Belfast Telegraph

I've a Van load of songs that have never been heard, says Morrison

By Noel McAdam

Van Morrison has admitted his head is spinning these days - over a mountain of his music that remains unreleased.

The superstar singer-songwriter also revealed he has written material that could form a memoir.

In a major interview with American rock magazine Rolling Stone, the 71-year-old said: "I have so much unreleased stuff it makes my head spin."

He added he would love to make his raft of unheard material public.

"I've got a lot of unreleased music I need to get out, from all periods. And I've got loads of really good live stuff from the last 10 years," he said.

"It's just getting an outlet. I'm not going to do it through a major label. I'm just going to do it independently - websites or whatever."

He added: "Back in the day, James Brown was putting out six albums a year, and two of them were instrumentals.

"You couldn't do that now. People wouldn't even know what that is. This is the thing: I have hundreds and hundreds of songs on recordings."

Asked about his future plans and speculation that he was writing his life story, the star disclosed: "I've been compiling stuff over the last 40 years, just talking into a tape recorder.

"There's stuff I've had typed up over the years. But it's not something that has been consistent.

"It's been very inconsistent, as a matter of fact."

Over the last year Morrison has released digitally remastered versions of almost his entire back catalogue of albums.

He also put out an extended version of his acclaimed 1974 live album with the Caledonia Soul Orchestra - It's Too Late To Stop Now.

The Rolling Stone interview, which marks the release of 36th album Keep Me Singing, was conducted in Belfast, where Morrison now lives for most of the year.

The star also spoke about discovering blues music as a youngster in his home city before the formation of first group Them.

"I just wanted to play blues - that's it," he explained.

"There was nothing here.

"There was a small group of people who were into blues and jazz. My father was one of them.

"That's how I discovered it, through him and a guy named Solly Lipsitz, who had a record shop on High Street.

"My father took me there as a kid. It was called Atlantic Records, believe it or not. Solly's sister lived in New York, and she got the records shipped over."

He was asked what it was about American blues that touched him, 3,000 miles away in Northern Ireland.

"It was working-class music. Working-class would be different here. In America, working-class was more like middle-class (for us).

"Here, it was getting by on nothing. I related to the lyrics in Chicago blues and the stuff I heard by John Lee Hooker, not from their point of view - it was from my point of view.

"It was the same with Hank Williams. He was a voice. Muddy Waters was a voice. They were both blues singers to me. And a lot of people who emigrated to the Southern states came from this area, here and Scotland. It's genetic."

Morrison admitted that nowadays he did not listen to a lot of music and rarely goes online.

Asked who he turned to musically "for medicine and comfort", He replied: "Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, The Modern Jazz Quartet - any kind of good jazz. I always go back to that."

His next concert at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on December 18 is sold out.

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