Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

• “Astral Weeks” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to SpaceOdyssee0.

9.9 “All-time classic Folk Rock / Americana from Northern Ireland”

Title track to his LP (Warner Bros. Records WS-1768) released in November, 1968.

I’ve long had the “T.B Sheets” compile in my collection which includes quite a few of these tracks, but that was never going to suffice. “Astral Weeks” is now in there… and it was worth the wait.

Such poetry, such artistry…

If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dream
Where immobile steel rims crack
And the ditch in the back roads stop
Could you find me?
Would you kiss-a my eyes?
To lay me down
In silence easy
To be born again
To be born again

 

After having been “tricked” into his first album last year, the Belfastian delved headlong into the mystic with this beguiling, dreamy, acoustic-based folksy extravaganza – closest yet to the album that he’d always wanted to make. Warner Bros assigned producer Lewis Merenstein to the project. He had a background in jazz, and his first port-of-call was veteran bassist Richard Davis – an inspired move. Davis brought in his own supporting cast – at all times throughout this LP the synergy between the players is uncanny, most notably with flutes that could charm a king snake out of a chicken farm and a double bass which, without fail, seems to find just the right supporting notes at just the right time. That these tracks were, by and large, borne of freeform sessions, is testament to the quality of the musicians on-board. This allows Van complete freedom to focus on his soulful, stream-of-consciousness lyrical delivery, the results of which are sublime on giant masterpiece tracks such as “Madame George”, “Astral Weeks” and “Cyprus Avenue”. The album is a sensory delight from start to finish.

You can check out the rest of my album reviews for 1968 here.

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