Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

Published on 10 October 2019 by

      Van Morrison – Astral Weeks is the second solo album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in November 1968 on Warner Bros. Records. Widely acclaimed, it has had an enduring impact on both listeners and other musicians. With a blending of folk, blues, jazz, and classical music, it was a complete departure from his previous pop hit, “Brown Eyed Girl” (1967). Astral Weeks is often referred to as a song cycle or concept album with lyrics described as impressionistic, hypnotic, and stream-of-consciousness. It received critical acclaim immediately upon its first release and subsequently has been placed on numerous widely circulated lists of best albums of all time. In 1987, as part of their 20th anniversary, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number seven on “The 100 Best Albums of the Last Twenty Years”. The 1995 Mojo list of the 100 Best Albums ranked it as number two, and it ranked nineteenth on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003.

      William Ruhlmann: Van Morrison – Astral Weeks is generally considered one of the best albums in pop music history. For all that renown, Astral Weeks is anything but an archetypal rock & roll album: in fact, it isn’t a rock & roll album at all. Employing a mixture of folk, blues, jazz, and classical music, Van Morrison spins out a series of extended ruminations on his Belfast upbringing, including the remarkable character “Madame George” and the climactic epiphany experienced on “Cyprus Avenue.” Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, Morrison sings in his elastic, bluesy voice, accompanied by a jazz rhythm section (Jay Berliner, guitar, Richard Davis, bass, Connie Kay, drums), plus reeds (John Payne) and vibes (Warren Smith, Jr.), with a string quartet overdubbed. An emotional outpouring cast in delicate musical structures, Van Morrison – Astral Weeks has a unique musical power. Unlike any record before or since, it nevertheless encompasses the passion and tenderness that have always mixed in the best postwar popular music, easily justifying the critics’ raves. ‘


Van Morrison – Astral Weeks Tracklist

  1. 00:00 “Astral Weeks”
  2. 07:03 “Beside You”
  3. 12:16 “Sweet Thing”
  4. 16:38 “Cyprus Avenue”
  5. 23:34 “The Way Young Lovers Do”
  6. 26:45 “Madame George”
  7. 36:20 “Ballerina”
  8. 43:19 “Slim Slow Slider”

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