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Critics' Choice
HERE COMES THE KNIGHT: VAN SPEAKS
2/6/16

By Phil Gallo

Van Morrison doesn’t talk much. A musician we know toured with him for a month and his lone interaction with the Belfast Cowboy came at their penultimate gig. Van turned to him after a solo, nodded and mouthed the word “nice.”

So considering the radio silence Van uses with the release of each album—usually a single interview per collection—he was downright verbose last week after being knighted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace’s ballroom.

Having sat shiva the last few weeks with records by David Bowie, Motorhead and Earth, Wind & Fire, we put on Common One (Van’s personal favorite), Inarticulate Speech of the Heart, Veedon Fleece and the delightful Them compilation Sony Legacy  issued last year while compiling a collection of our favorite quotes Sir George Ivan Morrison has uttered in the days since being knighted.

On performing: "I enjoy that the most—playing a small club—that's really what I do. The bigger places you have to do for financial survival reasons, let me put it that way, but the bigger places enable me to play small clubs occasionally."

Pointing out the obvious: "Sales of CDs and stuff like that are very unreliable, it has really gone down a lot, I'm lucky I can still do live gigs and still pull crowds and be able to do that. All these years of work have paid off and I'm still able to do that now.”

Still working: Prince Charles, Van recalled, “said: 'You're not going to retire any time soon?' And I said: 'No, I'm not, I'm going to keep it going while I can'."

Why Common One is his best album: "It's a mixture of different components—a bit of funk, blues, gospel—it's quite a fusion, and plus I seemed to tap into something, and that particular band seemed to have a rapport."