Van Morrison

The Early Years: 1967-1968

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Metro's Early Years: 1967-1968 collection is comprised of the (much compiled) recordings Van Morrison made for Bang! after his split from Them. Teaming with Brill Building vet producer Bert Berns, Morrison's wild-eyed lyricism is often a tight fit with Berns' straight-ahead commercial sound (see the silly but fun "Chick-a-Boom" for an example). Still, a number of great songs can be found here, including the all-time great "Brown Eyed Girl," "The Back Room," "He Ain't Give You None," and "Ro Ro Rosey." Early versions of tracks from Astral Weeks, "Madame George" and "T.B. Sheets," also appear. Despite Van's objections to being a pop artist, the conflict between the two styles makes for some very interesting and invigorating listening. These sessions aren't vital to the casual Morrison fan, but anyone whose love of the man goes beyond the hits needs to add these to their collection. The best place to go is Legacy's Bang Masters as it is a legitimate and well-mastered set that includes all the songs from the sessions. This collection for some reason only has 12 of the 18, making it woefully incomplete.

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