Just stop whatever you're doing right now and put this new Album on.
You simply won't find anything better for a long, long time.
It's actually brand new (June 10) but the original 1973 Album (Volume 1), we blogged about in October 2015 because Ivan hit 70.
This is a new release to follow that infamous original, which he recorded aged 29, with more unreleased material.
What made the original famous of course, was that it was the first live Album recorded live 'as it was', without the usual overdubs and superb it was too.
Considered an absolute classic.....But this is probably better, if that was ever even possible.
The whole breadth of this Album is so much more and so too the digital quality as a 24 bit remastered high resolution, which feels intimate rather than over-produced. Just like you're wonderfully there.
Called 'Volume 2/3/4' it's more of the 1973 concerts recording over 8 nights (The Rainbow, The Troubadour and The Auditorium, which each volume reflects songs from each gig) but completely unreleased music.
And what a glory it is.
We don't think you'll hear Van in better form or a Band (The 11 piece, Caledonia Soul Orchestra) more tight and trust us, we know everything he's ever done.
It opens with 'Come Running' from the 1970 Moondance as a jaunty version and there's a cracking version of 'Brown Eyed Girl' (which we were getting tired of hearing, but not anymore).
'Snow in San Anselmo' too, from the 'Hard Nose the Highway' Album, which hadn't yet been released at the time, as well as the Joey Raposo standard 'It's Not easy bein green'.
Possibly one of the best ever, but little known Van tracks is here too - 'Purple Heather' (Will you go, Lassie go) - is just superb.
'Moondance', 'Caravan', 'Domino', 'Cyprus Avenue' (from Astral Weeks where the line "it's too late to stop now" comes from), 'Gloria', 'Aint nothing you can do', 'Into the Mystic', 'Here comes the Night', and just listen to the drumming on 'Wild Children'. 'Wild Children' shows the string arrangements beautifully too.
We could go on.
Jeff Labes on piano, David Hayes on Bass, Brother Jack Schroer on Sax, John Platania on Guitar, Bill Atwood on trumpet, Nancy Ellis on Viola....extraordinary. In fact, only on this Album can you hear for the first time really, the excellent influence of David Shaw's drums and the imagination of him working with David Hayes on Bass.
If you can get the Bass player and drummer working together, you get something special and here they do.
You can actually see their close playing on the accompanying DVD, also highly recommended and if nothing else, to see George Ivan Morrison at the height of his powers as the Band leader. Talk about managing the sound!
And to see him kicking out his feet for 'Gloria'. And to see the Right hand conducting the Band, as he was so notorious for doing. And to see him lose himself in the music.
Only thing that's missing here is 'Madame George' also recorded as 'Madame Joy', with probably the best lyric ever written in a song..... "Sitting in a corner playing dominos in drag"....still everything is magnificent.
As someone in Streamabout said, if you could give this Album 15 stars, you would.
There isn't and there won't be, a better record to get this year. And most likely, a better record for decades to come. Unbelievably wonderful.
And here's 'Caravan' below for the Band intro alone. No one does it better.
We never agreed that 'Astral Weeks' was his best Album anyway, but now there's no argument anymore. This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is it.
Previous "listen to's" you'll also find on this blog (you can search them in the Search top left on the Blog)......Air 'Moon Safari'; Talking Heads 'Stop Making Sense'; Lynyrd Skynyrd 'One for the road'; Marvin Gaye 'Whats Goin on'; Mercury Rev 'Deserters Songs'; Dave Matthews 'Crash'; Beyonce 'Lemonade'; Prince 'Sign O the times'; Daft Punk 'Random Access Memories'; Amy Winehouse 'Back to Black';Police 'Outlandos D'Amour'; Michael Jackson 'Off the Wall'; Carole King 'Tapestry'; Beatles 'Red Album'; Sex Pistols 'Never mind the Bollocks'; Sam Cooke 'Live at Harlem Square'; The Doors 'LA Woman'; Thin Lizzy 'Live & Dangerous'; Kendrick Lamarr 'Butterfly'; Aretha Franklin 'Amazing Grace'; Clapton '461'; Massive Attack 'Blue Lines'; The Clash 'London Calling'; Chris Isaak 'At The Filmore'; Bob Dylan 'Street Legal'; Bad Company 'Straight Shooter'; Jackson Browne 'Love is Strange'; Lou Reed 'Transformer'; Steely Dan 'AJA'; Stones 'Black+Blue'; Stephen Bishop 'Careless'; Nils Lofgren 'Night after Night'; Mike Oldfield 'Tubular Bells'; Neil Young 'Harvest'; Led Zep '4'; David Bowie 'David Live'; Van Morrison 'It's too late to stop now'; Wings 'Band on the Run'; Rod Stewart 'Atlantic Crossing'; Ryan Adams 'Heartbreaker'; Santana 'Essential'; Bob Dylan 'Desire'; Roxy Music 'For your pleasure'; Bob Marley 'Legend'; Stephen Fretwell 'Magpie'; James Taylor 'Sweet Baby James'; Deep Purple 'Machine Head'; Springsteen 'Darkness on the edge of town'; Leon Bridges 'Coming Home'; Eagles 'Hotel California'; Jungle; Aretha 'Soul Queen'; Neil Young 'After the Goldrush' ; Zappa 'Overnite Sensation'; Fleetwood Mac 'Rumours'; Keith Jarrett 'Koln Concert'; Doobies 'Southbound'; Stevie Earle 'I feel Alright'; Tom Waits 'Closing Time'; Pink Floyd 'Dark Side'; Van Morrison 'Moondance'; Eric Church 'Caught in the Act'; Randy Newman 'Little Criminals'; Elton John 'Madman across the water'; Patti Smith 'Horses'; Doobies 'Captain and Me'; Steely Dan 'Can't Buy a Thrill'.