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May 9, 2011 9:58 AM   Subscribe

Once upon a time, Van Morrison had a record contract with Bing Records which he wanted to escape. Since the contract required him to produce thirty-six original songs, Van Morrison sat in the studio for a single session and recorded a series of nonsensical non-tunes that are still in his distinctive style. Three of them are available here.
posted by dzkalman (53 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
You say friends, and I'll whistle. I'll whistle, you say friends. No, you say friends and I'll whistle. No, no, you whistle and I'll say friends.

This is great!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:05 AM on May 9, 2011


"France". You have to say "france" for him to whistle.
posted by DU at 10:06 AM on May 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


I got a really cheap Van Morrison collection album once which had that Ring Worm song on it, and always wondered where the hell it came from, and why it was so abysmal. Nice post.
posted by dng at 10:09 AM on May 9, 2011


Swear I saw 20 or more of these linked on MeFi once. But can't find.
posted by Mid at 10:09 AM on May 9, 2011


No wonder he wouldn't whistle! I was saying friends! I kept saying friends!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:09 AM on May 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


The "ooooooooooooo's" in "Ringworm," I've always thought, are the best. Van having
a sense of humor about his own musical staples.

Most of the "album" is floating around. I've found it a couple of times.

It's also a great album to have around when you're being social. You can
offhandedly ask "anybody want to listen to some Van Morrison?" and when
they expect Astral Weeks or Moondance, they get Ringworm.
posted by gcbv at 10:10 AM on May 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


dzkalman: "Van Morrison sat in the studio for a single session and recorded a series of nonsensical non-tunes that are still in his distinctive style."

How did anyone tell the difference?
posted by zarq at 10:13 AM on May 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I believe I have this in its entirety on some drive somewhere. I think I got it from WFMU's write-up on it before all the mp3s got taken down. It's still not difficult to find online.

But yeah, these make for great filler on mixtapes
posted by Maaik at 10:14 AM on May 9, 2011


It's another post from the 365days project, where otisfodder linked to a weird, or just unusual, mp3 a day for a year. Twice!

My favorite from the series was the incredibly energetic, aptly named Ree Baba Ree Baba, which sounds a bit like the Cookie Monster on a trip through the desert with Hunter S. Thompson.
posted by JHarris at 10:16 AM on May 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


"anybody want to listen to some Van Morrison?"

Do you want the danish, or do you want ringworm?
posted by benzenedream at 10:18 AM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is the very first time I've ever wanted to do this --



METAFILTER: like the Cookie Monster on a trip through the desert with Hunter S. Thompson.


*throws confetti*
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:19 AM on May 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


The 365 Days Project is one of those things that I get excited whenever I hear about it, but never make it through anywhere near all of it before forgetting about it again. There just aren't enough hours in the year.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:22 AM on May 9, 2011


It's interesting that, despite its seemingly nonsensical title and its ire towards the recording industry, 1972's "Drumshanbo Hustle" isn't one of these songs...
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:22 AM on May 9, 2011


If we're on the topic of overrated semi-genius, it's time to post a track from Brian Wilson's lost rap album.
posted by docgonzo at 10:23 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


"anybody want to listen to some Van Morrison?"

In my circle of friends, this question would never be asked. And, if asked, the answer would be "No."
posted by annekenstein at 10:24 AM on May 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I downloaded this album years ago from WFMU, but alas, the tracks have been removed. You can actually buy it from Amazon.

Freaky, freaky
If you got this far
You came a long way
But you're freaky
And we can do something with you
If you got this far
You should be freaky
You should be freaky
If you got this far
We'll put you in a jar
And sell you
As a freak
We think you're freaky, too, 2, 3.

posted by erniepan at 10:25 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maaik: I believe I have this in its entirety on some drive somewhere. I think I got it from WFMU's write-up on it before all the mp3s got taken down. It's still not difficult to find online.

To quote item: BEHOLD THE POWER OF THE WAYBACK MACHINE! (which is blocked at work, but comments on that 2009 thread say the archived links work)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:26 AM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you're looking for them elsewhere, search for "van morrison bang records contractual obligation sessions," as they have been called.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:28 AM on May 9, 2011


docgonzo: If we're on the topic of overrated semi-genius, it's time to post a track yt from Brian Wilson's lost rap album.

... and WFMU covered that one, too. Damn, those cats are good.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:29 AM on May 9, 2011


This is actually my favorite Van Morrison album. I gave always wanted to go up to a stranger and say "Looking at your face, I can see you've got ringworm. YOOUUU'VE GOOOOT RINNNG WUUUUURRRRRRMM!"
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:31 AM on May 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Other great examples of middle fingers to contractual obligations:

Phil Spector / The Crystals, "(Let's Dance) The Screw" (Part I) (Part II)
The Rolling Stones, "Cocksucker Blues"
posted by dhens at 10:36 AM on May 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is underrated, neglected and accessible. Is it pop? It is great.
posted by chavenet at 10:54 AM on May 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is awesome.

*has a Danish, then a sandwich*
posted by joe lisboa at 11:02 AM on May 9, 2011


*contracts ringworm*
posted by joe lisboa at 11:03 AM on May 9, 2011


Saw Van the Man last year at this time at the Woodlands.

Sad to say, he's mailing it in. Band was great, though.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:12 AM on May 9, 2011


Great find. He sung about his problems with the Big Time Operators on the Too long in Exile album.
posted by adamvasco at 11:17 AM on May 9, 2011


Quite enjoyed "You Say France and I'll Whistle" - the whole thing really reminds me of early dEUS.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:38 AM on May 9, 2011


This is my go-to album for freaking out houseguests.
posted by swift at 11:45 AM on May 9, 2011


These remind me of TMBG's Fingertips, which I assume were at least partly based on their Song-A-Day line (free when you call from work). I wonder if they were inspired by these.
posted by DU at 11:54 AM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't stand the songs of Van Morrison, but I love this.
posted by hot soup girl at 11:58 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love this Van Morrison album and hate the rest.
My wife loves the rest and hates this album.
It almost destroyed our marriage.
We never listen to Van Morrison together.
This is a good thing.
posted by Seamus at 11:59 AM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Must also mention Neal Young, and his fuck-you-Geffen albums, Trans and Everybody's Rockin'.
posted by crunchland at 12:03 PM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


To be fair, Trans has a rather sad story behind it. Less a fuck you to Geffen, but more an attempt to communicate with his son.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 12:32 PM on May 9, 2011


True about trans, but everybody's rockin' was 100% FU. Not only is it mostly covers in a rockabiliy style, but it's 20 minutes long. Zero minutes of classic Neil and 20 minutes of filler. AND THEN HE TOURED IT
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:38 PM on May 9, 2011


The Big Royalty Check
posted by adamvasco at 12:57 PM on May 9, 2011


....Well, that was a dose of perspective.

I just learned that this session came in the middle of a whole back-and-forth with Bang Records; and among the other things he was working on at the same time was a project which would eventually become his album Astral Weeks, one of the most achingly transcendant albums I've ever heard.

Maybe everyone needs to sing about ringworm now and then if it'll yield stuff like "Madame George".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:31 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, it doesn't take much digging to find the entire album. I believe I've said it before, but BEHOLD THE POWER OF THE WAYBACK MACHINE!
posted by item at 1:35 PM on May 9, 2011


Or as filthy light thief said above. Thunder stolen.
posted by item at 1:36 PM on May 9, 2011


"Freaky if You Got This Far" is possibly one of my favorite songs ever.
posted by LSK at 2:21 PM on May 9, 2011


Listening to these straight after "Astral Weeks" is either the best way to discredit the idea of artistic genius, or the most mysterious deepening of that idea.
posted by meadowlark lime at 2:38 PM on May 9, 2011


Man, I had this whole album on my hard drive that died years ago. I'm not sure I want to pay 20 bucks for them again, but I miss having them around....
posted by lumpenprole at 3:38 PM on May 9, 2011


Never heard these before. Thanks!
posted by misozaki at 3:45 PM on May 9, 2011


This is awesome.

BTW -- anybody remember, there was a post on MeFi a few years ago about a company where you'd send them your lyrics and they'd turn it into a song? I think they had like a few basic templates for songs. Sometimes people would send in obscene or ridiculous shit, and they'd have to record it. I've been trying to find it, but my google-fu is failing me.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:08 PM on May 9, 2011


Wow, Brian Wilson's rapping talent is equaled only by the late, great Dee Dee Ramone King.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:14 PM on May 9, 2011


Afroblanco, the keyword you're looking for is "song poem." Lots of hilarity and confusion here.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:22 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, I love Van Morrison!
posted by saul wright at 4:49 PM on May 9, 2011


Actually, it's good that you've got ringworm. Cos' you could've had something else.
posted by AJaffe at 7:01 PM on May 9, 2011


Yaaay, thanks RTR!
posted by Afroblanco at 7:39 PM on May 9, 2011


Why would any record company sign him up for a new record contract, knowing he'd so easily pissed all over his last one?
posted by joannemullen at 9:31 PM on May 9, 2011


Bert Berns owned Bang records and apparently issued a collection of early recordings and released it as "The Best Of Van Morrison" without the singers permission. Then Berns had a heart attack and died. His widow blamed van Morrison for his death. Part of the get out negotiated by Warner bros was 3 songs a month for a year.
posted by adamvasco at 4:30 AM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a Van the Man fan, I am embarrassed I didn't know this. This is great! I've read he could be difficult and had a great sense of humor. I guess this van morrison bang records contractual obligation sessions is a prime example of both.
posted by flesti at 12:17 PM on May 10, 2011


Why would any record company sign him up for a new record contract, knowing he'd so easily pissed all over his last one?

Simple.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:35 PM on May 10, 2011


Indeed
posted by adamvasco at 2:15 PM on May 10, 2011


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