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The Philosopher's Stone

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The Philosopher's Stone



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THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE is a collection of rare and previously-unreleased songs spanning Van Morrison's career from 1971-88. The package includes a booklet with track-by-track annotations.

Personnel includes: Van Morrison (vocals, acoustic & electric guitar,

harmonica, saxophone); June Boyce (vocals); John Platania (acoustic & electric guitars); Ronnie Montrose (guitar, background vocals); John Blakey, Herbie Armstrong (guitar); Toni Marcus (violin); Jules Broussard (flute, horns); Boots Houston (flute); Jack Schroer (alto saxophone, horns); Colin Titon (tenor saxophone); Pee Wee Ellis (saxophone); Mark Isham (trumpet, flugelhorn, keyboards); John Allair (piano, keyboards); Jeff Labes (piano); Bernie Kraus (Moog synthesizer); John Klingberg, Bill Church, David Hayes (bass); Gary Mallaber, Connie Kay (drums); Jackie DeShannon, Judy Clay (background vocals).

Recorded between 1971 & 1988.

This two-disc set of previously unreleased material has been whispered about in the world of Van fans for ages, and it languished on the Polydor release schedule for so long that it became a running joke before it was finally released. It turned out to be worth the wait. These cuts, mostly from the '70s, are Van at his funkiest and most soulful, preaching the blues and digging deep into his heart to deliver the goods. Listening to these thirty tunes, one has difficulty wondering how Morrison could have decided against initially releasing them.

"Naked In the Jungle" is a funky, percolating workout on par with his classic "I've Been Workin'." "Not Supposed To Break Down" is a touching ballad that pulls unsentimentally at the heartstrings in the manner of MOONDANCE's "Crazy Love." On "Foggy Mountaintop" we find the usually-earnest bard in a playful mood, as he glides atop a 12-bar blues, professing his heartfelt desire for "a plain glass of water, vanilla ice cream with a cherry on top." Covering all phases of facets of Van's career, PHILOSOPHER'S STONE is a revelation that ranks among his finest albums.

What the critics say...

Rolling Stone (6/11/98, pp.118-120) - 3.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...a generally stellar collection....There's an unforced, earthy funkiness to much of the stuff here....Morrison's leftovers make for a pretty substantial and soulful musical meal..."
Entertainment Weekly (6/19/98, p.73) - "...STONE shows us how hard Morrison worked in his heyday, kneading a song until he had it the way he wanted it. These two CDs offer a sort of parallel universe: the unreleased flip side of the great Warner Bros. and Mercury albums that--until now--constituted Morrison's legacy..." - Rating: A-

Track Listing:

Disc 1:
  1. Really Don't Know
  2. Ordinary People
  3. Wonderful Remark
  4. Not Supposed To Break Down
  5. Laughing In The Wind
  6. Madame Joy
  7. Contemplation Rose
  8. Don't Worry About Tomorrow
  9. Try For Sleep
  10. Lover's Prayer
  11. Drumshanbo Hustle
  12. Twilight Zone
  13. Foggy Mountain Top
  14. Naked In The Jungle
  15. There There Child
Disc 2:
  1. Street Only Knew Your Name, The
  2. John Henry
  3. Western Plain
  4. Joyous Sound - (outtake)
  5. I Have Finally Come To Realise
  6. Flamingoes Fly
  7. Stepping Out Queen Part II
  8. Bright Side Of The Road
  9. Street Theory
  10. Real Real Gone
  11. Showbusiness
  12. For Mr. Thomas
  13. Crazy Jane On God
  14. Song Of Being A Child
  15. High Spirits
Release date Australia
June 16th, 1998
Number of Discs
Product ID

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