This is the follow-up to 2008’s “Van Morrison: Under Review 1964 – 1974,” and like its predecessor this current edition is not sanctioned by Van Morrison or his representatives. There are interviews with several music journalists, including Nigel Williamson (Uncut Magazine,) Anthony DeCurtis (Rolling Stone,) Gavin Martin (NME) and Chris Welch (Melody Maker.) Former Morrison band members Plus a few Morrison comments from interviews he did in ’86 and ’87. Additionally musicians Pee Wee Ellis and Chris Hayes opine about their time spent on the bandstand and in the studio with Morrison.
This film focuses on Morrison’s 1977 “A Period of Transition” through’87’s “Poetic Champions Compose.” Morrison’s earlier history is sprinkled in at the beginning of this documentary with short comments about his Them band. There’s a short segment of his early solo career that takes us to 1974’s “Veedon Fleece” and its poor record sales that led to Van’s three-year break from recording until ‘77’s aptly titled “A Period Of Transition.” Also cited is Van’s appearance at the Band’s farewell concert “The Last Waltz” where he met Dr. John and how that meeting coalesced Van’s return to the studio with the good doctor’s dash of New Orleans funk and sizzle sparking “A Period of Transition.” Chronologically the DVD offers insightful interviews and concert clips – 1978’s “Wavelength,” 1979’s “Into the Music,” 1980’s “Common One,” 1982’s “Beautiful Vision,” 1983’s “Inarticulate Speech of the Heart,” onto Morrison’s move away from Warner Brothers to Polydor / Mercury with 1984’s “Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast,” 1985’s “A Sense of Wonder,” 1986’s “No Guru, No Method, No Teacher,” 1987’s “Poetic Champions Compose,” and a glimpse (perhaps signaling a third Van Morrison documentary) with a preview of his late eighties into the nineties recordings.
There are also segments of that touch on Morrison’s often controversial and edgy personality, and about the spirituality of his music. Other than back-cover photo shot of “Inarticulate Speech of the Heart” there are minimal mentions about Morrison’s association with L. Ron Hubbard’s church of scientology, even though the back-cover states “Special Thanks to L. Ron Hubbard.” Yet one thing is constant, Van Morrison is consistently churning looking for new ideas for his music and perhaps for his own inner soul. He obviously possesses a restless mind and is on a unique mission trying to fulfill his goals and dreams.
The DVD also includes (about seventeen minutes) “You Know What They’re Talking About: Van Morrison and The Music Press” are additional interviews by Williamson, Altham, Welch and DeCurtis who talk about their personal relationships and experiences with Van, with brief biographies of those interviewed in the film. “Van Morrison: Another Glorious Decade: Under Review 1977 – 1987” was directed and edited by Elliot Riddle.
For almost 17 years Bob Putignano has been pivotal at WFDU with his Sounds of Blue radio show (Wed. & Fri. 9am-1pm) www.SoundsofBlue.com – http://wfdu.fm Previously a contributing editor at Blues Revue, Blueswax, and Goldmine magazines, currently the Music Editor for the Yonkers Tribune www.YonkersTribune.com & www.MakingAScene.org Bob was also the 2003 recipient of the “Keeping the Blues Alive” award (given by the Blues Foundation in Memphis) for his achievements in radio broadcasting. Putignano can be contacted at: BobP@SoundsofBlue.com