“Blowin’ Your Mind!” by Van Morrison - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1967Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s

TJR says

It was inevitable that the shining star of Them would branch out as a solo artist, but “Blowin’ Your Mind!” was not how it was meant to be, as Wikipedia tells:

“Bert Berns, Them’s producer and composer of their 1965 hit, “Here Comes the Night”, persuaded Morrison to return to New York to record solo for his new label, Bang Records. Morrison flew over and signed a contract he had not fully studied. Then, during a two-day recording session at A & R Studios starting 28 March 1967, eight songs were recorded, originally intended to be used as four singles. Instead, these songs were released as the album “Blowin' Your Mind!” without Morrison being consulted. He said he only became aware of the album's release when a friend mentioned on a phone call that he had just bought a copy of it.”

Van later commented in a 1973 interview: “I wasn't really happy with it. He picked the bands and tunes. I had a different concept of it.” Adding insult to injury, the album title cover alluded to psychedelic excesses, an abhorrence to Van. His then-wife, Janet Planet, said: “He never has been, never will be anything approaching a psychedelic user – wants nothing to do with it, wants nothing to do with any drug of any kind.” As he himself recalls: “I got a call saying it was an album coming out and this is the cover. And I saw the cover and I almost threw up, you know.”

Against that backdrop, it almost feels like a betrayal of the artist to label this LP as “brilliant”. But brilliant it is! What do I care about covers and titles? Opener “Brown Eyed Girl” gets all the attention as the pop-smash, but is dwarfed by the might of the two tracks which immediately follow. “He Ain’t Give You None” and “T.B. Sheets” stand together as one of the strongest 15 minute spells on any LP this year, as warm as they are caustic, candid and heartfelt, dripping with the utmost soul that the blues can stand. Man, that organ works like a snake charm on Van, the man’s confessin’. Sex and death, loyalty and betrayal, it’s all in there, it’s the name of the game. Whilst nothing else on the album reaches those highs, “Who Drove The Red Sports Car?” on side 2 has a good go, and, once again, it finds Van as a conversational talk-rocker on a bluesy bed. In that mode, he’s just a dude.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:03] 6.9.png Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl (George Ivan Morrison) Pop
A2 [05:13] 9.9.png Van Morrison - He Ain’t Give You None (George Ivan Morrison) Soul Ballad
A3 [09:44] 9.4.png Van Morrison - T.B. Sheets (George Ivan Morrison) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
B1 [03:06] 7.0.png Van Morrison - Spanish Rose (George Ivan Morrison) Pop
B2 [02:57] 6.4.png Van Morrison - Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye) (Wes Farrell, Bert Berns) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
B3 [03:03] 6.8.png Van Morrison - Ro Ro Rosey (George Ivan Morrison) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
B4 [05:35] 7.6.png Van Morrison - Who Drove The Red Sports Car? (George Ivan Morrison) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
B5 [02:51] 6.0.png Van Morrison - Midnight Special (Traditional) Blues Rock / Soul Rock

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