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Known as “Van the Man” to his fans and sometimes ‘the Belfast Cowboy’ ,Morrison started his professional career when, as a teenager in the late 1950s, he played a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone in a range of Irish showbands who covered the popular hits of the day before rising to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the gritty Northern Irish R&B band Them with whom he recorded the garage band classic, “Gloria”.

His solo career began under the pop-hit oriented guidance of Bert Berns with the release of the hit single “Brown Eyed Girl” in 1967. After Berns’ death, Warner Bros. Recordsbought out his contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks in 1968. Even though this album would gradually garner high praise, it was initially poorly received; however, the next one, Moondance, established Morrison as a major artist, and throughout the 1970s he built on his reputation with a series of critically acclaimed albums and live performances. Morrison continues to record and tour, producing albums and live performances that sell well and are generally warmly received, sometimes collaborating with other artists, such as Georgie Fame and The Chieftains. In 2008 he performedAstral Weeks live for the first time since 1968.

Check out some live ‘celtic soul’ from the master…particularly enjoy some of the great musicians that he gathered together such as saxophonists Candy Dulfer and Pee Wee Ellis. Often called moody, but a live performance from Van the Man is still excellent value from someone who puts music first and ego second.

wild nights(live)


Cypress Avenue (live Fillmore 1974)


Help Me (live Germany 1982


Domino (live)


And it stoned me (Montreux)


Tupelo honey live


Caravan – live




Moondance – live in Montreux




lf_van morrison 017

More live in Montreux (Spirit)


Raglan Road -live at Colerane University


And live from San Francisco

Shaking all over


Days like this (live US)



Candy Dulfer and Van Morrison (live) I’ve been working

and with John Lee Hooker -GLORIA (1989 Beacon Theatre)

perhaps not great harp playing but for acoustic beauty try John Lee and Van onBaby Please dont go..

Enjoy also this great piece of journalism, reporting on the re-birth of Astral Weeks – live at the Hollywood Bowl:

Van Morrison
Astral Weeks: Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Release Date 2009 02 24
Label Listen to the Lion Records
Rating:When an artist decides to perform a classic album in concert, the possibilities for disaster are myriad. Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks had never been performed as a cycle before these performances at the Hollywood Bowl. With only one full band rehearsal, Van responded by bringing this mythic material to life with a rock showman’s sense of audacity, a poet’s vulnerability, a jazzman’s sense of timing, and the mastery of a singer who knows where to find the hidden magic in his material. Morrison took the original track order and shuffled it to make it flow better live. He extended most tunes, turning some into mini-suites while tightening others. His well-seasoned lower register voice turned the wonder of a boy in 1968 into the spiritual receptivity and wisdom of a man who has weathered 40 more seasons of discontent and heartbreak. The title track opens the set with that familiar up and down acoustic bassline andJay Berliner’s nylon string guitar playing blues and jazz runs as Van keeps the first rhythm guitar chair down.(Berliner was lead guitarist on the original Astral Weeks sessions.) It’s a tiny bit faster, but the flow is impeccable as skeletal strings come pouring through in the gaps. There is a beautiful sense of space as Tony Fitzgibbon’s violin and viola solos come through in the middle and Richie Buckley’s flute hovers from the margins. Morrison lets his players shine; he rises to improve with them, feeling his lyrics anew. He adds more gospel flavor to the tune, which is rooted there anyway with &”I Believe I’ve Transcended.” And you believe him. The live mix clicks and crackles; it’s raw, full, and immediate, without overdubs. The track order changes after &”Beside You.” It lilts and wanders with beautiful vibe work and Berliner’s guitar. The first real surprise is &”Slim Slow Slider,” the closing cut on the original set and the third one here. The deep sorrow, helplessness, and dread in the tune is captured through melancholy memory, balanced by a sense of the previous, not weighted so much with trouble. But Morrison’s present tense protagonist is engulfed in pain and confesses the weight is more than he can bear in the effortless segue called &”I Start Breakin’ Down.” The drama is so arresting the listener can forget to breathe. The blues are heavy, the droning hypnotic Celtic ones that is, and they are never static. &”Sweet Thing,” and &”The Way Young Lovers Do,” are placed in succession here; they lock the listener in a breezy yet tight swinging groove. The strings caress Morrison’s lyric without sweetness; the guitars create a bridge to deliver a strutting &”Cypress Avenue,” which is appended seamlessly with the killer bluesy soul of &”You Come Walkin’ Down.” &”Ballerina,” slows it down again and Morrison delivers his best vocal performance of the evening, though &”Madame George,” which closes out the Astral Weeks material, is a close second; these cuts are simply an amazing one-two knockout. The band and the singer gel perfectly. There are two amazing encores: a dynamite, even shockingly spiritual autobiographical read of &”Listen to the Lion” from 1972’s Saint Dominic’s Preview with saxophones, guitars, and strings all pushing against his vocal that moans and wails and roars before breaking through. The night ends with a sultry, scatting improvisation from the middle of &”Summertime In England,” from 1980’s Common One. Astral Weeks: Live at the Hollywood Bowl is not Astral Weeks, but it’s brilliant and emotionally intense; it’s honest and spiritually revealing. Morrison not only inhabits these songs 40 years later, but he fully understands them; making for a extremely engaging and necessary document from an artist who still has plenty of fire in his belly. Thom Jurek, RoviAudio only  -live at the Hollywood Bowl -Sweet Thing



Title Composer Time
1 Astral Weeks/I Believe I’ve Transcended Morrison 9:55
2 Beside You Morrison 5:59
3 Slim Slow Slider/I Start Breaking Down Morrison 7:44
4 Sweet Thing Morrison 5:37
5 Way Young Lovers Do Morrison 3:18
6 Cyprus Avenue/You Came Walking Down Morrison 5:59
7 Ballerina Morrison 9:45
8 Madame George Morrison 8:43
9 Listen to the Lion/The Lion Speaks [*] Morrison 7:44
10 Common One [*] Morrison 6:39


Just discovered the BBC 4 sessions -Live in 2008