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This review is from: Astral Weeks - Live At The Hollywood Bowl (Audio CD)
One Irish Rover returns with a fantastic live offering.
Well it was always a possibility that one day Van would put out the definative Astral Weeks.
It has always divided his fans hopefully the release will redress the balance. The original always had a unfinished feel to it with tracks fading out out of tune bits etc and Van had always hinted it was not released the way he had intended as in those days an album seldom ran more than 40 mins.
So here we have a classic live album that retains the qualities of the original by using some the original musicians (the playing is superb) and the same basic instrumentation The result is a great (live) Van Album we can take a walk down Cypress Ave visit Madame George and get a chance to Listen to the Lion with the Common One (songs drawn in that were'nt on the Original) Ok Van has never produced a really bad album (even Blowin your Mind /TB Sheets and others had their Moments) but their have been albums where when revisited in hindsight have great songs on them Van realises this and so now we are getting reissues with Alt versions and remasters but Van does and what he feels is good at the time. Sometimes it pays off then again sometimes it doesn't,but coming from Belfast, Van says what he thinks and does what he does thus he makes music. He has done this for a long time it can't be put into a box or catagorised Van is a soulman he sings from the heart but he does it in the troubadour fashion of a folksinger with the panache of rock & roll but with a poet's eye and a jazzman's ear, he has one foot rooted in the country tradition too another in the Irish/ Celtic like Dylan he transcends just being a blues singer or whatever you first thought he was.
Kevin Rowlands came up with the term Celtic Soul Brother which sort of covers some of the bases.
Now the thing is if you are a casual listener who maybe liked the Greatest hits then the Original Astral Weeks may not be your cup of tea but just listen to The Way Young Lovers Do or Beside You on this album then you will find out Why Belfast is short of a window cleaner these days..