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Payin' Dues

Van Morrison

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Album Review

A most fascinating double disc. The first contains the tracks found on Bang Masters; the bonus CD contains 31 previously unreleased acoustic ditties. The word ditties is a description, not a value judgment. According to one account, Morrison cut these purely out of necessity to fulfill his Bang contract, delivering the most unusable material possible. All of the cuts are between 45 and 90 seconds, divided between the inane (numerous nonsensical variations on "La Bamba," "Twist and Shout," and "Hang on Sloopy") and the viciously uncommercial ("The Big Royalty Check," "Ring Worm," "Blow in Your Nose"), along with a few silly variations on "Madame George." Along with Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, this ranks as the least commercial music ever recorded by a major rock artist, and the nastiest spit in the eye of commercial expectations and contractual obligations. It's much more listenable than Metal Machine Music, though, and funnier. If you haven't picked up the Bang Masters collection, the addition of this off-the-wall material (which may never find release in the U.S.) makes Payin' Dues a recommended alternative.


Born: August 31, 1945 in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Equal parts blue-eyed soul shouter and wild-eyed poet-sorcerer, Van Morrison is among popular music's true innovators, a restless seeker whose incantatory vocals and alchemical fusion of R&B, jazz, blues, and Celtic folk produced perhaps the most spiritually transcendent body of work in the rock & roll canon. Subject only to the whims of his own muse, his recordings cover extraordinary stylistic ground yet retain a consistency and purity virtually unmatched among his contemporaries, connected...
Full Bio

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