watch the great illusion drown
October 19, 2007 10:33 PM   Subscribe

Dweller on the threshold.
posted by vronsky (29 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
got any other good youtube links?
posted by pmbuko at 10:40 PM on October 19, 2007

- Northern Muse (Solid Ground)
posted by vronsky at 10:42 PM on October 19, 2007

Celtic Muse
posted by vronsky at 10:44 PM on October 19, 2007

"In The Garden"
posted by vronsky at 10:51 PM on October 19, 2007

no guru, no method, no teacher

just van-the-man
posted by vronsky at 10:54 PM on October 19, 2007

I don't suppose anyone would care to give me a hint about what I'd see if I clicked any of those links, would they? Am I gonna view dead bodies, or something else I would wish I hadn't seen?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:06 PM on October 19, 2007

vanlose stairway
posted by vronsky at 11:28 PM on October 19, 2007

If I tell you, I'll have to kill you. So either way, you lose. :(
posted by miss lynnster at 11:51 PM on October 19, 2007

I can't make my computer loud enough.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:51 PM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think vronsky and I have been drinking independently in unison.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:53 PM on October 19, 2007

Van's allright... I don't think he ever topped this one, though.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:58 PM on October 19, 2007

I disagree.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:11 AM on October 20, 2007

Y'know, he really does tear it up there on Baby Please Don't Go. An estimable performance indeed. Thanks for that excellent link. 'Course, unlike Brown Eyed Girl, Van didn't write that particular folk blues masterpiece, he just did a real good job singing it. And when it comes to that kind of thing, I'd personally still much prefer hearing, say Lightnin' Hopkins do it. Whereas, I don't reckon I'd care for a Lightnin' Hopkins version of Brown Eyed Girl near as much as Van's original.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:26 AM on October 20, 2007

Please, flapjax, patronizing is so beneath you. The yardstick was Van performances, not Van originals. If you're going to sort it by theme, then I'll simply flip the script. But that would get us off-topic.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:37 AM on October 20, 2007

I'm not patronizing you. But my yardstick was originals. That's what I meant. That's all. And thanks again for the Van link you posted, I enjoyed it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:40 AM on October 20, 2007

She gives me religion:)
posted by vronsky at 2:18 AM on October 20, 2007

But my yardstick was originals

I've never really understood this attitude. Until Dylan and the Beatles came along, it was taken for granted that songwriters wrote songs and singers sang them. Sinatra and Presley didn't write songs, and I wouldn't have wanted to hear them if they did. Don't get me wrong, I love Dylan and the Beatles and it's great that rock has brought us so many people gifted at both, but that's a happy coincidence, not a necessity. (Not to mention that far too many people with no gift for writing think they should write their own songs, with disastrous consequences.) If you imagine yourself in a juke joint in the '30s, with a room full of hard-drinking aficionados and a hard-drinking bluesman on the stage, do you think anybody gave a fuck whether he wrote his own material or not? Why should we?

With that off my chest: Nice post! (And I'm not sure he ever surpassed what he did with Them, a vastly underappreciated band.)

  —A Happy Van Fan
posted by languagehat at 6:32 AM on October 20, 2007

I don't know, hat--I think we're on the far side of the curve, now. From my (albeit intentionally minimal) experience with ClearChannel-type pop radio, songs are written by a committee of middle-aged PR flacks, and performed by vapid 19-year-old Pop Tarts. Or a monotone, vacant and stupid vocal track is laid down over a 16-bar sample loop by someone who styles himself a record producer.

Give me a singer/songwriter any day. Bonus if the music comes from real instruments played by real people.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 6:44 AM on October 20, 2007

flapjax writes: But my yardstick was originals

languagehat writes: I've never really understood this attitude.

Hmmm.... well, it's not an attitude, exactly. What, you think I'm unaware that, historically, singers haven't always written their own material? This is not exactly news to me, languagehat. And when I listen to a song, whether or not the singer is also the composer is not necessarily a help or hindrance to my enjoying the song.

That said, I would add that, er, Dylan and the Beatles did come along. And I was talking about Van Morrison as a songwriter. Cause he is a songwriter. I wasn't referring to a juke joint in the 1930's full of hard-drinking whatevers, or any other historical period in which people gave a fuck or didn't, or any of that. I was merely stating a personal opinion: that as a songwriter, Van Morrison never really surpassed Brown Eyed Girl. Simple as that. Any other "attitude" is something that you, for whatever reason, are reading into my comment.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:01 AM on October 20, 2007

Hey hey hey! I wasn't attacking you, and I'm sorry if you took offense—you're one of my favorite musical MeFites. I was talking about an attitude that I see a lot; whether or not you share it, your comment set off my thinking. I certainly don't think anything I said was news to you. Are we OK?
posted by languagehat at 7:16 AM on October 20, 2007

Ah, I see! I misinterpreted your intent. Thanks for clarifying that for me. We are indeed OK!

Let's meet up later at the juke joint for some hard drinkin', whaddaya say?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:23 AM on October 20, 2007

Thanks, vronsky, for starting me off with a little morning Van, I could listen to him all day. One of my favorite ever concerts was seeing him in Amsterdam at a festival about a dozen years ago - I stood about 10 feet from him for the entire show - it was awesome. Although he is such a quirky guy, not very audience friendly, he spent half the show with his back to us. I saw him again this year in Boston at the Opera House, paid a bloody fortune, but found it worth the dough.

Here's a fun 1972 cover story from Rolling Stone in 1972 on Van.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:40 AM on October 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

oooh a Van the man post, nice one vronsky.

Oh, I am *so* jealous you saw him recently madamjujujive. In the 70's at the performance I went to of his at Princeton University, it was if he were in an ecstasy of music, dancing, improvising, wild and loose. Wonder what happened that he stopped being so wild? Maybe that's a result of him drinking less or more or something.

My fave, And It Stoned Me.

Huge Van Morrison fan here. Lucky enough to hear and see him live. What brilliant concerts. Fun to see the vid of him in Them. He's got that rebel tension thing going on there that is exciting and maybe telling of his later performance style.

In the summer of 1976, living on Paxos, a miniature island in Western Greece, Moondance was the most beautiful song to swoon by under the night sky at a party in an olive orchard, drunk on ouzo. Can't hear it now without a rush of bliss and nostalgia. Saw a tee shirt yesterday that said, the older I get, the better it was. In this case that is so true.

Crazy Love.
posted by nickyskye at 8:30 AM on October 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Here's another Van classic to add to the heap. The performance is a little ragged and Van loses the mic at one point, but it's the only version to be found on YouTube, and if it appeals at all, check the version on Veedon Fleece.
posted by pilgrim at 8:32 AM on October 20, 2007

The definitive version of Baby Please Don't Go was recorded in 1973 by Budgie.

One of my favorite performances by the "Belfast Cowboy" was Caravan from the Last Waltz.
posted by Sailormom at 9:03 AM on October 20, 2007

They totally sucked once Dave Lee Roth left.
posted by bardic at 12:10 PM on October 20, 2007

It would've been nice to include a couple of theosophic links. The concept of the dweller on the threshold is really the stark essence of horror, and who doesn't love having their pants scared off by creepy old Van Morrison?
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:22 PM on October 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Let's meet up later at the juke joint for some hard drinkin', whaddaya say?

I'm there!

The concept of the dweller on the threshold is really the stark essence of horror

Jesus, I never knew about that. Now how can I listen to the song with the same innocent pleasure?

*shudders in eldritch dread*
posted by languagehat at 1:07 PM on October 20, 2007

That whole "no guru" thing always left a bad taste in my mouth. Don't get me wrong. I saw Van at Radio City with John Lee Hooker, and it was mind blowing.

But the whole "No guru, no master" number that closed out the show (before the 1+ hour encore) smelled sour to me. Like the closing paragraph of monologue to "American Beauty". My response to people trumpeting that kind of thing is "fuck you".

This has nothing to do with the music, just a personal note. And it's likely that I find it distasteful only because it resonates with things about myself I'd rather not have brought to light... right?

*story* Van the man used to frequent an irish pub here in SF, and the bartender told me that on one rainy night, Van was parked at the end of the bar in a super bright yellow raincoat. Some customers noticed who he was, and began to glance in his direction and whisper. Van angrily called the bartender over and told him to deal with those fucking customers. The bartender responded (supply your brogue here) "What'd you come here in a bright yellow raincoat for!?"
posted by asavage at 12:26 AM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

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