Acoustic Sounds

Van Morrison

How Long Has This Been Going On?

Music

Sound

Label: Verve Records

Produced By: Van Morrison and Georgie Fame

Engineered By: Tristan “Beenz” Powell and Chris Lewis

Mixed By: Tristan “Beenz” Powell

Mastered By: Tim Young at Metropolis Mastering

By: Tracking Angle

March 10th, 2023

Genre:

Jazz Big Band

Format:

Vinyl

Originally Seen In:

Magazine

Van Morrison’s Backward Tumble Is Fully Underway

From the archives: You're best waiting for Van to get energized again

(This review, written by Carl E. Baugher, originally appeared in Issue 7, Spring 1996.)

What's the last thing you want from Van Morrison at this stage of the game? My choice would be a live album from May 1995 at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London with Van The Man backed by Georgie Fame’s band. Looks like Van’s backward tumble into one of his many fallow periods, signified by last year’s flaccid Days Like These, is fully underway. Let’s hope it doesn’t last too long. Which is not to say that this is a bad album—just an inessential, predictable and basically uninvolving one.

Let me ask a question of the most rabid Morrisonian out there: do you really need to hear Van sing “Who Can I Turn To?” backed by horns ‘n Hammond organ? And how ‘bout “That’s Life” and “Blues In The Night”? Well, bucky, that’s what you get here. It’s well-executed and professional as hell. But, numbingly familiar and, uh, safe. For a moment, this jazzy version of “Moondance” acts like it wants to take off but then it runs out of steam before any real improvisational excitement can occur. The album is anchored by workmanlike solos, good arrangements and journeyman singing. Obviously, this recording was a labor of love for Van and Georgie but it’s far from the best from the Belfast Cowboy.

Soundstaging is somewhat flattened out on the UK vinyl, otherwise this is a superb live recording—vibrant, dynamic and warmly alive. Sounds analog to me but it’s probably pulled from the digital masters. Such is the way things are done these days. Still, there’s little to complain about in the sonics department. If you’re addicted to Van and must have everything he does, the chaff along with the wheat, go ahead and pick up a copy of this one. Everybody else, back off and wait for Van to get energized with some great new material. It’s bound to happen again. Right? Right?

Music Specifications

Catalog No: 529 136-1

Pressing Plant: SNA

Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Presentation: Single LP

Comments

  • 2023-03-10 01:59:13 PM

    Silk Dome Mid wrote:

    "...back off and wait for Van to get energized with some great new material. It’s bound to happen again. Right? Right?" Too bad this never happened, right? His more recent releases make How Long Has This Been Going On look a lot better in retrospect.

    • 2023-03-10 02:40:14 PM

      Malachi Lui wrote:

      exactly!

    • 2023-03-14 10:01:16 PM

      Jeffrey Puckett wrote:

      Yes. This review saw the future and rightly feared it.