I am by no stretch of the imagination a musical authority, or someone who knows a great deal about music genre's, and particular artists. However, I have always loved Van Morrison's earthy, deep and bluesy vocals. Well I have loved them since my teen years, and Van Morrison's days with the sixties group Them.
In my early teen years, most towns and cities local ABC cinemas, also held shows with pop groups of the day, as well as showing films. On a night's billing you would often get six or seven artists or groups. To give you an idea of the range of artists, these ABC's had, at various times, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and many more. Many of the other bands, also went on to become famous, and still are today.
On one particular billing, Them with Van Morrison as singer, were second billing to Billy Fury. At the time 'Here comes the night', was on general release and in the charts. As a 14 year old, who was really too young for these shows, I usually got in with my older brother. From hearing Van Morrison back then, I have always loved his voice.
So after my background to Mr Morrison what of his.
Van was born on the 31st August 1945 and subsequently named George Morrison. He grew up in East Belfast, an only child of a couple who were not as poor as many of the day. His Mum,Violet, was a singer and his Dad, George, had an eclectic taste in music, loving Jazz and American Blues. Because of this, Van grew up listening to some of the now late, but still great, blues singer's, such as Lead Belly.
He was bought and given his first guitar, at the age of twelve. His first band was formed with schoolfriends ,playing skiffle music of the day. They were very aptly, for the period, called The Sputniks.
At the ripe old age of 14, Morrison left school and was expected to begin regular settled employment. Eventually, he became a window cleaner. Throughout this time, he was still performing music locally, with a few different bands.
By the age of 17, he left home to tour Europe, with a band called The Monarchs. Moving on to join another group called the Gamblers, Van begun his career in music. By the time The Gamblers and Van performed together, the group had been renamed Them and, as they say, the rest is history.
By the seventies Them were no more and 'Van the Man', as he is known to his fans, was recording music in a different vein. His deep and blusey voice remained the same, but the style of music had changed and moved on. After very successful albums, such as Astral Weeks and Moondance, Van's place in musical history was assured.
As a sixty something these days, Van is now Mr Van Morrison O.B.E .
The man has made many great albums with memorable tracks, from the early Brown Eyed Girl and Gloria, to his much more modern offerings. For me. he retains a timeless appeal and is still a great rocker, though not in the traditional sense. I love his version of 'Dark side of the road'.
Hubby and I were lucky enough to see Van perform locally about five years ago and, as usual, Van certainly came up with the goods. His supporting band were excellent and Van's performance as always was outstanding.
Listening to him at both live performances, nearly 40 years apart, the voice is as strong as ever, and the music just as relevant.