I used to get angry at those Van Morrison fans who sat so seriously listening to the Man intently searching for some special meaning form the artists every breath, phrasing or honking sax solo. Until I read this interview:
It’s good to know that the man sees his art form as a job. It’s what he does and he is good at it, maybe even great at it. It is the very fabric of him, he listens to singers and sings songs, the band plays the songs they know, nothing special.
I have seen Van Morrison several times, twice he was transcendent, inspiring and on fire, three or four times he sucked, not that he was bad, it was just that he was putting in a shift at the coal face of performing.
The joy of most Van Morrison albums is that you can actually dance to them. Well if you could dance unlike me you could dance to them, what I can manage is a gentle sway, raucous stagger and a flailing ecstatic type movement depending on the song, album or era. Over time I have rocked three of my own children to sleep to Van Morrison and tonight my first Grandchild fell asleep to the rhythmic rocking to Veedon Fleece.
Veedon Fleece is one of those Morrison albums that has been elusive on vinyl, at least it was until Vinyl Me Please re-released it, now you can find many reasonably priced versions in all sorts of places. Of course they are not cool green vinyl and don’t come with a pointless “art print” and a cocktail recipe nobody would ever make. Any Van fan worth their slat knows you should just drink Guinness and Jameson’s when listening to the cantankerous one.
It’s a meandering album of slightly folky songs with that soul voice. It’s the Irish album I guess, although Van has seldom strayed far frondtrackm his Irish roots. Contrary to popular opinion I don’t think it’s really very much like Astral Weeks, it’s quite a conventional album, maybe a little more personal lyrically than others but it’s not ground breaking. What it does have is a uniformity of feel, if your feeling a little homesick, melancholic or lovelorn it’s a perfect soundtrack, or if you need something melodic to rock the baby to sleep.