Show Post: In House #1533
Lest we should forget what came before, and in the interest of keeping the show a bit more varied, today we introduce a new regular feature: Land Sound Records. The gist is a revisiting of watershed releases, hopefully either reigniting a desire to listen to, or uncovering for the first time, essential releases of days gone by. The eras and genres included will no doubt be vast as we basically seek to unearth the foundations of music being made today. Or, aside from all of the important-speak: really good albums you should own. With no further ado, then...
Land Sound Record #1: Van Morrison: Astral Weeks
Release Date: November, 1968
Label: Warner Bros.
Van Morrison's second post-Them solo release was unlike anything he had done before or, it may be argued, since. A unique if odd muscial hodge-podge of folk, blues, jazz and classical flavors, Astral Weeks consists of eight sprawling compositions that play out like one long song. Much of the content, lyrically and musically, seems improvised on the spot by Morrison, notably on the gripping "Beside You," with Morrison's familiar repititions of "you breathe in, you breathe out/ you breathe in, you breathe out..." and "to never, never wonder why at all..." Elsewhere is some of the more accomplished poetry Morrison ever produced, as contained in the character sketch, "Madame George."
Aside from the album itself, the circumstances surrounding its creation are no less inspiring. So the legend goes, Morrison, wrought with mourning following the drawn out death of a girlfriend from tuberculosis, convened with his recording band in New York City and put the songs to tape in two long, cathartic days. While those details may or may not be completely accurate, it's not difficult to surmise such a story within the context and emotional character of the songs. Indeed, the album is not only Morrison's autumnal masterpiece, but also perhaps the finest elegy in pop music history.
(MP3) "Beside You"
(MP3) "Cyprus Avenue"
In House #1533.
Focus: Land Sound Record #1 featuring Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, plus new music from Rhett Miller, Teddy Thompson and more.
In House PODCAST #45