Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Belfast Cowboy

Here I am sharing music again. This time we have Van the Man - Van Morrison. I'm not going to attempt to write a bio or review his entire body of work. Instead, I am just going to post links to some of my favorite Van tunes, if YouTube has a decent version. I do forget just how long he has been around, however. To see that, here we have Van as the lead singer of Them performing Mystic Eyes and then Gloria - garage rock song bar none. 1964 and wow does he look young. I'd forgotten he ever was like this:

Mystic Eyes - Gloria

Old school. Next up we have two of my favorite songs, period. Like it was for many, the effect of Into the Mystic was immediate. I still just don't comprehend how he gets this feel from the music. I've strummed the chords and they don't produce the feeling he captured here. This link is someone else showing shots of sea life with Into the Mystic in the background.

Into the Mystic

Next up is Angelou. What to say about this one. The llama and I roomed together for a year or so in 97 or something like that. For people who know the llama in person, they know that he is an admirer of Prince's music. He and I used to have endless discussions about connections between Prince and Van. One of the connections is that both like to explore connections between earthly love and spiritual love. For many Prince tunes, you think he is singing about sex, but he's actually (or also) talking about God. For Van, it's not so directly sexual, but instead focuses on the romantic relationship and mines it for spiritual qualities. Here in Angeliou, Van sings of meeting someone in Paris that he feels an instant and deeply soulful connection to. The real meat starts around 2:50. He hears Angelou's story (a story of feeling really) and is so moved that he can only burst out with "Will you be my baby?" Around 5:00 or so, Van says he's gonna tell his story only his story ain't got no words, and he can only moan it. It's the same story, I think. (The video quality here is quite poor.)


In a similar vein but with a much faster tempo we have Cleaning Windows from the early 80s, I believe. This one tells of a Van living his life cleaning windows, blowing saxophone on the weekend in a down joint, and reading Kerouac and Christmas Humphries. Along with Leadbelly, Blind Lemon, Muddy Waters, and Hank Williams. It can come off as a list, but again its the juxtaposition of these things which make them interesting. Reading Humphries' take on Buddhism is part of a spiritual search, but so is Hank Williams and window cleaning.


Next up we have Days Like This from the mid 90s. Each decade or so he puts out a live album and his A Night in San Francisco is in top form. I can recommend it. This is the rough band, but they do nail it more consistently on the album than in this video. Still good though.

Days Like This

Van and John Lee Hooker have worked together periodically since the 70s when they did a duet on a Hooker album. Their I Cover the Waterfront from one of Hooker's last albums is brilliant. You can't really hear John Lee well here, but I like seeing the interplay between the two. Hooker passed away a year or two back.

Don't Look Back

Here's a concert performance of In the Garden. I'll just give some words:

"No guru, no method, no teacher
just you and I in nature
and the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost
in the garden all misty wet with rain."

In the Garden

And just for the fun of it. Here's a video of Van and John Lee going back in time and re-doing Gloria. I think this is from the 1990 Too Long in Exile LP.

Gloria 2


bunnygirl said...

Paca, you're being dissed again:

Llamas have been invited to the Rose Parade!

However, I notice the parade lists them among the equestrians.

Truly shocking.

pacatrue said...

Them's fightin words.