Van Swings With Fame

This is one of my favorite Van Morrison albums, 1995's "How Long Has This Been Going On", recorded by Van along with his pal Georgie Fame, doing some great RnB/Jazz tunes. I wish he had recorded more records like this one instead of the middle of the road pap that he sometimes did. I saw him do this repertoire at Jazzfest in '96, and even if The Man wasn't at his best, he cranked them out pretty sweet, while Georgie picked up the slack when the leprechauns got up Van's ass (moody bugger, isn't he?).

Highlights, for me, include: "The New Symphony Sid" (my favorite one, actually - especially Georgie's genius vocal take in the bridge), "Sack O' Woe", "Centerpiece", "Blues in the Night", and "That's Life" (Sinatra's).

Here is an excerpt from an interview about this recording:
JF: There's quite a feel of the Ray Charles band in some of this. It's got that... Particularly the way the horns are written for and everything. Was Pee Wee Ellis involved in writing?

VM: Oh yeah, he wrote the horn charts. Yeah

JF: By the standards of a lot of record making, this was all put together pretty fast, wasn't it?

VM: Yeah it was, but I think it's because we rehearsed, had a couple of good rehearsals. And so everybody was ready and clued-in.

JF: And how long did it actually take to do?

VM: An afternoon. We were there four hours maybe, five hours. All these musicians are very good and very clued-in. They're very fast, you know? So... You know, it's great to work with these kind of people. You usually don't find these type of musicians in the rock field. 'Cause it's much more sort of plodding.

JF: Where was the record recorded, Van, and what was it about the venue that you like?

VM: Um, we just sort of did it at Ronnie Scott's for, sort of, just the vibe.


1. I Will Be There
2. The New Symphony Sid
3. Early In The Morning
4. Who Can I Turn To
5. Sack O' Woe
6. Moondance
7. Centerpiece
8. How Long Has This Been Going On?
9. Your Mind Is On Vacation
10. All Saints Day
11. Blues In The Night
12. Don't Worry About A Thing
13. That's Life
14. Heathrow Shuffle

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