Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday Night's Alright For Lester Bangs Cover Fighting.


First, Mr. Bangs' inside-out symbiotic trapezoidal tom-tom lede on the original:

Van Morrison's Astral Weeks was released ten years, almost to the day, before this was written. It was particularly important to me because the fall of 1968 was such a terrible time: I was a physical and mental wreck, nerves shredded and ghosts and spiders looming and squatting across the mind. My social contacts had dwindled to almost none; the presence of other people made me nervous and paranoid. I spent endless days and nights sunk in an armchair in my bedroom, reading magazines, watching TV, listening to records, staring into space. I had no idea how to improve the situation and probably wouldn't have done anything about it if I had.

Astral Weeks would be the subject of this piece - i.e., the rock record with the most significance in my life so far - no matter how I'd been feeling when it came out. But in the condition I was in, it assumed at the time the quality of a beacon, a light on the far shores of the murk; what's more, it was proof that there was something left to express artistically besides nihilism and destruction. (My other big record of the day was White Light/White Heat.) It sounded like the man who made Astral Weeks was in terrible pain, pain most of Van Morrison's previous works had only suggested; but like the later albums by the Velvet Underground, there was a redemptive element in the blackness, ultimate compassion for the suffering of others, and a swath of pure beauty and mystical awe that cut right through the heart of the work...

Next, the cover:

Astral Weeks is NOT the tune I was mentioning last night...Like Mr. Hansard, I play it straight up in A.
If you'd like little more on the late, great Mr. Bangs I could never, ever recommend Maria Bustillos' piece in the New Yorker from awhile back enough. You can find it....Here.



sd said...

Always loved Astral weeks,bought it when it was new and still have it. It's like a time machine for me. I've got to say that I think it was Richard Davis's bass playing that drove that entire album.He's played with everybody!

RossK said...


Everybody, indeed.

Including Mr. Springsteen.

And that right there is why, on a good/lazy Sunday like this, I love the internets.


sd said...

Thanks for the links. I hadn't seen that interview.