Sunday, November 2, 2008

ASTRAL WEEKS



Astral Weeks has long been a favorite, it hit the scene like a bomb for those who were listening back in the 60's. It was so different from anything else when being different was the status quo. What I've enjoyed over the years is not only the overall sound but specifically the backing arrangements, listen to that upright bass throughout; nobody ever used an upright bass! There's a lot of blather going on over on the other side so I thought it worthwhile to post a couple of cuts to settle the arguments, plus I went to the LA Times.com to see what they had to say about the upcoming concerts next week at the Bowl, there's an interesting interview plus a piece about Van and the album. Of interest also is that KCRW, my old stomping ground, will broadcast the Friday concert, I'll record that.
Here's the links for the two articles:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2008/10/van-morrisons-f.html

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-morrison1-2008nov01,0,5283295.story?page=2

8 comments:

CaroleBristol said...

I read the Observer thing, reminded me of how much I love Astral Weeks so we listened it to while we were eating dinner last night.

Wonderful music.

treefrogdemon said...

gf, the Observer article is at

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/nov/02/vanmorrison-popandrock

Unfortunately the gorgeous picture of '68 Van doesn't come with it online...

Proudfoot said...

My roommate at college was into jazz but he also had stuff like Santana and Jeff Beck. so I was prepared to listen (I was a glam/punk/Who/Dylan fan and very young.) I can't describe the 'What-the-****-is-that?' feeling which came over me as he played it on a dark winter afternoon in his bedsit, 13 years after it had been made.It's a cliche to use the word 'timeless' but this is one album it fits. By the time 'Sweet Thing' hit its groove I was reaching for the guitar, groping for the chords. It really struck me as a sound ANYONE could jam along to, on a bass, mandolin, pennywhistle or even a kazoo.
I'm now well acquainted with the way the album was made (basically two, very intense sessions with some of the best jazz musicians around) and the fact that, what they made sound easy and loose, was anything but. Yes, much of it was improvised, but not anyone can do this. Compare the Stones' 'Sing This All Together (See What Happens)' from 'Satanic Majesties' to see what happens when ordinary musicians try this sort of thing.
Nevertheless, that's what I still love about the album. No-one knew what was going to happen. They went along with it. They were improvising (except perhaps Van-the-Man-with-a-Plan) and at the top of their game.
I can't say reproducing the album live sounds like a great idea but maybe George Ivan Morrison still has one or two surprises left in store.

treefrogdemon said...

Hey guys, they've closed comments on the mothership!

SkippyisaCult said...

Not on the Astral Weeks blog, they haven't...

gremlinfc said...

plleeeeeeaaaaassssseeeeeeee tell me how to do this PODBEAN thing - it is driving me MENTAL!!!!!!!

May1366 said...

gremlin - forget Podbean, sign up with Boxstr and then follow the instructions in Darcey's Dad's post here: http://readersrecommend.blogspot.com/2008/10/boxstr.html

goneforeign said...

On the other hand however when you become TOTALLY frustrated trying to figure Boxstr out go to the piece right under Maddy's pic, there's a complete set of instructions there for Podbean.