July 14th, 2020


Van Morrison - Let the Slave (incorporating The Price of Experience)

In 1984 Van Morrison was in the middle of a journey that was to take him through Scientology and Theosophy and into a turbulent relationship with religion that has never seemed to go away. In other words, he was just about the least cool man on the planet. Did I know that at the time? Did I buggery, I just wanted to hear his new album, A Sense of Wonder. It's a real mixed bag of old blues and r'n'b songs and some dodgy Celtic adornment. But at the heart of it is one of the greatest things he ever did, his cover of Mike Westbrook's Let The Slave.

It's a setting of a text by William Blake, taken from his work of epistemological liberation America, a Prophecy. The original has some brilliant moments, but for me it's always spoiled by the vocal performance of Phil Minton. With Van that's never a problem, he manages to be plainspoken, gutsy and fuelled by emotion. His call for social revolution is inextricably linked with the spiritual. Still brings a tear to my eye. Just don't go digging too deep in this era of Van's work, this is as good as it gets.

Van Morrison - Let the Slave (incorporating The Price of Experience)