In the condition I was in, it assumed at the time the quality of a beacon, a light on the far shores of the murk; what’s more, it was proof that there was something left to express artistically besides nihilism and destruction. “All hail Lester Bangs‘ mostly lucid raving about Astral Weeks, without which I may never have found myself in the thrall of Van Morrison’s Madame George and its nine plus minutes of mystical, magical longing, all childlike visions and the smell of sweet perfume. No way, you say. Astral Weeks is famous enough, I would’ve stumbled upon it eventually. But that’s not how the universe works, I say. Because if I hadn’t spent a week or three in the grim eternity of a mid-1980s February pouring over its ever second, who knows what might have happened, what mystical butterflies would have remained dormant, never flapped their wings and set great cosmic vibrations in motion? The Berlin Wall may never have come down. The Cold War may have brewed hot and catastrophic. The end of all things. Maybe. As for Madame George, it seems to be about a cross-dresser, but it’s really about all of us, how we’ll never really get to hold that thing we desire the most, and yet the reaching for it, the yearning, well that redeems us, doesn’t it, confirms our humanity? And if you haven’t yet found the time to sit still for about forty-eight minutes and listen to the miracle of Astral Weeks in its entirety, well, what are you waiting for? The world could end at any second.” (Philip Random)
Tag Archives: Celtic Soul
152. listen to the lion
“It’s true. Van Morrison‘s Listen To The Lion is exactly what you want to have playing when you finally emerge from a prolonged season in hell, a dark night of the soul, an entanglement in Chapel Perilous (choose your analogy). It won’t miraculously save you, make you whole again, but once you (and whichever gods and/or demons and/or friends and/or organizations may have stooped to redeem you) have done the heavy lifting, it’s there to welcome you, take your hand, tell you you’re not alone … and remind you that you’ve got a lion inside you that needs to roar, rage, tear righteously free at least some of the time, else it will tear you apart from within and love shall never come tumbling. In other words, you’ve just got to let it go sometimes. Your soul, that is. Believe in it and, if necessary, get to growling.” (Philip Random)
289. Cyprus Avenue
“I saw Van Morrison once. 1986, I think. Underwhelmed would describe my response. Not that I was horribly surprised. I had been warned. Van was notorious for less than stellar shows. If he wasn’t feeling the gods own light in his soul, he wasn’t going to fake it. But on a good night, well, words don’t suffice. You’ve got to just shut up and listen to the likes of what happens here in Cyprus Avenue, recorded in 1973 sometime, final song of the evening apparently. Too late to stop now.” (Philip Random)
342. Summertime in England
“I discovered Summertime in England in springtime in Ireland, care of a cassette I’d randomly picked up because it was on sale in a kiosk at a bus station, and Van Morrison was Irish, of course, and it made sense to have some of his music with me as I wandered his homeland in my rent-a-car, drank Guinness, wondered what the hell I was actually doing there, which I eventually realized had something to do with finding myself at a place known as the Bloody Foreland, extreme north west of Donegal, so called because every now and then, at sunset, everything turned a fiery, almost unearthly red. And I caught one of those sunsets, with Summertime In England playing, of course, the last half in particular, where ole Van has to just go to Church, spill his soul out to the entirety of everything everywhere forever. One of those magical mystical moments that makes you shut up and not think about it anymore, you just know. God is real, God does exist, and she’s a Van Morrison fan.” (Philip Random)
461. St. Dominic’s Preview
“It’s true. St. Dominic’s Preview (the song) should probably be way higher on this list. I guess I was just feeling a little allergic when I was compiling things – the danger inherent in loving any particular song too much, playing it too many times. Which is definitely the case here. You hear people talk about Celtic Soul – well, this is it, magical, mystical yet entirely grounded, even as it yearns and it reaches and … well, what the hell’s it about anyway? It’s about many things, it’s about everything, I suspect, it’s about cross-cutting country corners and every Hank Williams railroad train that cried, and Belfast being a hell of lot farther away than f***ing Buffalo. And the rest of the album‘s pretty damned strong as well.” (Philip Random)
42. The Solid Time Of Change
Installment #42 of the Solid Time of Change aired on Saturday June-24-2017 (c/o CiTR.FM.101.9).
Podcast (Solid Time begins a few minutes in). Youtube playlist (not entirely accurate).
The Solid Time of Change is our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era – 661 selections from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.
Part Forty-Two of the journey went as follows:
- Mason Williams – classical gas
- Van Morrison – you don’t pull no punches but you don’t push the river
- Genesis – the musical box
- Rainbow – stargazer
- Deep Purple – sweet child [space truckin] in time
- Rolling Stones – you can’t always get what you want
- Beatles – strawberry fields forever
- Beatles – revolution 9
- Pink Floyd – echoes
Fresh episodes air pretty much every Saturday night, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and download options available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook page.