Results for Van Morrison

interviews

Billy Bragg

Roots, Radicals and Rockers In the 1950s, a surprising, short-lived musical craze swept across the UK: skiffle, a raw version of African-American blues and folk performed by white British youth. Folk-punk singer-songwriter Billy Bragg has written about skiffle in his new book Roots, Radicals and Rockers. This week, he sits down with producer Evan Chung to make the case for skiffle as the origin of English guitar pop and the first sign of the DIY sensibility of punk.

Skiffle emerged out of the trad jazz scene – an early New Orleans jazz revivalist movement in the UK. In the middle of their sets, the trad jazz musicians would put down their horns and pick up acoustic guitars, washboards, and upright basses to play the songs of Leadbelly, Big Bill Broonzy, and others. Skiffle hit the top of the pop charts in both the UK and the US when Lonnie Donegan released his version of Leadbelly's "Rock Island Line." Bragg argues that this was a revolutionary moment that taught British youth that anyone could play the guitar – and led to skyrocketing guitar sales. As a result, members of The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, David Bowie, and even ABBA got their start in DIY skiffle groups. According to Bragg, if you want to understand everything that came after in the UK – from the British Invasion to the English folk revival to R&B to punk – you have to look at the impact that skiffle had on the emerging British teenage culture.

Go to episode 613
specials

Culinary Music

During this episode we also hear from other music-loving chefs from around the country including:

  • Wesley Genovart of Degustation in New York
  • Doug Sohn of Hot Doug's in Chicago
  • Brenda Langton of Spoon River and Café Brenda in Minneapolis
  • Craig Serbousek of Crow and Bette in Seattle
  • Graham Elliot Bowles of Avenues in Chicago

To cap off this show, Jim and Greg run through their favorite culinary-inspired songs. All of them are either about food, inspired by food, or simply name foods, and all of them certainly rock.

Go to episode 113
classic album dissections

Van Morrison Astral Weeks

Van Morrison recorded and released his masterpiece Astral Weeks 45 years ago, and to celebrate, Jim and Greg conduct a Sound Opinions Classic Album Dissection. Astral Weeks didn‘t produce huge hits, but as Jim and Greg explain, this record is unique from any other in Van Morrison’s collection, and in fact, in rock history. It melds rock, blues, folk and jazz in such a way that makes it hard to define. The jazz musicians who contributed to this sound were guitarist Jay Berliner, drummer Connie Kay and bassist Richard Davis. But, in addition to the music, Jim and Greg both marvel at the emotions conveyed by the songs on Astral Weeks. You hear Van Morrison struggle with the search for home and the impermanence of life. It's as much a poem as it is an album, making it a classic in the Sound Opinions' book.

Go to episode 414
Astral Weeks (Expanded Edition)Astral Weeks available on iTunes

Van Morrison Astral Weeks

Van Morrison recorded and released his masterpiece Astral Weeks 41 years ago, and to celebrate he released a live version of the album. This gave Jim and Greg a perfect opportunity to look back at Astral Weeks with a Sound Opinions Classic Dissection. Astral Weeks didn‘t produce huge hits, but as Jim and Greg explain, this record is unique from any other in Van Morrison’s collection, and in fact, rock history. It melds rock, blues, folk and jazz in such a way that makes it hard to define. The jazz musicians who contributed to this sound were guitarist Jay Berliner, drummer Connie Kay and bassist Richard Davis. In addition to the music, Jim and Greg both marvel at the emotions conveyed by the songs on Astral Weeks. You hear Van Morrison struggle with the search for home and the impermanence of life. It's as much a poem as it is an album, making it a classic in the Sound Opinions' book.

Go to episode 171
reviews
TwelveTwelve available on iTunes

Patti Smith Twelve

Patti Smith is another artist who is known for her ability to do a great cover song. Early on in her career she did successful rendition of songs like Van Morrison's "Gloria" and Bruce Springsteen's "Because the Night." Now she has a collection of cover songs called Twelve. Jim thinks there are many“interesting”covers on this album, but interesting doesn't necessarily mean good. Patti Smith is still a vital artist though, so Jim recommends listeners Burn It just to sample her versions of famous songs. Greg is also a big Patti Smith fan, so it pains him to say that most of the songs on Twelve are poor and predictable. He shocks Jim and Sound Opinions H.Q. with a Trash It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 79
Golden Sings That Have Been Sung (Deep Cuts Edition)Golden Sings That Have Been Sung available on iTunes

Ryley Walker Golden Sings That Have Been Sung

Singer-songwriter Ryley Walker hails from the Chicago independent music scene, and puts his complex guitar skills on exhibition in his latest release Golden Sings That Have Been Sung. Many critics have drawn comparisons between Walker and Van Morrison because of his singing and guitar virtuoso talent. Jim first discovered Ryley Walker at South By Southwest and was blown away. Jim cites Walker's production collaboration with Leroy Bach, formerly of Wilco, as something that helped elevate his music to a new level. Overall, he finds that Walker's introspective vocals and guitar playing are the highlights of the album, and gives it a Buy It. Greg agrees, and thinks Walker has evolved on this record, establishing his own modern sound. He thinks Walker blends his complex guitar parts with more unusual sonic elements to perfection. Greg gives Golden Sings That Have Been Sung a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 560
lists

Anti-Love Songs

With the ghost of St. Valentine looming over us all, this week's show is dedicated to those music fans for whom "Love Stinks." Jim and Greg discuss their favorite anti-love songs and hear some listeners' picks. Here are some songs to get you out of the mood for Valentine's Day.

Go to episode 11

Rock's Best Lead-Off Tracks

This week's show is dedicated to the true rock geeks out there. Continuing in the tradition of "Track 1, Side 1" Jim and Greg take the discussion into the post-vinyl age. What songs best kick-off an album? Here are their picks for the best Lead-Off Tracks of all time:

Go to episode 92

Hero Worship

Today's theme is Hero Worship. The genesis of this idea was that we here at Sound Opinions started noticing that a lot of artists have written songs about their own heroes. Think of Bob Dylan's "Song To Woody." It's the kind of love only one rocker could express to another. Though when it comes to name-checking important musical figures, critics like Jim and Greg come a close second. Here are their favorite moments of musical Hero Worship.

Go to episode 307

Songs About Work

Despite the fact that most musicians spend their lives avoiding a“real job,”there are a number of great songs about the drudgery and the glory of hard work. During this Labor Day episode Jim and Greg play their favorite Songs About Work.

Go to episode 301

Work Songs

Despite the fact that most musicians spend their lives avoiding a“real job,”there are a number of great songs about the drudgery and the glory of hard work. For this Labor Day episode Jim and Greg play their favorite Songs About Work.

Lou Reed

Go to episode 197

Favorite Culinary-Inspired Songs

To cap off this show, Jim and Greg run through their favorite culinary-inspired songs. All of them are either about food, inspired by food, or simply name foods, and all of them certainly rock.

Go to episode 187

Hero Worship

Without a doubt, musicians influence one another. Sometimes in subtle ways with a borrowed riff or lyric. Sometimes by overtly name-checking another artist. This week, we look at those obvious examples of Hero Worship - songs written about another musican. Think of Bob Dylan's Song to Woody, or David Bowie's Song For Bob Dylan. Jim and Greg picked some tracks from their musical heroes, that mention other musical heroes.

Go to episode 575