May 19: Van Morrison released Avalon Sunset in 1989
“You have to remember that writing those sorta songs is not reality, it’s more like trance, dream, y’know, like dreamwork. The mythical thing can enter the creating but there’s the mythical place and the real place. And there’s both…I get it between waking and sleeping. Or, when I’m doing something else. I don’t sit down and think I’m gonna write about subject X or subject Y. I could be doing something and an impression comes in from outside and the song emerges out of that. It’s never thought about or contrived.”
– Van Morrison (NME, 1989)
Avalon Sunset is the nineteenth studio album by Van Morrison, it was released May 19, 1989. It is one his finest!
It is not on Spotify, but let us go through the album song by song.
The album opens with “Whenever God Shines His Light“, issued as a successful single that charted at #20 in the U.K. and was a duet with Cliff Richard.
And if California slides into the ocean Like the mystics and statistics say it will I predict this motel will be standing Until I pay my bill.
May 18: Warren Zevon released Warren Zevon (album) in 1976
We love Warren Zevon here at BTL and today it is 40 years since his big studio debut Warren Zevon (the album). A classic album that really has stood the test of time.
Though only a modest commercial success, the Browne-produced Warren Zevon (1976) would later be termed a masterpiece in the first edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide and is cited in the book’s most recently revised edition as Zevon’s most realized work. Representative tracks include the junkie’s lament “Carmelita”; the Copland-esque outlaw ballad “Frank and Jesse James”; “The French Inhaler”, a scathing insider’s look at life and lust in the L.A. music business (which was, in fact, about his long-time girlfriend and mother to his son Jordan); and “Desperados Under the Eaves”, a chronicle of Zevon’s increasing alcoholism.
Warren Zevon (with Jackson Browne) – Mohammed’s Radio live on British TV in 1976:
“Buffett I guess. Lightfoot. Warren Zevon. Randy. John Prine. Guy Clark. Those kinds of writers.” – Bob Dylan (on the question about favorite songwriters asked by Bill Flanagan in 2009)
I have no reason to sit home and write songs all day without going out and playing for the folks. And I have no reason to go play for the folks unless I’m writing new songs so they can sort of feed off one another. And I just try to do the best I can.
Guy Clark doesn’t just write songs, he crafts them with the kind of hands-on care and respect that a master carpenter (a favorite image of his) would have when faced with a stack of rare hardwood.
~Kurt Wolff (allmusic.com)
On May 17, 2016, Clark’s death was announced on his Facebook page.
Guy Clark, the Texas troubadour who blended high wit with pure poetry and turned it into timeless, vibrantly visual songs like “Desperados Waiting for a Train” and “L.A Freeway,” died today at the age of 74.
Desperados Waiting For A Train (FANTASTIC version from the legendary “Heartworn Highways” DVD):
Van Morrison in Ireland is the first official video by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1981 of a concert Morrison recorded in Northern Ireland two years earlier. The video also shows footage of the band whilst touring in Ireland and images of Belfast, including Hyndford Street and Cyprus Avenue.
“The band display a range of textures reminiscent of The Caledonia Soul Orchestra, first with the dark resonance of Toni Marcus’ violin, then Pat Kyle’s bright sharp tenor sax and finally Bobby Tench’s prickly electric guitar”.
– Tony Stewart (NME)
This concert featured the band with which Morrison recorded his 1978 album Wavelength, augmented by a horn section and violinist. The concert included two songs from Wavelength, the title track and “Checkin’ It Out”. The rest of the songs had originally been recorded at least seven years earlier, the latest of these being “Saint Dominic’s Preview” from 1972. Also on the video are two songs Morrison had recorded when fronting the band Them in the mid 1960s — “Don’t Look Back” and “Gloria”.
Highlight: A funky as hell rendition of I’ve been working
Classic concert: Van Morrison Capitol Theatre Oct 6 1979
The Capitol Theatre was an entertainment venue located at the intersection of Monroe Street and Central Avenue in Passaic, New Jersey. Built in 1926 as a vaudeville house, the Capitol later served as a movie theater (in its later years a XXX movie theatre) and (after John Scher bought the property) a venue for rock concerts.
Throughout the 1970s and into the mid-1980s, the 3,200 seat theatre was a popular stop on nearly every major rock artist’s tour. The venue was known for its in house video system which resulted in a number of good quality, black and white video bootlegs. After it closed, the building fell into disrepair and it was demolished in April 1991.