Van Morrison like you've never heard him

Van Morrison, who played last night at the Northrop Auditorium, has a long and storied history as a musician. He also can be a noted curmudgeon, and I mean that in the best possible way.

We all know the feeling of obligation. We all wish we could have responded like Van Morrison did, back in 1967. Forced by Bang records to fulfill a contractual demand to record a final album for the label, Morrison decided to crank out 31 improvised songs on the spot. Boy, did he deliver. And I thought Neil Young was bad-ass for "This Note's For You."

That link has all 31 tracks, which are a blend of ridiculous, vengeful, nonensical and fanciful. If you don't have time to check out all of them, start in the middle. The bile really starts to rise from Van's liver, and it spills out in surreal ways. Start with "The Big Royalty Check."

The real highlights of the record are "Ring Worm" (now I have a song for my next obscure-diseases-themed mixtape!) and "Dum Dum George," which contains a soundbite that -- an all seriousness -- will be my next ringtone. "You Say France and I'll Whistle" is nice, too. In fact, listen to them all. Tell me that's not time well spent, I dare you.

The meta-commentary offered by the titles is plenty amusing, too: "Freaky If You Got This Far," for one, is actually an amusing listen, while having two songs back-to-back called "Blow in Your Nose" and "Nose in Your Blow" is almost dadaist genius. Then there is the enigmatic George, featured on multiple tracks ... and not in a good way.

Kick back, enjoy Emily Utne's photos from the show last night, and be glad you aren't George.

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