Van in his heyday:
As I mentioned yesterday, I have been listening to lots of 90’s music recently. In the ‘Best of’ playlists I listen to and read Björk features prominently. While she did produce much great music in the 90’s it somehow doesn’t seem to fit with the other tracks. It just sounds so stark and futuristic. It is hard for me to process the fact that Play Dead was recorded before Girls and Boys.
This track is typical of what makes Björk so utterly great. If I was to try and summarise it I might suggest the depth of feeling and emotion along with the magnitude of imagination.
I don’t often find myself drawn to live versions of songs but, for a couple of reasons, I made an exception for this. I love the scale that setting together with the choir and orchestra gives this already epic track.
The Jackson Five* – I want you back
As I mentioned I was in Oxford today for a wedding in beautiful Hertford College. It’s certainly nicer that Hertford, Hertfordshire which I had the dubious pleasure of spending a significant amount time travelling through in a past life.
I wanted to post a positive “wedding” kind of track. It doesn’t get more feel good than this! I don’t normally go for live versions but I couldn’t resist this. How young does Michael Jackson look!?
Old Belle* – Canary Jane
I like this for two reasons. First and foremost, the song is really enjoyable. It has the timeless air (there is something about the banjo that gives any song this quality) of a song that could have just as easily been performed 150 years ago. Secondly, the video was recorded in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, one of my favourite cities in the world.
The two ladies in the video, Tonya (Vocals) and Ashley (Mandolin) are college friends of mine and I have to give up to them for putting themselves out there. You can find out more about Old Belle here. Keep it up guys!
Van Morrison – Rave on John Donne/Rave on part two (live at the Grand Opera House, Belfast)
I could write extensively about Van Morrison and the impact his music has had upon my taste in music and life, but I will try to spare you the tedium. Long story short, I am something of a fan.
The reason for posting this is that my father is fortunate enough to be going to see Van the man play in Belfast on Friday night. I am fairly jealous.
Van is a remarkable live artist, possessing a rare ability to lead a band. Typically I find myself to be underwhelmed by live albums, feeling unsatisfying when comparing them to studio versions. This is why it is so strange that Van has made 3 live albums that beguile me (It’s too late to stop now, Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast and A night in San Francisco). I can only think of a couple of other live albums that I would even bother to give another listen yet I return to these three over and over. And over.
This is taken from Live at the Grand Opera House, Belfast, an LP that takes pride of place in my record collection. It is the best bits of several shows recorded in 1983. This particular song has taken on an almost mythical status in my life. I love the dreamy, meandering opening and then how the song suddenly shifts gears with the intorduction of saxophone (I am a sucker for some horns). From there it builds and builds to a crescendo with Morrison crying, exhorting with a tangible sense of urgency. All the while his band backs him immaculately giving the song a texture that I find irresistible.
Is it real? What you sang about in your song. I said come back baby. Can we talk it over one more time? Tonight…