Van Morrison

TrackAlbum
And It Stoned MeMoondance
Beautiful VisionBeautiful Vision
Caravan (live)The Last Waltz
Cyprus AvenueAstral Weeks
Days Like ThisDays Like This
It Once Was My LifeThe Healing Game
Madame GeorgeAstral Weeks
Raglan RoadIrish Heartbeat
Tupelo Honey /
Why Must I Explain?
Tupelo Honey /
Hymns to The Silence
Wonderful RemarkThe King Of Comedy OST

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Contributor: Peter Viney

The live version of Caravan was performed with The Band at The Last Waltz concert in 1976, the original recording is on Moondance; Raglan Road is from the Irish Heartbeat album by Van Morrison and The Chieftains; Tupelo Honey/Why Must I Explain? is a bootlegged live medley and the songs originally appeared on the two albums listed above; Wonderful Remark is also available on The Best of Van Morrison (1990).

It¹s odd how few of these ten Van Morrison plays live.

Peter Viney’s article on Van Morrison & The Band

Review of 17 July 2013 Van Morrison concert

Reviews of around a dozen Van Morrison concerts, mostly for Wavelength magazine

Van Morrison official website

Van Morrison biography (iTunes)

TopperPost #24

12 Comments

  1. Colin Duncan
    Jul 21, 2013

    It’s a good list and I play all tracks regularly, apart from ‘Raglan Road’ which I know, but don’t have and ‘Wonderful Remark’, which I don’t know.

    But, two songs that would be on my list would be ‘Have I told You Lately?’ from Avalon Sunset. I think this is a great song and have noticed the reaction this song stimulates in others when I hear it played. And also ‘Moondance’ from Moondance. I think this song is great and always seems so fresh to me.

  2. Merric Davidson
    Jul 21, 2013

    Haven’t heard too much of recent years Van so my alternative top ten comes from 1970-90. Two from Saint Dominic’s Preview – Listen To The Lion and Gypsy; the magnificent Rave On John Donne (Inarticulate Speech of the Heart); the nostalgic Got To Go Back and the epic In The Garden (both from No Guru, No Method, No Teacher); Queen Of The Slipstream (Poetic Champions Compose); Domino (His Band And The Street Choir); my two favourites on the essential Irish Heartbeat – Star Of The County Down and the deathbed tearjerker, Carrickfergus; and finally, one that would make it into an all-artist top thirty, a song you just can’t get tired of hearing, and that’s Coney Island (Avalon Sunset). How many’s that? Ten. There you are. Also, I would have had And It Stoned Me from Peter’s list too, a major triumph on Moondance!

  3. Peter Viney
    Jul 21, 2013

    Van did both Got To Go Back and In The Garden this week, and on many live shows, In The Garden has been the outstanding song of the evening. Though this week it was Sometimes We Cry, duetting with his daughter, Shana. Another live highlight, when he does it, is a long version of Haunts of Ancient Peace from Common One. I limited myself to just one from Beautiful Vision, though the album was a surprise first in a survey a few years ago. Cleaning Windows, Dweller on The Threshold, Vanlose Stairway … every track is great on that album.

    Wonderful Remark was produced by Robbie Robertson who also plays guitar.

    My Van Morrison iTunes playlist is now up to 141 titles. End of The Land is the one I’ve been playing the last few days.

  4. Jon Lyness
    Aug 1, 2013

    Peter, slightly off-topic but here’s a beautiful version of Madame George sung by the late Phoebe Snow, off an obscure late 90s album of hers. Wonder if you’ve heard this one?
    Phoebe Snow sings Madame George

  5. Peter Viney
    Aug 2, 2013

    Thanks. Phoebe Snow’s Madame George was new to me and beautifully articulated. Van Morrison joins The Beatles, The Band and Bob Dylan on my iTunes Playlists in having a separate playlist for cover versions. It’ll be downloaded and join in. If you’re into covers of Madame George, try Marianne Faithfull’s version. It’s not as “perfectly sung” as Phoebe Snow, but it really gets into the mood of the song. I love her semi-spoken bits.

    Madame George by Marianne Faithfull

    There are three (at least) cover CDs. Vanthology is an album of soul covers, with one backing band throughout, so a concept not a compilation. It includes Little Milton (Tupelo Honey), William Bell (Have I Told You Lately), Bettye Lavette (Real Real Gone), Dan Penn (Bright Side Of The Road), Frederick Knight (Into The Mystic), Eddie Floyd (Crazy Love) and Chuck Jackson (Moondance).

    The Van Morrison Songbook is a compilation of existing tracks selected from albums. Part of the Connoisseur Collection series in 1997.

    No Prima Donna in 1994 is different, as it’s an album of covers all produced by Van Morrison. So it’s a Van album with other people taking lead vocals. Sinead O’Connor (You Make Me Feel So Free), Liam Neeson (spoken narration of Coney Island), Hothouse Flowers (Bright Side Of The Road), Brian Kennedy (Queen Of The Slipstream) maintain the Irish feel. Elvis Costello’s unaccompanied Full Force Gale joins Marianne Faithfull’s Madame George as the highlights.

    OK, some Van Morrison covers:

    Brown Eyed Girl
    Buster Poindexter (Scrooged OST 1988)
    This is so faithful in feel, that I’d guess that Van declined permission for the OST, so they covered it. The vocal isn’t as good, but the backing is first rate.

    Crazy Love
    Aaron Neville & Robbie Robertson (on the Phenomenon OST album.)

    Full Force Gale
    Elvis Costello + chorus, no instrumental track (from No Prima Donna)

    Gloria
    Shadows Of The Knight 1967 classic garage band single

    I Wanna Roo You
    Rumer – on her I Wanna Roo You (EP)

    Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven)
    Dexys Midnight Runners’ hit single (on Too-Rye-Ay 1982)

    Madame George
    Marianne Faithfull (on No Prima Donna, 1994)

    Sometimes We Cry
    Shana Morrison (on 7 Wishes in 2002, Van Morrison on backing vocal, harmonica)

    Sweet Thing
    The Waterboys (on Fisherman’s Blues 1988)

    Tupelo Honey
    Dusty Springfield, a fascinating version, because Dusty did this when it was new and includes the original verse that Van dropped (I heard a tale of Old Manhattan …). The backing chorus and horns are sublime. (on Cameo 1973, also on The Van Morrison Songbook 1997). I’d choose this over Little Milton’s cover, but only just.

  6. Kasper Nijsen
    Nov 7, 2013

    Good choices, including a few songs I don’t know too well. If I’m being really honest to my responses while listening to his records though, my top 10 would simply include the whole of Astral weeks, plus And It Stoned Me and Into the Mystic.

  7. Peter Viney
    Dec 4, 2013

    Moondance has been reissued recently in a remastered version. I only went for the 2 CD set, not the 5 CD box set behemoth, but the sound improvement is marked, and the selected outtakes CD fascinating. You can hear the difference in sound on my B&W computer speakers, let alone on a hifi.

    I particularly like “Caravan (Take 4)” which is looser and wilder than the chosen version, and someone must have told Van that “So I can fu… fuc… feel you” was not going to get radio play. The bass playing is a dream, and as the liner notes say, Van uses a different “voice” for each of the first five tracks, and that old side one of the LP has five of his best-known and most performed songs in sequence: And It Stoned Me, Moondance, Crazy Love, Caravan, Into The Mystic. That’s an incredible side for any LP, all worthy of any Toppermost, and flip it over, as we did, and you still have Come Running (the single), These Dreams Of You, Brand New Day (consciously emulating The Band), Everyone and Glad Tidings!

  8. Rob Millis
    Dec 7, 2013

    My ten: And It Stoned Me, Caravan, These Dreams of You, Jackie Wilson Said, Brand New Day, Domino, Street Choir, Wild Night, Tupelo Honey, Straight To Your Heart Like A Cannonball. “What? Nothing from Astral Weeks?” No. Don’t like the instrumentation format. There, I said it.

  9. David Lewis
    Dec 30, 2013

    There’s a version of Sometimes We Cry with Tom Jones on one of Tom’s duets albums that is just sublime.

  10. Keith Shackleton
    Jan 7, 2014

    OK, time to commit to a ten.. if I keep on thinking about it, it just keeps changing. So..

    Into The Mystic (Moondance)
    Listen To The Lion (St. Dominic’s Preview)
    Cyprus Avenue (Too Late To Stop Now)
    Bulbs (Veedon Fleece)
    And the Healing Has Begun (Into The Music)
    Summertime in England (Common One)
    Northern Muse [Solid Ground] (Beautiful Vision)
    In The Garden (No Guru, No Method, No Teacher)
    Queen of the Slipstream (Poetic Champions Compose)
    Wonderful Remark (The Philosopher’s Stone)

    But who knows.. ask me in an hour and it might be different. Summertime, Northern Muse and In The Garden live, with Georgie Fame in the band early 90s, were just sublime. I have a bootleg from Montreux 1990 which is my most played Van disc.

  11. Andrew Shields
    Apr 9, 2014

    Great lists, but I would add in all of ‘Veedon Fleece’ – Van’s most under-rated album – here.

    Would also include the versions of ‘Gloria’ and “Bring It on Home’ from Its Too Late To Stop Now – one of the greatest live albums ever made – with the magnificent Caledonia Soul Orchestra…

  12. Peter Viney
    Apr 10, 2014

    The May 2014 “Uncut” has a long article on Veedon Fleece. Van’s long-time bassist David Hayes says “They’re difficult songs and they have a mood that’s hard for him to recapture” explaining that he can only remember one or two being done live. Like “Common One” it’s an album rather than “tracks” and one loved by Van Morrison fans. David Hayes isn’t quite right – I checked my reviews and none are listed, but I only started reviewing Van in the late 90s and saw him a dozen times or more before that. I definitely recall The Streets of Arklow live. I think that like Common One songs, they’re reserved for nights when Van truly “gets into the mystic” and not all his bands can do that. He did it more in the 80s than now. But yes, essential album.

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