van morrison

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MIRACLE MILE PROFILED: Beauty in search of an audience

MIRACLE MILE PROFILED: Beauty in search of an audience

Some years ago when I was at the Herald yet another CD for review arrived in the post and took its place on the huge pile of "discs to be listened to". I have no idea why out of the stack of worthies I picked up the album by Miracle Mile laterand played it one night at home when no one was around: but I am glad I did because I was...

Linda Thompson; Versatile Heart (Decca) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Linda Thompson; Versatile Heart (Decca) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Few would make the mistake of coming to Anglo-folk legend Thompson for their jollies -- but even the well-prepared might gulp at the melacholy mood in which this is suffused. While the country twangin' foot-tapper Do Your Best For Rock'n Roll includes the promising line "take me to a bar" it ends with "and leave me there to...

Jimmy Buffett: Live in Anguilla (Mailboat/Rhythmethod)

Jimmy Buffett: Live in Anguilla (Mailboat/Rhythmethod)

I have had dinner and drinks at Jimmy's place a couple of times -- in truth at his franchise restaurants Margaritaville which offer a fish platter so huge I have had to take a photograph of it. Buffett is a businessman/pilot/sailor and singer whose lifestyle is enviable: in his world it is permanently sunny, boatshoes constitute dressing up,...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Van Morrison: Keep It Simple (Lost Highway)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Van Morrison: Keep It Simple (Lost Highway)

Another year and another Van album on yet another label . . . And with the reissue of his earlier albums drawing attention to great work like It's Too Late to Stop Now (read about it in Essential Elsewhere) it would hardly be surprising if this one was ignored by even longtime followers, many of whom might be picking up the remastered...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: James Hunter: The Hard Way (Universal)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: James Hunter: The Hard Way (Universal)

This Englishman with an unexpectedly soulful voice was one of the first artists posted at Elsewhere back in mid 2006 and that astonishing album People Gonna Talk was easily among the best of that year. But in this country with very little publicity (I saw none) it rose without a trace. Still, those who heard it got a wonderful slice of...

JAMES HUNTER INTERVIEWED: The hard way to the top (2008)

JAMES HUNTER INTERVIEWED: The hard way to the top (2008)

At 46, James Hunter from Colchester in Essex is an overnight soul-singing sensation who took a couple of decades to get to where he is. But for most people he seemed to appear out of nowhere with his breakthrough album People Gonna Talk in early 2006. Hunter’s effortless blend of Sam Cooke-styled soul with soft reggae rhythms and his...

Pete Molinari: A Virtual Landscape (Shock)

Pete Molinari: A Virtual Landscape (Shock)

English singer-songwriter Molinari's debut Walking off the Map was a beguiling, blatantly Dylanesque affair which found great favour at Elsewhere -- but this time out he's like a pub quiz: which song am I referencing now?Usually it's Dylan but he lifts shamelessly from Sam Cooke, Hank Williams, the Stones' in 65, young Donovan . . . And you...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Eli Paperboy Reed and The True Loves: Roll With You (Shock)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Eli Paperboy Reed and The True Loves: Roll With You (Shock)

For the past week or so I have been listening to old vinyl by Dusty Springfield and Southside Johnny (a New Jersey bar-band chum of Springsteen and Stevie Van Zandt) and have been reminded again just how many white singers have been immersed in soul/r'n'b.And there seems to be a new wave again with James Hunter, Duffy and Beth Rowley, all of...

Ray LaMontagne: Gossip in the Grain (SonyBMG)

Ray LaMontagne: Gossip in the Grain (SonyBMG)

Frankly, after his last album - the excellent Till the Sun Turns Black which was acclaimed at Elsewhere and probably elsewhere - this is a little disappointing, but not in the way you might think. Where Sun was a muted and often melancholy affair which in places sounded close to Nick Drake and an early but glum Van Morrison, this one goes the...

Van Morrison: Astral Weeks, Live at the Hollywood Bowl (EMI)

Van Morrison: Astral Weeks, Live at the Hollywood Bowl (EMI)

After years -- nay, decades -- of his indifferent albums it was real pleasure to post Van Morrison's excellent, understated Keep It Simple last year and then later pick it as one of the Best of Elsewhere 2008. When added to the non-chronological and slightly erratic re-issue programme, Van the Man seemed to be making something of a comeback to...

Mark Knopfler: Get Lucky (Vertigo)

Mark Knopfler: Get Lucky (Vertigo)

For man who made his reputation with mercurial guitar work and not his rather undistinguished voice, former Dire Straits frontman Knopfler (profiled here) takes a real chance on this solo outing: there’s barely a guitar lick in the first two songs and the album opens in a distinctly Celtic mood with fiddles and flutes, then steps in with...

Van Morrison: What's Wrong With This Picture? (Blue Note)

Van Morrison: What's Wrong With This Picture? (Blue Note)

Wordsworth, more fool him, peaked early. The first edition of his groundbreaking Lyrical Ballads collection with fellow poet Coleridge was published in 1798 when he was 28. In the following decades (notably his revised editions) it was mostly downhill. Sure, he wrote some later stuff worth studying in late-degree Eng. Lit classes, but the...

Bap Kennedy: Howl On (Lonely Street Discs)

Bap Kennedy: Howl On (Lonely Street Discs)

After time in the Irish band Energy Orchard, Kennedy spent many years in the America he was obsessed with as a child. For this moving tribute to the America of his dreams -- and specifically the days of the Apollo Mission to the moon and Woodstock -- he gives concept albums a good name. Now back in Belfast after his Nashville period, he...

Fionn Regan: The Shadow of an Empire (Inertia/Border)

Fionn Regan: The Shadow of an Empire (Inertia/Border)

On the cover he may look like one of the more camp American Idol finalists, but Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan occupies that appealing musical territory between Dylan in '66, Pete Molinari and lo-fi Chris Knox with his urgent, lyrically twisting songs which are punctuated by ear and heart-gripping lines. Catacombs here suggests a story...

Eli Paperboy Reed: Come and Get It (Capitol)

Eli Paperboy Reed: Come and Get It (Capitol)

The previous album by this white boy singin' soul music -- Roll With You -- was considered a Best of Elsewhere 2008 release but didn't quite make it into mainstream media or thinking. This time around, for a slightly lesser album, he's been picking up big press . . . and again he certainly deserves it. He may have come from Boston but he...

Pete Molinari: A Train Bound for Glory (Clarksville)

Pete Molinari: A Train Bound for Glory (Clarksville)

English music magpie Molinari's previous two albums alerted you to a folk-driven singer-songwriter who was unashamed of wearing influences but bringing a neat twist to them: his Walking off the Map in '06 cheerfully plundered Hank Williams and pre-66 Bob Dylan (and delivered a beautiful new standard in Indescribably Blue); his follow-up A...

Van Morrison: On Hyndford Street (1991)

Van Morrison: On Hyndford Street (1991)

By the time Van Morrison released his double album Hymns to the Silence in '91, many of his longtime followers had moved on -- some disappointed by so many uneven albums, some just having enough Van in their lives. Over two discs, Hymns to the Silence was just too much Van, and even the most generous reviewers had to note many songs were not...

LISTENING TO VAN MORRISON by GREIL MARCUS

LISTENING TO VAN MORRISON by GREIL MARCUS

Music writer Marcus is so well ensconced in the pantheon of great rock writers that his books are universally hailed on publication. But this one -- a series of essays on Morrison's music which, confusingly, comes in the same cover photo as another similar Morrison book and appears in the US and UK entitled When That Rough God Goes Riding --...

INVISIBLE REPUBLIC; BOB DYLAN'S BASEMENT TAPES by GREIL MARCUS:

INVISIBLE REPUBLIC; BOB DYLAN'S BASEMENT TAPES by GREIL MARCUS:

When Bob Dylan skidded off his motorcycle in upstate New York in mid-1966, it allowed him an extraordinary career hiatus. Before his accident - which some Dylan bores still insist never happened - he’d been a Woody Guthrie wannabe, a folk troubadour and protest singer. Then, by plugging in an electric guitar and touring with a...

Marc Cohn: Listening Booth; 1970 (Sony)

Marc Cohn: Listening Booth; 1970 (Sony)

The way singer-songwriter Cohn remembers it, 1970 was when the Beatles, and Simon and Garfunkel, broke up. It was classic singles, the dawn of the singer-songwriter era (James Taylor, Neil Young and others), great albums by various solo Beatles, Van Morrison, Cat Stevens, Creedence . . . So he goes back to that year for this collection...

LIVE; GIGS THAT ROCKED NEW ZEALAND by BRUCE JARVIS AND JOSH EASBY

LIVE; GIGS THAT ROCKED NEW ZEALAND by BRUCE JARVIS AND JOSH EASBY

At a recent Paul Weller gig at the Powerstation -- me with a wide smile, it was thrilling -- I was reminded again just how many great concerts it has been my pleasure to have been at, and the collective power of music to bring people together for a shared experience. There are many of us who count milestones in our lives which have a great...

Richard Thompson: Rumor and Sigh (1991)

Richard Thompson: Rumor and Sigh (1991)

Like Elvis Costello, Christy Moore, the late John Martyn and a few others in a very select company, English singer/songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson made timeless albums. Pick up any of his from the early Eighties or even the late Seventies and they make as much sense today as they did then. Yet after more than 45 years in the...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Eli Paperboy Reed

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Eli Paperboy Reed

Long an Elsewhere favourite, Eli Paperboy Reed's 2008 album Roll With You made the list of Best of Elsewhere for that year, and his follow-up Come And Get It of 2010 also got very favourable notice. Reed is a conduit for the great soul voices of the past -- Sam Cooke, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and others -- but he brings deep...

STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN DVD REVIEWED (2003)

STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN DVD REVIEWED (2003)

When music magazines make up lists of great players - best drummer, top guitarist or whatever - one name invariably appears in the best bassist countdown: James Jamerson. At which point most people might fairly ask, "James who?" Which is exactly the problem this exciting, moving, good-natured soul-funk documentary seeks to redress....

Van Morrison, It's Too Late to Stop Now (1973)

Van Morrison, It's Too Late to Stop Now (1973)

Anyone coming Johnny Rogan's thorough and sometimes exhaustive biography of Van Morrison, No Surrender, to find out why Morrison is such a curmudgeon will learn soon enough: it seems he has always been a grumpy, sullen and, when young, an occasionally violently surly character.  As a child he had lamentable social skills...

James Hunter, People Gonna Talk (Rounder/Elite) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

James Hunter, People Gonna Talk (Rounder/Elite) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

This unashamedly enjoyable album is crammed full of songs where Hunter's velvet soulful r'n'b vocals are placed alongside a superbly tight little band of upright bass, saxophones and locked-in drums. It is only when a sometimes skittering sax or Hunter's angular guitar parts come in you realise this isn't some 60s reissue or lost Sam Cooke...

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