Van Morrison - Astral Weeks (LP)
I'm going to have a bit of a rant, and I'm going to combine it with the next instalment of 100 Records...
Here's the thing. I am aware that many people, at one time or another, myself included, have said to themselves, "Van Morrison, dude. The guy's a damn genius." I just want to preface my following remarks with that statement, just to make sure we are all aware of Van The Man's status as a bona fide musical master, a registered, card-carrying, luminary of almost mythic proportions.
I work in a shop where mood music is required, and it seems, the mood music mostly consists of either James Taylor, The Eagles, Michael Buble and, you guessed it, Van Morrison. We also had a couple of Boz Scaggs days in there too, but alas, it was not Silk Degrees.
In the 5 weeks I have worked there I think I have heard more Van Morrison than I have ever heard in my life, and I gotta tell ya, I'm all Vanned out. I used to own a copy of Moondance, the LP. I loved that song, and 'Into The Mystic', 'Brown Eyed Girl'... but really, some of his later works are just like listening to the ramblings of a large incoherent drunk at 2am in a bar on the Lower East Side. Vaguely tuneful mumblings interspersed with occasional bluesy-boozy shouts akin to the grunts of a large grizzly that's been shot with a tranquillizer dart and is getting a bit sleepy. He sounds like he just got asked to leave the bar by three bouncers built like brick shithouses and now he's complaining about it to the street, the sky, anyone who'll listen. It's at the point now that I am relieved to hear Snow Patrol or Mickey Bubble. And really, that's saying something.
The point is that # 51 on our countdown is Van's "Astral Weeks", but really, I'm too anti-Van at the moment to care. So here he is, before he got all fat and grunty.