TITLE: His Band and Street Choir
YEAR RELEASED: 1970
CHART ACTION: #32 US, #18 UK
SINGLES: Domino (#9), Blue Money (#23), Call Me Up in Dreamland (#95)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe Street Choir
LINEUP: Van Morrison, Alan Hand, Keith Johnson, John Klingberg, John Plantania, Jack Schroer, Dahaud Shaar. Judy Clay, Emily Houston, and Jackie Verdell sang some backing vocals. Shaar, Janet Planet, Larry Goldsmith, Andrew Robinson, Ellen Schroer, and Martha Velez were the street choir.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After an aborted vision of an a cappella album, Morrison regroups and releases a loose follow up with a few leftover songs from earlier efforts.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Morrison’s follow-up to Moondance was originally conceived as songs with a small choir backed by acoustic guitar. But as the original recordings went on Morrison was displeased, and then decided to call in his backing band to salvage the songs and sessions.
With some leftovers from his last two albums, and some new ones in the mix, this album of shorter songs felt relaxed. The musicians, most of them having spent time on the road with the singer, knew what he wanted and what he liked, and the feel of the songs is loose yet sympathetic to the melody and lyrics. The album has an R&B feel feel, led off by his tribute “Domino”.
The issue is that some of the songs aren’t on the level as his other two albums. There are some fantastic performances, but some perfunctory. It’s a good record, but not great and after two outtasite ones, a bit of a let down.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The record company renamed the album. It was originally called Virgo’s Fool. That coupled with the aborted a cappella sessions left a bad taste in Morrison’s mouth about the record.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, some outtakes again.
GRADE B+: Not quite up to the standard he set with his last two albums, but those were hard to follow.