Van Morrison

Here Comes Van Morrison & Them & the Blizzards & the Monarchs

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This 18-track bootleg collects virtually all of the rare and unreleased material that's known to exist with Van Morrison as a singer before he started his solo career. Most of it, in fact, is unreleased, and while not much of it is on par with his better Them recordings, there are some good performances here, especially the Them tracks, which comprise ten of the songs. Among those are fine 1965 BBC versions of "Gloria," "Here Comes the Night," "All by Myself," and "One More Time"; slightly tentative, slightly incomplete 1964 studio demos of "Don't Start Crying Now" and "Stormy Monday Blues"; ragged renditions of "Here Comes the Night" and "Turn on Your Lovelight" from their April 1965 NME Pollwinners Concert appearance; an OK live version of "Baby Please Don't Go," done in the U.S. in 1966; and "Mighty Like a Rose," the only officially released Morrison-sung Them studio song never to come out on official CD, though it was on the 1974 LP compilation Backtrackin'. The most off-the-beaten-track material on this bootleg comes from a post-Them 1967 performance in Holland on which he's backed by the Dutch band Cuby & the Blizzards. While the fidelity on these six songs is borderline (though listenable), the group supports him ably on renditions of six Them tunes, including the classics "Mystic Eyes" and "Gloria." Rounding out the disc are the two songs from the 1963 German single by the Monarchs on which Morrison plays saxophone; these are pretty dumb rock & roll tunes, but of interest for serious Van fans as marking his first appearance on disc.