January 21, 2021

1990-04-26 – The Age

1990 04 26 The_Age_Thu__Apr_26__1990_

to be released. There have been compila-
tions of Them, the rembunctious Irish
R ‘n’ B group In which he made his mark
in the mld-‘GOs. a 1988* “best of" culled
mainly from his first solo LP, plus live
albums In the mid-"lOs and early '80s but
glue Best of Van Morrison Is long over-

The CD Is a revelation, representing
some of the greatest work by this phe-
nomenal irish slnser/songwriter, and —
at 20 tracks and 76 minutes of music — it
Is superb value. There Is no chronological
order although the rousing opener Bri t
Side oi the Read and meditative Dwei er
en the Threshold were clearly chosen tor
their optimistic outlook. -

Morrison’s brief but explosive career
with Them Is well-represented with Baby
Please Don’t Go, the much-repeated Glo-
ria and timeless Here Cornea the Night.
From the early solo years are Brown-
Eyed Girl (suddenly everywhere on
soundtrack albums) as well as the heady
Sweet Thin: (from Astral Web), the
title track 0 Mundanee. And It Stoned
Me (tron: the same album), Domino and
Jackie Wilson Said.

Long-time fans may quibble over the
omlmlon of major sow like Almost the
dependence Day but compromme ts
inevitable on this collection: realistically
an artist of Van Morrison's stature merits
a muiti-dlsc boxed set. Meanwhile the ac-
cent Is on shorter, mostly accessible
pieces, hits that ought to have been like
Wonderinl Remark (commissioned by
Robbie Robertson tor the movie sound-
track to King of Comedy). the autobio-
graphical Cleaning 'Indewe and recent,
appealing duet with can Richard, When-
ever God Shines [lie Light (doomed un-
fairly by Its religious theme).

Morrison's melon at Celtic lyricism and
inspirational soul Is perhaps best exem-
plified In the leisurely rhythms and har-
monies at Queen at the Slipstream.

BEN The Who bade farewell in
1982 with the It’s Hard LP and
North American tour. tollowed by
the Who'- Lut live compilation album,
everyone seemed content to let it go at
that. Battie-weary songwriter/guitarlst
Pete Townshend, haunted by his ott-

quoted lines from My Generatlen (Hope

1 die before l-get old) pursued solo musi-

cal and writing projects while singer Rog-
er Daltrey concentrated on acting.

Then. like boxers who don't know when
they're beaten, the band climbed back
into the arenas last year tor a series of US
reunion concerts. The entourage includ-
ed bassist/composer John Entwistie,
drummer Simon Phillips in the seat for-
merly occupied by Xenney Jones (after
Keith Moon's death in 1978), regular key-
board player Joh_n ‘Rabhit’ Bundrlck.
lead guitarist Steve 'Bolz' Bolton (Town-
shend having been confined to acoustic
guitar to protect his damaged hearing).

Join Together is the result. a defiant
l32-minute, double-CD package dedicat-
ed to Moon and delivering a lot more
punch than most people would have
thought pomible. The first disc, a com-
plete rendition of the music from the
rock-opera Tommy (not to be confused
with the new video of a Lon Angeles cheri-
ty performance with guests Elton John.
Phil Collins, Billy idol, Patti Labelle and
Steve Winwood).

After the exoemes of Ken Rumell's
movie. this concert rendition, augmented
by the Kickhorns quintet and a vocal trio,
must be close to Townshend’s original
concept. it at times it sounds dated, no

matter, the highpoints are‘ compensation

enough as the ensemble roars through
tracks like Eyesight to the Bllnd. Acid
Queen. the charismatic but quaint PIn-
bnll Wizard and climaxes with a thunder-
ous We’re Not GemrTake it. .

The second concertdlsc showcases old
Who hits, more recent underrated longs
including Eminence Front, Trick 0! the
hi t and actuate; Yan :et, Love

e p er e in e u rophenla
tllm soundtrack) along with the en tic
Face the Faee and Re .- Boys m
Towhnshend’s solo record '

Despite the larger ensemble {arrange-
ments, there is no argument about the
staying power oi songs like 1 Can See tor
Miles, the irresisttbie Join T , Be-
hind Blue Eyes and raging . en't Get
the great rock bands: I hope they all have
the sense to quit while they are ahead.