Common One (Remastered) Van Morrison
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- 1Haunts of Ancient Peace07:12
- 2Summertime In England15:40
- 4Wild Honey05:50
- 6When Heart Is Open15:06
- 7Haunts of Ancient Peace (alternative take)07:44
- 8When Heart is Open (alternative take)07:43
Info for Common One (Remastered)
"Common One" is the twelfth studio album by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1980. It's title comes from the 3/4 section of the song "Summertime in England", where Morrison sings the lyrics "Oh, my common one with the coat so old and the light in her head".
American critics voted it the 27th best album of 1980 in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop poll. In an accompanying essay, poll supervisor Robert Christgau wrote, "As somebody who considers Moondance an apotheosis and has never gotten Astral Weeks, I think this is his worst since Hard Nose the Highway – sententious, torpid, abandoned by God. I know lots of Astral Weeks fans who agree. But Morrison has a direct line to certain souls, and they still hear him talkin'." In retrospect, he deemed "Satisfied" and "Summer in England" to be the record's highlights. AllMusic later wrote, "No wonder the rock critics of the time didn't get it; this is music outside the pop mainstream, and even Morrison's own earlier musical territory. But it retains its trancelike power to this day." In 2009, Erik Hage said "the dominant critical reaction represented it as prohibitive, sententious, and inaccessible, when in fact it is filled with much melody and beauty."
"Van Morrison was working through one of his greatest -- yet least appreciated -- creative periods when he made this album, one that burrows deeply into an introspective jazz-rooted spiritual groove. With Mark Isham's lonely muted trumpet up front, listeners are in the jazz world immediately with "Haunts of Ancient Peace," merging perfectly with Morrison's idiosyncratic vocal style. A low-pressure soul-jazz organ riff lays down the base of the most easily assimilated track, "Satisfied," as Morrison's lyric indicates that he has reached a state of internal peace. "Wild Honey" has R&B horn riffs over Philly-style strings, while "Spirit" mostly pursues a self-fulfillment path similar to that of "Satisfied." Ultimately, the record stands or falls upon two remarkable, gigantic 15-minute pieces, "Summertime in England" and "When Heart Is Open." The propulsive opening of "Summertime" drops names of Morrison's favorite poets and authors; the track teeters upon indulgence but you are drawn in by Morrison's obsessions with lines and phrases like "common one" and "let your red robe go," his voice becoming a twin brother of arranger Pee Wee Ellis' riffing sax. Lonely horns over the hilltops open "When Heart Is Open," and it begins to resemble a sequel to Miles Davis' treatment of "In a Silent Way," setting a peaceful, mesmerizing mood that carries you through its enormous length to the end of the record. No wonder the rock critics of the time didn't get it; this is music outside the pop mainstream, and even Morrison's own earlier musical territory. But it retains its trancelike power to this day." (Richard S. Ginell, AMG)
Van Morrison, vocals, guitar, harmonica
Mick Cox, lead guitar
David Hayes, bass, backing vocals
Peter Van Hooke, drums
Mark Isham, trumpet, flugelhorn
John Allair, Hammond organ, piano, Fender Rhodes, backing vocals
Herbie Armstrong, guitar, backing vocals
Pee Wee Ellis, tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, flute
Pete Brewis, backing vocals on "Satisfied" with the band Digitally remastered
One of music’s true originals Van Morrison’s unique and inspirational musical legacy is rooted in postwar Belfast.
Born in 1945 Van heard his Shipyard worker father’s collection of blues, country and gospel early in life.
Feeding off musical greats such as Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Muddy Waters, Mahalia Jackson and Leadbelly he was a travelling musician at 13 and singing, playing guitar and sax, in several bands, before forming Them in 1964.
Making their name at Belfast’s Maritime Club Them soon established Van as a major force in the British R&B scene. Morrison’s matchless vocal and songwriting talents produced instant classics such as the much covered ‘Gloria’ and ‘Here Comes The Night’.
Those talents found full astonishing range in Van’s solo career.
After working with Them’s New York producer Bert Berns on beautiful Top 40 pop hit ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ (1967), Morrison moved to another realm.
Recorded over 3 days with legendary jazz musicians Astral Weeks (1968) is a still singular album combining street poetry, jazz improvisation, Celtic invocation and Afro Celtic Blues wailing.
Morrison would weave these and myriad other influences into the albums that followed in quick succession.
Reflecting on new life in America on the joyous Sinatra soul of Moondance (1970) and the country inflected Tupelo Honey (1971) he summoned old spiritual and ancestral life in the epic St Dominic’s Preview (1972) closer track Listen To The Lion.
Double live album Too Late To Stop Now (1973) highlighted Morrison’s superlative performing and bandleader skills. Mapping out a richly varied musical course throughout the 70s he shone among an all-star cast including Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters on The Band’s Last Waltz.
Indeed, borne of his Irish Showband instincts, the magic of the live performance has been a consistent feature of Morrison’s career.
Settling back into life in the UK in 1980 he released Common One an album centring on Summertime In England an extraordinary invocation of literary, sensual and spiritual pleasure the song would often become a thrilling improvised centrepiece to his live shows.
Steering his own course throughout the 80s on albums such as No Guru, No Method, No Teacher he claimed Celtic roots with The Chieftains on Irish Heartbeat. Teaming with Georgie Fame brought new impetus to his live show while Avalon Sunset saw him back in the album and single charts by the decades end.
Van Morrison continued to advance on his status as a game- changing artist through the 90s and into the 21st century.
Awards and accolades - a Brit, an OBE, an Ivor Novello, 6 Grammys, honourary doctorates from Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, entry into The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and the French Ordres Des Artes Et Des Lettres - attested to the international reach of Van’s musical art.
Yet there was never any suggestion that Morrison, one of the most prolific recording artists and hardest working live performers of his era, would ever rest on his laurels.
Collaborations with, among others, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, Lonnie Donegan, Mose Allison and Tom Jones confirmed the breadth of his musical reach.
Morrison’s visionary songwriting and mastery of many genres continued to shine on albums celebrating and re-exploring his blues, jazz, skiffle and country roots.
The influence of the musical journey that began back in Post War Belfast stretches across the generations, and Morrison’s questing hunger insures that the journey itself continues.
Constantly reshaping his musical history in live performance, Morrison reclaimed Astral Weeks on 2009’s album Live At The Hollywood Bowl.
The subtitle of Van Morrison's latest album, Born to Sing: No Plan B, indicates the power that music still holds for this living legend. "No Plan B means this is not a rehearsal," says Morrison. "That’s the main thing—it’s not a hobby, it’s real, happening now, in real time."
With one of the most revered catalogues in music history and his unparalleled talents as composer, singer and performer Morrison’s past achievements loom large. But, as throughout his extraordinary career, how that past informs his future achievements and still stirs excitement and keen anticipation.
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