My first memories of Van the Man are of tracks like Brown Eyed Girl, Domino, Jackie Wilson Said and his Them classics, Gloria and Here Comes The Night, all of which featured in my parents playlists when I was a pre-teen. I remember many late night parties running on high because of these and similar tunes. Oh sure, it kept my siblings and I awake to hear the adults downstairs dancing and partying, but I'm grateful too because I got to hear these awesome, timeless songs.
He has written so many classics, it really is hard to pin down a single definitive track as a favourite. I've always loved And It Stoned Me, for its alt-country styling and that it reminded me of the type of song Bruce Springsteen would love to have written. Then there is the brilliant and beautiful Moondance. Its an absolute classic and definitely a desert island mixed tape track. The awesome horn section in Domino, which is pure Motown via North Ireland, is so good it sends a shiver up my spine just about every time I hear it. Then there is Sweet Thing, which no doubt inspired Irish bands like The Waterboys and probably will continue to for generations to come.
Oh sure, he might have a reputation for being a cranky bastard. But as far as I'm concerned, he has paid his dues and can be as curmudgeonly as he damn well pleases.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
I wish I could say I'd seen His Royal Grumpiness perform live sometime, but I haven't. And this CD is just packed with reasons to brave his famous surly performances, to hear him sing these tunes. Of course being a brown eyed girl myself I love Brown Eyed Girl - but it's a toss up between that and Domino as to my favourite tunes on the album.
But if I haven't seen Van the Man, then I can say I've seen the next best thing. It's not well known outside the Antipodes, but right here in Sydney lives reclusive 80s-and-90s defying-categorisation indie star Louis Tillett. And he does Van to a T. I had the joy of seeing him on stage during a multi-musician tribute night a few years ago, where many in the audience were whispering and nudging to see him in the flesh. it was almost as exciting as if the man himself had fronted for the evening.
What's your favourite Morrison song? I can honestly say I love all of the songs on this album WITH THE EXCEPTION of Have I Told You Lately which makes me throw up in my mouth a little - sorry about that. (YourZ sez: I feel exactly the same way about it, my love)
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
For more information: http://www.vanmorrison.com/ but there's nothing there! Van obviously despises the interwebs...