison writes instrumentals of the highest quality I buy his records to hear his voice so sometimes I feel a bit short changed by this but hey these are beautiful saxophone driven pieces. In Queen of The Slipstream and Did You Get Healed we have a couple of tracks that would be part of Morrison’s live show for some time and they are quality Morrison songs. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child is another song of note on this album but the standout track is Someone Like You, a beautiful love song and I my opinion one of Van Morrison’s best love songs ever. If you have ever watched Bridget Jones’ Diary (and I suspect that most of have whether you will admit to it or not) then you will have heard this song, as Bridget runs out into the snow to find her Beau (played by Colin Firth) this song is playing, I’ll let you make your mind up as to whether you think the lyrics are soppy but hey I suspect that in some point in your life the lyrics will sum up exactly how you feel about someone.

An overlooked Van Morrison masterpiece this isn’t, but a good Van Morrison album worth a listen it is.


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