Thursday, January 18, 2018

Listening To Jackie De Shannon On Thursday Night.

I haven’t got much to report today. My new bus pass came in the post today which is good. I can travel anywhere I want on the bus for free. I might make use of it next week. Apart from a brief walk to the shops I haven’t done much at all today. I nearly went to the pub earlier but in the end I couldn’t be bothered. At the moment I’m listening to an album called Jackie by Jackie De Shannon. It is a really nice album. I only bought it because of the Van Morrison connection.  I knew that Jackie had sung backing vocals on a couple of Van's albums and had co-written the song Santa Fe which appeared on Van's Wavelength album. One of my favourite Van songs is Warm Love on the album Hard Nose The Highway on which Jackie Sings backing vocals. In the song Van sings, You can bring your guitar along, we'll sing some songs and have some fun. Surely it would be Van who would bring his guitar along. Who is this guitar playing singer he is referring to? Could it be Jackie herself? This got me wondering about Jackie so I investigated further. I knew a bit about her already. She had a top ten hit with What The World Needs Now Is Love and had written hits for The Searchers and Bette Davis Eyes which Kim Carnes had a huge hit with. She had appeared with The Beatles on their first USA tour and in England she had a brief relationship with a young guitarist called Jimmy Page and wrote and recorded with Jimmy.
Jackie & Jimmy Page.

Looking through her discography I noticed that she had made an album in 1972 simply called Jackie and I was interested to see that one of the songs was I Wanna Roo You which was written by Van. What amazed me though was that this album was reissued in 2003 with twelve bonus tracks and four of them were written by Van of which I had never heard of two of them before. As well as some of Jackie's own compositions there are covers of songs by John Prine, Neil Young, Steve Goodman and Drift Away which was a big hit for Dobie Gray and five Van Morrison songs.
Jackie playing Monopoly with George Harrison.
It is the Van songs that I want to talk about. The cover of I Wanna Roo You is quite pleasant and better than the Goldie Hawn version that I have on an album. The other four Van songs were produced by Van for his Caledonia Productions and recorded in Los Angeles on April 11 and 12 1973. They are Sweet Sixteen which was actually released as a single, Flamingos Fly which Van later released himself on A Period Of Transition and The Philosophers Stone album. I think Jackie's version is really good,If you scroll down you can hear it, Santa Fe which they co-wrote and The Wonder Of You which is excellent. Listening carefully to these tracks I am quite certain that it is Van on backing vocals.

Jackie DeShannon - Flamingos Fly ( 1973 )

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Before The World Was Made.

It was a lazy day today. I didn’t feel like going out anywhere. I sold a book about Francis Bacon so I will have to post that in the morning. I sat by the fire all afternoon reading my Nick Drake biography. I was pleased to read that when Nick was a student at Cambridge he used to listen to Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. I have always thought that some of Nick’s songs had a Van vibe about them and that confirmed it for me. On the subject of Van, talking a couple of nights ago about the Cranberries & Van both being on a W.B Yeats tribute album reminded me of a piece I wrote quite a while ago about the influence of Yeats on Van, so I just dusted it off in case you wanted to read it.

When I moved to Westbury in 1987 I got to know this man called Sean who came from County Sligo. He was a real character and told me lots of interesting and funny stories. He had been in the Irish army in his early days. One night in the pub he told me that in 1948 because of being in the army he had been present at the re-burial of WB Yeats. I looked it up and found out that sure enough Yeats had died in France in 1939 but in 1948 he was exhumed and returned to Ireland and according to his wishes buried in Drumcliffe Churchyard in Sligo. The words that are on his headstone appear in Vans song Here Comes The Knight on the No Guru album. 'Cast a cold eye on life, on death'. Van has been influenced very much by WB Yeats and his work has been littered with Yeats references, so this might be a good place to look at Yeats's influence on Van.Crazy Jane On God was a Yeats poem that Van set to music and was meant to appear on the A Sense Of Wonder album but the trustees of Yeats estate refused permission. It eventually appeared on The Philosophers Stone album and is quite superb. Before The World Was Made is one of the best tracks on Too Long In Exile and is adapted from Yeats poem ‘A Woman Young And Old’ originally published in 1933.
If I make the lashes dark, And the eyes more bright, And the lips more scarlet, Or ask if all be right, From mirror after mirror, No vanity's displayed, I'm looking for the face I had, Before the world was made.
Van donated this song to an album called Now And In Time to Be which I heartily recommend in which various artists such as the Waterboys,Christy Moore,Shane McGowan,The Cranberries,Richard Harris and many others recite or sing Yeats poems. In Summertime In England Van mentions Yeats and Lady Gregory corresponding,corresponding. I have heard it suggested that Rough God Goes Riding was inspired by Yeats poem The Second Coming but I’m not sure about that. He may have got the idea from Robin Williamson's song For Mr Thomas which Van also covered. When I first got the Avalon Sunset album the cover reminded me of Yeats poem The Wild Swans At Coole. Van’s song When The Leaves Come Falling Down made me think of Yeat's poem The Falling Of The Leaves. In Rave On John Donne we have,
Rave on let a man come out of Ireland, Rave on Mr Yeats, Rave on down through the Holy Rosey Cross, Rave on down through theosophy, and the Golden Dawn, Rave on through the writing of ‘A Vision’.

There are a lot of similarities between Van and William Butler Yeats. Both were very interested in the occult and mysticism, theosophy etc and influenced by Blake and Swedenborg. Even recently Van has been mentioning the mystic church of Swedenborg in Notting Hill in his live concerts. The thing that really, I find interesting in this verse is the reference to the writing of 'A Vision'.

‘A Vision’ was privately published in 1925, a book-length study of various philosophical, historical, astrological, and poetic topics by Yeats who wrote these works while experimenting with automatic writing with his wife. On the 20th October 1917, three days after her twenty-fifth birthday, George Hyde Lees married the fifty-two-year-old poet. The partnership of Yeats and George Hyde Lees is one of the most extraordinary and creative in the literary world. The most important partner in this continuing study was his wife. Nothing that had happened to him before was more dramatically exciting than the automatic writing of his wife. Georgie died in 1968 the year Astral Weeks was recorded. Was Georgie Hyde-Lees the inspiration for Madame George? I don’t think so because Van left school at age 15 and probably not even aware of Yeats. It was only later when he educated himself with reading that William Butler influenced his work. I think that the identity of Madame George should be an enigma forever shrouded in a mystery and just enjoy the music.

Van Morrison - Before the World Was Made.wmv

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Nice Day In Warminster.

I had quite a good day today. Caught the 11.25 over to Warminster. First stop was the Ink Shop because I needed more ink & paper. The colours, the black & a ream of paper came to £48. That was depressing, I’m trying to cut down on my spending. Then I went to Raves From The Grave because it’s a friends 60th birthday party on Saturday. I bought him Neil Young’s Greatest Hits. I hope he hasn’t got it already and likes it. If somebody bought me it I would like it, that’s for sure.Then I hit the charity shops. I was really pleased to find a copy of The Lords/ The New Creatures by Jim Morrison, published in 1985. That was like hitting pay dirt. I was really chuffed. I have never seen that book before. That was in the British Heart Foundation Shop. Then in another shop, It might have been Red Cross I found a nice hardback copy of a Nick Drake Biography and also a Bruce Springsteen book. I was well pleased. They will all go in my shop tomorrow.

After that I met a friend in Wetherspoons and we shared a bottle of wine. I got her to take my photo with Jim Morrison. Then the afternoon descended into a mist. It was a great afternoon though. When I got home I found the postman had delivered a Van Morrison DVD from a kind friend so all in all it was a great day. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Pat In The Kitchen

Filthy Oven Door
Last night about midnight I was wide awake and I don't know why but I started cleaning my kitchen. It's not very rock n roll but I didn't stop scrubbing my kitchen floor till about four in the morning. Today It was rainy & cold and I didn't feel like going out so I cleaned my oven. That was hard work I can tell you. I don't think I had cleaned it in five years. I took some before and after photos to show you how filthy it was and how clean afterwards.
Clean Oven Door.

I was very sorry to hear on the news about the sudden death of Dolores O'Riordan in London today. I don't think she ever worked with Van Morrison but The Cranberries & Van both contributed songs to a great  album called 'Now And In Time To Be' which was a tribute to W.B. Yeats. Van's song was 'Before The World Was Made' and The Cranberries  contributed 'Yeats Grave' (See Video)

I must go out tomorrow because I haven't seen a soul for days.

CRANBERRIES - Yeats Grave [New York 1994]

Listening To Jackie De Shannon On Thursday Night.

I haven’t got much to report today. My new bus pass came in the post today which is good. I can travel anywhere I want on the bus for fre...