Udeman: Van Morrison

I haven't written a Udeman homage for some time; longtime readers know the drill: a man over 50 with talent, physical appeal and (the Udeman pinnacle) uncontrived menschiness.

Van the Man has been under consideration for Udeman status for years. My friends who have met him might challenge his elevation, for he is by reports short on criterion #3, reportedly quite difficult, a hairtrigger temper twinned with huge ego. He does not issue adorable quotes about how much he owes to his beloved partner; he's not described as kindly.

What Van has: a
mighty intensity of soul welded to songwriting artistry that still moves me to a nearly altered state. A voice that comes from the sensual/spiritual core. Squat and solid, he stands on stage like a man lashed to a mast, and when he feels like it, delivers a fervent witnessing of life that few feel, let alone summon.

He is usually on people's "Music I Would Take to a Desert Island" lists; if I could not take the actual music, I'd replay it in my head.

Born in Belfast of parents of Scots descent, Morrison has said he has "the spirit of Caledonia"–the ancient Roman name for Scotland and Northern Britain–in his soul.

I've attended Van Morrison concerts without Van in attendance, and others where he barely looked at the audience. But a world without Van would be a few blue hues less splendid. Hundreds of artists cover his music, but few offer more than a respectable shadowing.

"Music is spiritual. The music business is not."

- Van Morrison

Listen to the Van the Man's phrasing on "There'll be Days Like This"


Susan B said…
I remember hearing probably thirty years ago now that "Van Morrison is better on the radio than in concert," and I think this clip demonstrates that. His phrasing is gorgeous. His affect, flat. In fact he seems as though he'd rather be clipping his toenails than performing. I get that he hates the music business, but what about the *audience*?
LPC said…
All time favorite, along with Elvis Costello of course. However, I have seen the man in concert, and he's a pill. Diffident, to say the least. A voice like honey. Clearly it has worked for him.
Susan said…
Van Morrison is one of my favorites.
Susan Tiner said…
I love the idea of uncontrived menschiness. We don't get to hear yiddish words very often here in Northern CA :-). I am fond using mishigas and meshugenah.

Thank you for that song with my morning coffee.
Anonymous said…
He is one of the few remaining artists I would go out of my way to see.

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