Van Morrison
Veedon Fleece


4.2
excellent

Review

by manosg STAFF
March 11th, 2019 | 14 replies


Release Date: 1974 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A brilliant offering that brings together folk and jazz with a strong Celtic scent.

1973 was a transitional year for Van Morrison. Having divorced from his wife Janet (Planet) Rigsbee (or Brown Eyed Girl), he decided to visit Ireland for the first time in six years with his then-fiancée, in order to find inspiration for his next album. Judging from the outcome, his choice was wise, as during his three-week stay there, he managed to write almost the entire material for what turned out to be Veedon Fleece; an LP that was received poorly by the press and even Morrison learned to love through the years as signified by the inclusion of four Veedon Fleece songs in his collection Lit Up Inside: Selected Lyrics.

Often compared to Astral Weeks, The Belfast Cowboy's 8th offering, is a blend of folk and jazz with a strong Celtic scent and some blues elements. The album has a consistently melancholic mood, moments of pure bliss and others where it almost turns into a religious experience. Its songs flow into one another, sometimes because they share the same theme, like "Linden Arden Stole the Highlights" and "Who Was That Masked Man" (featuring Van singing in falsetto), the country influenced "Bulbs" and "Cul de Sac" or the love ballads “Comfort You” and “Come Here My Love”. Nevertheless, the entire long-player has a very relaxing, dreamlike at times, atmosphere that makes you just want to sit by your window with a cup of warm tea, your favorite book and just enjoy the soundscapes created by Van. Some songs feature more traditional structure while others are looser and it almost feels that the remaining members of the recently disbanded Caledonia Soul Orchestra are feeding off Van’s lyrics and energy. As such, tracks like album highlight "You Don't Pull No Punches But You Don't Push The River" and "Cul De Sac", feel very organic and jam-like. At this point, special mention should be made to Morisson’s backing band who supports ideally his amazing vocal performance that brings to mind that of Astral Weeks with Van creating vivid images and highlighting words/phrases as only he knows.

His lyrics are highly personal and there are many times where he just expresses his feelings and reactions to places or incidents. As a result, the album was characterized as "self-indulgent" when it came out. Even the album’s title feels idiosyncratic, a Van Morrison creation that, according to him, means nothing. Nevertheless, in some magical way, listeners can not only share the bard’s feelings but relate to them and make them their own; even when Van’s lyrics might feel out there, a line might appear that feels so personal and break you down. For example, who hasn’t felt like an outsider and lonely even once in their life like Linden Arden or, otherwise, the “Masked Man”" And how relevant "Bulbs" and "Cul de Sac" still are when they describe the Irish immigrants leaving for the US at the time" Going back to the Celtic elements, “Streets of Arklow” has a bluesy feel but the flute brings a strong Irish flavor to the song and the same is also valid for “Country Fair”; a trait which is expected, considering that the album was mostly written in Ireland and that the same elements were also present on 1972’s Saint Dominic’s Preview.

Lastly, comparing this one to Astral Weeks might seem fitting, but at the same time, it’s like missing the point. “Astral Weeks” is one of a kind, a golden fleece for the vast majority of artists out there. Nevertheless, Morrison’s 1974 long-player is superb in its own right. Beloved by great ones like Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and characterized as one of their all-time favorites by Sinéad O’Connor and Elvis Costello, Veedon Fleece is introspective and evocative, an underrated classic within Van Morrison’s catalog.



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user ratings (75)
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4.1
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Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2019


11601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Needs more love.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2019


8941 Comments


Nice little spotlight, sounds like a pleasant album to dive into. Might have convinced me to give it a listen friendo

Sunnyvale
March 11th 2019


1011 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome, can't believe this album didn't have a review. For my money, Van Morrison's best album besides Astral Weeks.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2019


11601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Cheers, Mars! Appreciate the comment and hope you enjoy, dude.



It's definitely up there, Sunny. I'd say it's probably my fourth favorite after Astral Weeks, Moondance and Poetic Champions Compose.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2019


41594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

glad this got a review, truly beautiful album

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NorthernSkylark
March 11th 2019


9265 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fair play to you!

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wham49
March 11th 2019


4577 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I have neglected this so far, have it in queue, but my in queue backlog is pretty deep, thanks for moving it to the from manosg

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manosg
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2019


11601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Always a pleasure, bud.

Doctuses
March 11th 2019


1916 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

great album great review

JoeTex
March 12th 2019


720 Comments


Good review. need to check this

manosg
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2019


11601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Thanks, man. Hope you enjoy.

deslad
March 14th 2019


634 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Definitely up there with Astral Weeks for me; I slightly prefer this one tbh. Awesome review by the way, this album desperately needed a review that does it justice. I should revisit it soon

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manosg
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2019


11601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Thanks for the kind words! That's really high praise but I can understand someone liking this one over Astral Weeks or Moondance; Leonard Cohen's appreciation alone towards this one is enough to make a case.

deslad
March 17th 2019


634 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really? I didn't know Leonard Cohen's view on this album. Apart from the great songwriting here, for me its also about the stronger folk vibe it emits. And even if someone doesn't really like Van Morrison, "Cul de Sac" is simply phenomenal...



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