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Spin #6 : Van Morrison : Veedon Fleece

Updated: Jul 1, 2022

Band Members on record : Van Morrison (Compositions/Vocals), Ralph Walsh + John Tropea (Guitars), David Hayes + Joe Macho (Bass), Dahaud Shaar + Allen Swartzburg (Drums), Nathan Rubin + Terry Adams (Strings), Jim Rothermel (Flute and Recorder), Jack Schroer (Soprano Saxophone), Jeff Labes + James Trumbo (Keyboards)





Van Morrison : Veedon Fleece

Year Released : 2019 (1974 Original release)

Produced by Van Morrison

Label: Sony - This version is Vinyl Me Please (VMP) club edition

Price Range: $70AUD +

Speed: 33 1/3RPM

Album Before : Hard Nose the Highway (1973)

Album After : A Period of Transition - (1977)

Further Listening: Silk Degrees - Boz Scaggs (1976)

LP : 1 x 180gm green


Mood for enjoying: I can't explain it but everytime I listen to this record, I instantly feel warm and relaxed. It is such a calming album and goes well with headphones and a hot cup of coffee/tea


Track Listing:

LP

Side A

Fair Play - 6:14

Linden Arden Stole The Highlights - 2:37

Who Was That Masked Man - 2:55

Streets Of Arklow - 4:22

You Don't Pull No Punches, But You Don't Push The River - 8:51


Side B

Bulbs - 4:18

Cul De Sac - 5:51

Comfort You - 4:25

Come Here My Love - 2:21

Country Fair - 5:42


What's in the Sleeve?

Pearlescent cover for this 2019 Vinyl Me Please record club edition, 180gram green LP with artwork included inspired by the album. Record sleeve has lyrics on one side and photographs of Van on the other.

"In fathoms of my inner mind, I'm mystified, oh, by this mood. This melancholy feeling that just don't do no good. Come Here my love and I will lift my spirts high for you " ~ Come Here My Love - Side B

Welcome to Spin #6 - Van Morrison : Veedon Fleece


It's that time of the week again here at R'nR With Rylo and Welcome to our #6 Spin. We are currently getting an absolute deluge of rain which has me asking when will the sun come back out? I suppose if we do have to be stuck inside, listening to this weeks Spin, Van Morrison : Veedon Fleece is a pretty good choice. If you have not heard of Van Morrison, then welcome and where have you been. If you have, maybe you might not be familiar with this record. Everyone knows Astral Weeks and Moondance but I personally love this record and what it brings.


A few years ago I was an active member of a record of the month club from the United States of America called Vinyl Me Please! It has added so much happiness to our record collection and one of our best sounding records is the first repress in 30 years of Veedon Fleece. It's sold out from VMP and you will need to be put on a waitlist or you can try picking up a copy from discogs, although be prepared to pay a hefty price.


I remember getting this record and opening it up with a lot of anticipation due to how few copies there are of it available. It's the feeling I get from the entire album, from that very first note that makes this a must. It has been way too long between spins and as I hold the record in my hand I can feel the excitement building. VMP has taken great care with this repress and the cover of Van Morrison with two Irish Wolfhounds in a pearlescent finish is a nice touch. Morrison made this album as a healing album during a three week trip to Ireland after his divorce in order to reinvigorate his life. I like records that have the lyrics printed so I can follow along and this record has them in legible print on the record slip.


For the review I used the set up in our back room (Marshall Woburn II speaker and the AudioTechnica BT turntable). In the past, I've listened to this record through my Sennheiser headphones and it sounded amazing. This time I can hear the rain lightly hitting our tin roof as wifey and I are having a cuppa and I feel that it is adding to the ambience of the spin. Lets drop the stylus and get some much needed R'nR!


 

Drop the Needle (of course means place the stylus nicely on your wax):


The stylus hits the record and the first track on Side A, 'Fair Play' slowly comes through the speakers before Morrison's distinct voice starts to sing. This instantly relaxes me and I want to know if this has the same effect on you. I like the lyrics "It's a very fine line, but you've got the mind child to carry on. When it's just about to be carried on". It has a hypnotising flow and is remastered from the original tapes so well. Hats off to the people behind this press and also the original production on the album. This song is lyrically about giving respect to someone else with the expression of "fair play to you" and has a lot of replay value for me.


The second song on Side A is "Linden Arden Stole the Highlights". Morrison is singing along to the piano and its the simplicity of this song that gives it strength. Its short and sweet and is differing in feel to the style of the first song. I didn't research who Linden Arden is/was but Morrison is dedicating this song and narrating their story. The song ends and flows nicely into the third song on, "Who Was That Masked Man". If this was the record that healed Morrison then this is the song he lets it all go on this record so far. "Oh ain't it lonely when you're livin' with a gun?" As I listen along I am looking at my wife getting excited about the veggie garden and how successful her crop was on her first go. She is my inspiration and I find myself thinking of how far we have come when I listen to records like this. Our daughter is bouncing along in her jolly jumper having a blast. You'd swear the sun was out and everything was perfect but I am appreciating just how good this moment is. For me, music is like a timestamp and I can usually think of a song played during a moment and instantly transport myself there again.


If there is a gruff sounding Morrison on this album, it is during song four on Side A, 'Streets of Arklow'. I like the darker sounding voice mixed with the fairy/folky sounding music. "And the gypsy's rode, With their hearts on fire. They say "we love to wander". Currently this would be my favourite song on the record. I like the finish of the song as all the pipe instruments come through so crisply. It leads nicely into the last song on Side A, 'You Don't Pull No Punches, But you Don't Push the River'. The longest song on the album and the song that mentions the album title within the lyrics. Make sure to have the lyric sheet in you hands for this song to be able to follow along with. Its a folk story and bookends the first side nicely. Its a strong Side A of music and this song makes me think who was the song aimed at and what is the meaning of it (in a pondering way). Also the song name could easily be used as a Bob Dylan song. Whilst growing up my family had a game where we would create funny song titles and write it on a list on the fridge. The list ended up having over 50 songs on it and now the joke is, "That could be a Bob Dylan song".


It's time to flip over the LP to play Side B with song 'Bulbs' which has the guitar and bass really coming through clearly. It's instantly more upbeat and high tempo compared to Side A and has that country vibe. This is a fun song to sing along to and would sound incredible during his live show. If you enjoy piano, then the second song on Side B will excite you and get you wanting to play along.


'Cul De Sac' is the slow waltz song on the album that you would grab your significant others hand and start dancing along with. It just hits nicely and the slow drums make it probably my second favourite song on the album, because of this visual it gives. This flows into the similar sounding next song, 'Comfort You' which shows Morrison singing his emotions towards his ex wife (I assume). They may no longer be together but he still feels close enough to show his compassion to what they had. Once again Morrison is just letting it all come through on these songs and it feels effortless. So far, not sure why this was reviewed so poorly upon release.


Side B continues with the different sounding 'Come Here My Love' which has my favourite lyric {posted above} on the record. Morrisons voice sounds quieter and stripped back. I wish he had this vocal sound on more songs on this record and it makes this song stand out to me. It's a sad and personal song lyrically and sounding and can make you reflect a lot on the current way of the world. I found myself drifting away in my thoughts to this song but still taking in the music. Our daughter has had enough of the jolly jumper now and she knows there is only once song left.


Last song on this album is 'Country Fair' which has a similar sound at the start to a Mars Volta song off Frances the Mute album (for a small moment) before Morrison's voice comes across the speaker. Still very impressed with the press from VMP and its flawless production with no warp at all. This song is similar in pace to Side A and leaves us as listeners wanting more. It would be three years or so before Morrison released another studio album and upon release Veedon Fleece wasn't favoured well amongst critics. Over the years its become the lost masterpiece of his discography. If you look at the photos below you will see the quality of the repress. I would recommend this album to anyone's collection without a doubt.


It ends and the stylus comes to a halt before returning back to its cradle. The rain is still pouring down but the lingering sound of Morrison makes me want to spin this one again.


I hope you enjoyed listening along or just reading through our latest Spin with us. Don't forget to give this record a listen if you didn't get a chance yet and definitely recommend you add it to your collection. Give us a like on our social pages and check out the cups on our merch tab if you love a cuppa while taking some much deserved R'nR time. If you'd like one of our shirts as pictured, please let us know as they will soon be hitting the Merch store.


Until our next Spin, Be Kind to your Ears and Be Kind to your Wax!