Yet another three-CD re-issue for Van fans, and this is pretty good. Although some tracks have knocked around as bootlegs, and Morrison clearly had issues with Bang at the time, he writes the sleeve notes and says Bang owner Bert Berns (who wrote Here Comes The Night) was a genius with soul.
Berns met Morrison in 1964 and the two got together for two days of recording in 1967. The sessions produced what was intended as singles, but after Brown Eyed Girl was a hit, a Bang album, Blowin’ Your Mind, was released. Morrison makes it clear he would have played some songs differently and dropped others had he known it was to be an album. Berns died a few months later.
The songs have come out in various forms and bootlegs over the years but Legacy has now acquired the rights with this collection, which has official Van Morrison approval, and brings together all the 1967 Bang recordings, alternate takes and mono and stereo mixes.
CD1 is the masters and kicks off with Brown Eyed Girl. The rest of the CD sees Morrison playing R&B/blues songs backed by a band he liked (he says): songs such as Spanish Rose and TB Sheets, as well as some Berns tracks.
CD2 is sessions and rarities, with different takes and studio chat.
CD3 is the “contractual obligation session”, and consists of 31 short songs that Morrison makes up he goes along, so there are songs like Ring Worm and The Big Royalty Check (which he’s waiting for), as well as Scream and Scream and Scream and Holler. Entertaining once through, at least.