Thursday, 24 July 2008

"No Guru, No Method, No Teacher" by VAN MORRISON. A Review Of The 1986 Album Now Reissued On A 2008 Remaster With Bonus Tracks.




VAN MORRISON is part of my Series "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters 1970s Rock And Pop" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:

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"A Creature All In Rapture…"

"No Guru, No Method, No Teacher" is part of the 2nd wave of Van Morrison remastered reissues to hit the shops in 2008 (see full list below). Released Monday 30 June 2008 in the UK and 1 July 2008 in the USA, it boasts truly superlative remastered sound quality, an upgraded booklet and 2 bonus tracks for the first time - one of which is an entirely new song.

Here's the layout (60:26 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 10 make up the original album - it was released in July 1986 on Mercury
Tracks 11 and 12 are previously unreleased bonus tracks - "Oh The Warm Feeling (Alternate Take)" and "Lonely At The Top" (the new song)

96K/24 Bit remastered from the original analogue master tapes; the sound quality on this re-issue is truly beautiful - clear, clean and a joy to the ears. Throw in the really strong song material, superb musicianship and bonuses actually worth owning and you're already reaching for the credit card!

The upgraded booklet has the lyrics to the Alternate Take and New Song after the rest of the album, session notes and beneath the see-through inlay is a photo that matches the original artwork. Disappointingly, there's no new liner notes, no interview, no photos - no extra history of the tracks - where they fit in - shame that.

The bonus tracks are the best of the 4 CDs I've bought so far in this 2nd batch; the alternate version of "Oh The Warm Feeling" is really lovely and sounds like a proper album track with the same production values - not like some outtake or a poorly recorded demo. The new song, "Lonely At The Top" is ok - a bit disappointing to be truthful, and although it doesn't tell us in the liner notes, I'd swear that's BRIAN KENNEDY's vocals in the background.

For my money, this is the best remaster so far - and finally gives this underrated gem the sonic muscle it's long deserved. Highly recommended.

PS:
30 Van Morrison albums are re-issued in remastered form throughout 2008 and into early 2009. Each title contains an upgraded booklet; previously unreleased bonus tracks and all will be at mid-price. The releases are in 4 batches as follows:

28 January 2008 (7 titles)
Tupelo Honey (1971), It's Too Late To Stop Now (2 CD Live Set) (1974),
Wavelenght (1979), Into The Music (1979), A Sense Of Wonder (1985),
Avalon Sunset (1989) and Back On Top (1999)
(see SEPARATE REVIEWS for all of the above)

30 June 2008 UK/1 & 8 July 2008 USA (8 titles)
Veedon Fleece (1974), Common One (1980), Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart (1983), Live At The Grand Opera House, Belfast (1984), No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (1986), Enlightenment (1990), A Night In San Francisco (2CD Live Set) (1994), “Common One” and The Healing Game (1997)
(see also SEPARATE REVIEWS for "Veedon Fleece", "Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart", "Enlightenment", the live 2CD set "A Night In San Francisco" and "Common One")

September 2008 (7 titles)
Saint Dominic's Preview (1972), A Period Of Transition (1977), Beautiful Vision (1982), Poetic Champions Compose (1987), Hymns To The Silence (2CD Studio Set) (1991), How Long Has This Been Going On (Live At Ronnie Scott's) (1995) and Tell Me Something - The Songs Of Mose Allison (1996)

January 2009 (8 titles)
Hard Nose The Highway (1973), Irish Heartbeat (with The Chieftains) (1988),
Too Long In Exile (1993), Days Like This (1995), The Story Of Them (2CD Set) (1999), The Skiffle Sessions - Live In Belfast (with Lonnie Donegan & Chris Barber) (2000), Down The Road (2002) and What's Wrong With This Picture? (2003)

PPS:
Those hoping to see desperately needed sonic upgrades of his 1st and 2nd album masterpieces on Warner Bothers "Astral Weeks" (1968) and "Moondance" (1970) or even "His Band & The Street Choir" (late 1970) will be disappointed to hear that they're NOT in this re-issue campaign - on either side of the pond. "Astral Weeks" and "Moondance" in particular have both been languishing around on crappy-sounding non-remastered CDs for over 20 years now and they're glaringly obvious omissions in this supposedly 'extensive' re-issue campaign. These universally recognized masterpieces have long deserved 2CD DELUXE EDITION treatment (some tracks in remastered form are available across the 3 volumes of "Best Of"). However, I've recently been informed by a good source that all 3 are NOW AVAILABLE since June 2008 in JAPAN in RHINO REMASTERED form. See the excellent Japanese site CDJAPAN.CO.JP for details (worded in English).

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