Van Morrison Melody Maker - Essay

Melody Maker

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[In compiling "Them, Featuring Van Morrison Lead Singer", Nick] Tauber has had a relatively easy task in selecting essentially from the two albums that Van made with Them—he's got all the accepted classics like "Gloria," "Here Comes The Night" and "Mystic Eyes"—but he's also come up with a number called "Hey Girl," totally new to me, whose pastoral lyricism is quite unlike the rawness of the rest of the material and seems to presage "Astral Weeks" in its introspection. Generally, though, what's fascinating about this early stuff is how favourably it compares to what Morrison has since done on his own…. But Morrison's own potential is so obvious—and not just vocally—that it's difficult to see why interest didn't truly focus on him until "Madame George" at the end of '68. Why is it that the Animals, whose sound was roughly comparable, were more accepted, both by public and critics? Conversely, of course, Eric Burdon now finds it hard to whip up enthusiasm, while Morrison mythologises himself with each new album. This compilation makes me think that a book of history and analysis is about due on him.

M. W., "Pop Albums: 'Them'," in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), November 3, 1973, p. 32.