Wednesday, February 25, 2009


And I will stroll the merry way and jump the hedges first
And I will drink the clear clean water for to quench my thirst
And I shall watch the ferry-boats and they'll get high
On a bluer ocean against tomorrow's sky
And I will never grow so old again

Once in a great while the magic strikes, rivers run backwards, planets line up like billiard balls, and the wind plays strange melodies on empty bottles. Astral Weeks is just such a moment. The album signaled the end of the "Brown-eyed Girl" radio-friendly pop of early Van Morrison and carried us into the mystic. This wasn't top forty music at all, but something luminous, deeper and more personal, new Celtic soul and folk rock with jazzy notes--and enough bizarre lyrics to keep the hopheads up late at night working their decoder rings.

If I ventured in the slipstream Between the viaducts of your dreams Where immobile steel rims crack And the ditch in the back roads stop Could you find me?

Elvis Costello said Astral Weeks is "still the most adventurous record made in the rock medium, and there hasn't been a record with that amount of daring made since."

Van at the Hollywood Bowl, 2008

In 2008, forty years after its release, Van Morrison returned to this cycle of songs with a series of concerts in Los Angeles in which he played the album in its entirety. "Astral Weeks at the Hollywood Bowl" will soon be released on CD and DVD. Before the shows, Morrison offered this explanation:

“Astral Weeks” songs...were from another sort of place—not what is at all obvious. They are poetry and mythical musings channeled from my imagination...[They] are little poetic stories I made up and set to music...The songs were somewhat channeled works—that is why I called it “Astral Weeks.” As my songwriting has gone on I tend to do the same channeling, so it’s sort of like “Astral Decades,” I guess.

And I will raise my hand up
Into the night time sky
And count the stars
That's shining in your eye
Just to dig it all an' not to wonder
That's just fine
And I'll be satisfied
Not to read in between the lines
And I will walk and talk
In gardens all wet with rain
And I will never, ever, ever, ever
Grow so old again.

Lester Bangs wrote a review of the album back in 1979, and he called it "the rock record with the most significance in my life so far." Bangs said this was " a record about people stunned by life, completely overwhelmed, stalled in their skins, their ages and selves, paralyzed by the enormity of what in one moment of vision they can comprehend." Lester was probably stoned when he wrote that, but even so...the album clearly is shooting for more than your standard rock tropes of girls and cars and the diddy-wah-diddy. Maybe it's worth some late night contemplation.

(You can read the rest of Lester Bang's rambling review by clicking here).

Listen to the title track "Astral Weeks" by clicking the button:

(track removed by request from WEB SHERIFF on behalf of Exile Productions and Exile Publishing. See comments)



Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080


Hi Bob,

On behalf of Exile Productions and Exile Publishing, we would kindly ask you not to post pirate copies of Van Morrison albums / tracks on your site.

We do appreciate that you are fans of / are promoting Van, but Exile would greatly appreciate your co-operation in removing your links to the pirate files in question.

For your readers’ info, up-to-the-minute info on Van’s latest album - Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl - and 2009 shows is, of course, available on and and, for a limited period, you can still see Van's exclusive BBC sessions at . We’re also pleased to announce that an increasing archive of exclusive film footage of Van Morrison performances has now been made available for fans on Exile’s official YouTube channel at

As you will appreciate, this e-mail is written on a without prejudice basis and, as such, all of our clients' accumulated, worldwide rights and remedies remain strictly reserved : please excuse this required formality.

With Thanks & Regards,


Bob Rini said...

I had assumed that track was an official Van Morrison track, but I will remove the link. (The video clip is an official advertisement for the upcoming "Astral Weeks at the Hollywood Bowl" CD and DVD)

My intentions were good, I assure you. As a longtime Van Morrison fan who has has bought plenty of official musical recordings of Van Morrison over the decades, my intention was only to showcase his brilliant music--to alert fellow fans as well as turn on a younger generation of music fans who may never have heard of him.

Respectfully, I wrote what must be called a rave review of his past work and pointed readers toward an upcoming release--which I figured would only help his music. Blogs are tiny fan-driven operations, without the big advertising budgets of the music business, but they can help spread the word.

Believe it or not, our goals may be similar, identrical, if that goal is getting Van Morrison's music out to more people.

I removed the track in question.

Bob Rini