Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rock Revival's Classic Albums (1974): Van Morrisn's Veedon Fleece, the album Rolling Stone rejected

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Veedon Fleece (1974) is Van's 8th album and probably his least appreciated. Clinton Heylin, Van's biographer, has said "Veedon Fleece is by far the most underplayed album in Morrison's canon."

It represents a spiritual homecoming to Ireland, after his divorce, a mystic record like Astral Weeks, a return to the stream of consiousness approach that he had last flirted with on St Dominic's Preview and a fundamentally pastoral album.

Rolling Stone dismissed it in quite an extraordinary way.

"Throughout, Morrison suffers from wobbly pitch, several abortive experiments (the falsetto on "Who Was That Masked Man") and a familiar tendency to mumble rather than enunciate. Too often he suggests a pinched vocal nerve drowning in porridge."

"This is pompous tripe. Van Morrison doesn't need it, and neither do we. How do you breathe soul into a phrase like "contemplatin' William Blake and the Eternals"?

"The charts, scored for strings and woodwinds rather than horns, try for a dreamy, pseudo-jazz feel: Instead of punching Morrison along, the band lays back and meanders. The end product is mood music for mature hippies."

This is, of course, ridiculous and proves again that they really cant hold water as creators of the rock cannon.

Listen to it; it's quite an experience

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