Van Morrison

Brown Eyed Girl [Collectables]

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After Van Morrison left Them in 1967, he signed with legendary New York producer/songwriter Bert Berns' Bang label. Morrison's stormy relationship with Berns didn't preclude the two geniuses from making some amazing music. Collectables' Brown Eyed Girl collects a handful of the Bang tracks, and the result is a great listen that is ultimately unsatisfying. The collection contains six of the eight tracks from Morrison's only full-length on Bang, Blowin' Your Mind!, including the huge smash "Brown Eyed Girl," the laid-back ballad "He Ain't Give You None," the storming blue-eyed soul of "Ro Ro Rosey" and "Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)," the Drifters-influenced "Spanish Rose," and the closing-time blues of "Who Drove the Red Sports Car." The other four tracks are a random collection of Bang recordings, including the ramshackle epic poetry of the pre-Astral Weeks version of "Madame George," the rambling talking blues of "The Back Room," the somewhat generic rocking blues of "Send Your Mind," and the pounding folk-rock of "Joe Harper Saturday Morning." The music is great, no doubt; where the problem lies is in the package. This material is available on at least five or six other discs, ranging from a reissue of Blowin' Your Mind! to a collection of all of the official Bang masters to a double-disc collection of masters and outtakes. Sure, this is a cheap way to get "Brown Eyed Girl," but anyone who doesn't already have the complete Bang Masters set on Sony Legacy absolutely needs to spend the extra three or four dollars and get it. This is really no time to save a few bucks.

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