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September 28, 2005


Listener Jim

And yes, someone has written up the lyrics for these songs. Sing along with Van!


"Here comes dumb George?" That's one for the history of campaign ditties...

Listener J W

Thank you, thank you, thank you Ken. Today is a glorious day.

Years of scouring the file-sharing depths had only yielded "You've Got Ringworm," "I'm Waiting For My Royalty Check," "Have a Danish," and "Savoy Hollywood." All excellent songs-- but the whole session? Tremendous.

Lee r.

You can get all the tracks, plus his other lesser popular tunes currently on this comp:

My local record store was actually advertising it when it was released!


Here's a background as to why he recorded this stuff:

The label released an album of his while he was on the road without his knowledge.

"You say France and I whistle"


THIRTY-ONE songs?!

WFMU, marry me.


And can you believe Astral Weeks was just a year or so away...Madame George indeed.

The Bang Masters (the first disc of this collection) is slightly better than this, for anyone seeking serious Van from the same era.

Kim Cooper

Brian Doherty wrote a great piece about these tracks in issue #16 of Scram.


A 50-download trial membership to can net you these and more - if you are willing to give up your VISA number and remember to cancel before they charge you and sign you up monthly. Here's the listing and All Music Guide...funny, no mention of disk 2.

By contrast, this might not be a bad tribute "Vanthology":


Ken, once again you've bestowed a perfect gift upon us. I'm going to be listening to these all weekend long.


"In the great pantheon of contractual obligation records," don't leave out the obscene - "Cocksucker Blues" by the Stones. Their contractual obligation single for Decca.


The bandwidth alone is amazing....
This is truly an altruistic gesture like no other!

Thank you!

XR4TI Crew

The fact that his guitar keeps getting further out of tune is awesome. I just imagine him crapping these out, one after the other, in one long 40 minute take.


"This Note's For You" was a contractual obligation record?

Funny, it was the first record he released on his return to Reprise Records in 1988.

Michael Viking

I tell you. You're very lucky to have ring worm, because you may have had...something else.

Van Morrison is genius, even in fun.


These are great. Did anyone else notice the similarity of 'Hang on Groovy' to 'Hang on Sloopy' by the McCoys?? The funny thing is, I looked it up and that song was recorded in 1965 on Bang records! Any bets on whether Van saw a poster or something in the studio?


metal machine music wasnt no contract obligation album. no way.


For the record, Van's birth certificate reads "George Ivan Morrison". George is him.


Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music was not a contractual obligation record!! He recorded CONEY ISLAND BABY 1975 & TAKE NO PRISONERS 1979 shortly after MMM in 1975. Don't say that something is a "contractual obligation" just because a release diverges from an artists preceding work and you don't like it. That is and insult to the artist. Did Lou tell you this himself?


And the Monty Python Contractual Obligation Album was, in fact, a contractual obligation album (it was their last album for Charisma, although Virgin issued a compilation album called "The Final Ripoff" after they acquired the label).


Re: Metal Machine Music.

From The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, Compiled by Nick Logan and Bob Woffinden of New Musical Express, 3rd Ed. 1979, Salamander Books.

"Albums were returned in droves until RCA, duly embarrassed by their gullibility and culpability in the affair, were forced to take it off the market. Reed later claimed that he made the album to break his contract with his manager."

(Note that his next Coney Island Baby was also on RCA.)

And from Billy Altman, founder of the first magazine called Punk in 1973, in The Rolling Stone Records Guide 1979.

"In retrospect, one might easily have given the album four stars for sheer nerve and guts, for its deafening blip-and-bleep is a statement, a bitter rail against record companies, fan's notions of image and the entire workings of the music industry. (On the other hand, Metal Machine Music might be nothing more than a rather perverse and elaborate joke, replete with a cover that implies a concert recording and liner notes written in deadpan electronic mumbo jumbo.) Everything considered, it's probably a combination of the two - hence the dilemma."


Re: Van Morrison and Bang Records from same sources as above:

NME - "Bert Berns had written Hang on Sloopy for the McCoys and Twist and Shout for the Isley Brothers, as well as Here Comes the Night, and had formed his own label, Bang Records. Being well aware of Morrison's potential, he invited him to New York to cut four trial singles. One of the tracks that Morrison cut was Brown Eyed Girl which became a U.S. Top 5 hit when it was released in May 1967. Bang then put out an album, Blowin' Your Mind, about which Morrison knew nothing. It was merely a collection of the songs Morrison had cut, as he thought, as singles materials. Berns pacified Morrison's anger by allowing him to make an album himself, the result of which was The Best of Van Morrison, though yet again he did not really have the opportunity to exercise the artistic control he had been promised; he now suggests that the album is more accurately titled 'The Worst of Van Morrison'. Bern died suddenly of a heart attack on Dec. 1 1967, and Morrison was once again a free agent."

RS - "Following the death of Morrison's producer, Bert Berns, the owner of Bang but best known as a soul writer/producer, Van moved to Warner Bros."

From the liner notes to the 1991 release of the Bang Masters, quoting Van Morrison from record exec Joe Smith's book On The Record: "I actually recorded some of the songs that eventually wound up on Astral Weeks for Bert. I did one album for Bert, and then for a second he said, 'You know, we have to get you back into the studio.' So I played him a tape, me on guitar, and he said, 'Great, this is what we should do.' Just like that. He said, 'We'll fill it out a little here, put that there.' Well, I showed up for the session and forty people are there. We struggled through that one but the songs just didn't work out. Astral Weeks became what it was because everything was stripped away."

(Two songs from Astral Weeks appear on the Bang Masters, Beside You and Madame George. There's no mention of the contractual obligation recordings mentioned in blog subject)


Whoever posted about Cocksucker Blues using my anonymous but unique "Guest" and non-functional email address "[email protected]", please differentiate yourself from my postings. And no offense, I realize I should come up with something of my own - I'm just lazy.

Michael Fremer

"Bang Sessions" was issued as a sumptuously packaged, triple LP set by Get Back. Sounds great! Even the "contractual obligation" crap sounds good...not that I've listened to it more than once.....listening to MP3s is to listening to music as having sex wearing a half dozen condoms is to having sex....

Patrick O'Hare

A lot of what he sings here seems pretty random. But at just before the climax of "Cypress Avenue" on "It's too late to stop now" you'll hear Morrison passionately chanting "and you say France".

God know what it means - but it sounds great on that Live album.

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