Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hard Nose the Highway - Van Morrison

Today happenes to be St. Patrick's Day. The made up holiday that is an excuse for Irish people to get drunk. I'm very Irish, something like 30-40% maybe more. Its the biggest chunk of what I am. So I decided why not celebrate my heritage with a quick and easy review. And I was gonna save the Thin Lizzy one for next year. This album I chose happens to be the seventh studio album by Irish singer/songwriter George Ivan Morrison (better known as Van Morrison). This is notable for it's fucking amazing album art, seriously look at this picture. And then look on Discogs for the full artwork. Which I couldn't find a decent version if the cover. While I like this album, I'd buy it alone based on the artwork. The other notable thing is the fact that this is the first album he released as a solo artist with a song not written by him. Okay, so now that that bull shit is taken care of, let's review this often considered low point and mark decline in his peak years.
  1. Snow in San Anselmo: One of my favorite songs I ever heard the first time I heard it. It's also the first song by this guy I heard and I was confused by. I mean I have been impressed by how I like or respect some of his songs. But this is a completely different feeling. The song features the Oakland Symphony Chamber Chorus and it's kind of..... The way the sound and their use is one of the oddest I've ever heard for a choir. It also makes me envoys because there is no way in hell I could have ever came up with anything like this. The only logical thing I can get from this is I read it was written when he saw snow in that place. And I think it's in California. So for it to snow in California would cause panic and confusion. That is this song.
  2. Warm Love: Some consider this to be a sequel to Crazy Love. This actually sounds like a sister song to that, but like a lesser version or re-write of it. There is more woodwind and I mean I dig some of the stuff, but I can't really say it's great. I think it works after the cool off from the epic that was prior to this,
  3. Hard Nose the Highway: This isn't that terrible of a song, it sort of reminds me of something that I could hear on a prior album. I can't really complain about this, I mean it isn't amazing, but it's about the same level of most of the songs by him I think are just okay. Like they aren't amazing, but they aren't terrible. They are fun to hear and pretty decent listens.
  4. Wild Children: This song is about post-war children growing up in other countries and getting their source of role models from American anti-heroes. The wikipedia page makes more sense for explaining it. I guess that makes sense, but I'm more interested in the music first, then the message. Ehhh, it's a chill song. I can't say I'm getting into it though. I mean it's not gorgeous, or mind blowing. There are bits and pieces I can say reminds me of this or reminds me of that. I don't know, just kind of chill. Nothing special in my opinion. Good playing though. Also, for whatever reason, I don't like his use of name drops.
  5. The Great Deception: This is a political song, and once I read what it was about it inspired me to out write it. Okay, yes the last song and this song are different, but they are similar in mood. They are both jazzy chill easy to listen to songs. This happens to be a bit more upbeat, but I mean it isn't anything mind blowing either. I mean I honestly like listening to this, but I'm not sure if I'll revisit it. I mean it's better than the last tune, maybe a 7, but yeah.
  6. Bein' Green: This is a cover of the Joe Raposo track that is from Sesame Street. I though this was an odd choice, but you know, I don't know. In the context of the record I guess this would be the one to do it on, and the style is very fitting. But is it necessary? Yes it's a nice touch, but is it necessary.
  7. Autumn Song: This is 9 minutes, and yeah it's nice. But I want something else. I want to be thrilled, I want to feel something rather than a stroll through the park smoking my cigarettes in New York. Give me something please, this isn't bad it's just so samey. About 4 minutes in and I've very bored. There really is no need for this to be 9 minutes long. At all, maybe 3 or 4 tops.
  8. Purple Heather: This cover of the traditional song of Scottish Origin. Other artists who have done versions are Thin Lizzy (as a part of Roisin Dubh), The Cheiftans (2001), Joan Baez (1965), The Bryds (1966), Mark Knopfler (2002), Judy Collins (1961),  Bob Dylan and last one I'll list is Marianne Faithful (1966). Now this might work as a finale to the record, it maybe have a sort of soft ending to what opened on such a high note, but this version of the song is just boring. I mean it isn't terrible, but it's just it's like the other tunes. Kinda pretty, not gorgeous, but just....................... SAME!
Overall I have to give this album a 6/10. It's funny, I can't say I love this guy, his vocals often get on my nerves. But when he has a solid track T.B. Sheets, Wild Night, Snow in San Alsemo, I've Been Working, The Way Young Lovers Do and so on there are a ton of other okay songs. This album is very consistent in it's underwhelming-ness. I mean I don't hate it, it just doesn't live up to that title track. I'd suggest Moondance as the album to check out.

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