Van Morrison: From a gig at the Stardust Club in Rosyth to his 43rd album

Van the Man is truly a musical original and even when he played the Stardust Club in Rosyth with the angry young Them, he has never changed since.

By John Murray
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 3:47 pm

Van Morrison still has the energy and musical chops to turn in a great performance and for all of us, some great records.

Even the most inert music fan will have heard of Brown Eyed Girl and danced to it at weddings and karaoke and how may romantics have snuggled close to Have I Told You Lately That I Love You only to find Rod Stewart would score a bigger hit with the same arrangement.

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Van Morrison

His unlikely duet with Cliff Richard on Whenever God Shines His Light gives me memories of them both on Top Of The Pops with Van in shades looking cool and Sir Cliff dancing on the spot trying to be trendy.

It was a hit though and now and then a single breaks through on radio and when albums are discussed his back catalogue comes to the fore. Too Late To Stop Now is a great live album, Moondance is an after-dinner classic and Astral Weeks comes up in all-time lists of great concept albums.

He was back in Edinburgh too just a fortnight ago at the Playhouse and because it was a rescheduled post-pandemic show some tickets were released on the day as being returned with holders missing for the new date.

They were snapped up in minutes and I expect he was able to preview new songs from his 43rd studio album due next week. What’s It Gonna Take?

It has 15 new songs including the teaser Pretending, a jazzy little groover with muted brass and ladies backing in just over seven minutes.

The title track has a retro ‘Bright Side Of The Road’ vibe, Fodder For The Masses has humour and Hammond wrapped up with 12-bar rock & roll.

Can’t Go On This Way reflects the lockdown and all that was banned, and he goes on with his Covid comments on Sometimes It’s Just Blah Blah Blah then justifies this on Not Seeking Approval while questioning freedom on Damage And Recovery.

No one has commented like this and when he introduces the instruments on Nervous Breakdown its like Tubular Bells again or Bonzos Intro and the Outro who did it first.

The legacy continues and for those collectors who have been there from the start can revel in the various formats such as CD, cassette, download, streaming, double black vinyl gatefold and double colour vinyl gatefold.