Saturday, November 08, 2008

Astral Weeks

posted by Brit

When Joseph Heller was accused of never having written anything else as good as Catch-22, his response was simply to shrug and say, "Who has?"

Van Morrison could probably use the Heller defence for Astral Weeks. The old grump is performing what we are obliged to call his 'seminal' 1968 album in its entirety live at the Hollywood Bowl. Mind you, if anything is seminal, Astral Weeks is, being an extraordinary piece of music in a rambling, shambling, jazzy, folky style that Van has never recreated in the 40 years since (40 years, can that be right? blimey), despite releasing approximately fifteen thousand albums in that time. To be fair, he hasn't tried much (the closest one is probably Veedon Fleece).

With only six shopping days now left until Christmas, if by some chance you don't already own it, you should stick Astral Weeks on your Wishlist - along, of course, with this book.


  1. I was disappointed with Catch-22 - you can't judge a book by the hype. I wish I'd have judged it by the cover because that was bloody awful - red font on silver).

    I think Moondance, the follow up, explains Van Morrison better than Astral Weeks, but I like AW because it was and is different. Who else would sing the blues to a harpsichord?

  2. When your gran-kids zing with something you have zangd. Do you not think that there is a little bit of error. For if they get the song in their gut as you did, is there not a failure.


  3. Astral Weeks zings because it is timeless, Vince.

  4. Astral Weeks, in addition to being a great album, is also endlessly strange. i note that other classic 60s albums, e.g. all of Hendrix's, have a similar strangeness. It's as if they weren't made by humans, exactly; certainly, it's easy to imagine Astral Weeks came out of elfland...