Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Van Morrison at the Movies: Soundtrack Hits (Manhattan Records, 2007)

Crass marketing ploy though it may be, it sure is hard to argue with the music. Morrison's music, at least his more accessible music is tailor made for the big screen with it's focus on hummable melody and narrative license. Case in point is Morrison's arguably most well known song "Brown Eyed Girl" that could fit into any boomer-age film imaginable. The amazing thing about this music is no matter how many times you hear a particular song it never seems to get old. Some of his more maudlin numbers do slow the pace a bit, especially when draped with a heavy veil of strings (for dramatic effect, no doubt.) "Have I Told You Lately" may have launched a thousand wedding celebrations, but I think it is the most gag-inducing performance of saccharine schmaltz the great man ever recorded. Thankfully it is counterbalanced by a couple of the early hits from Morrison's first band, Them, who still sound ready for a Belfast street brawl on the R&B influenced "Gloria" and "Baby Please Don't Go." Some nice live performances, particularly from It's Too Late To Stop Now, surely one of the great live albums in rock history are welcome inclusions. This disc is rounded out by a few curios and unreleased performances in an attempt to appeal to the die hard fan. This disc works well on it's own as a proxy greatest hits collection or an introduction to the Van neophyte.

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