Saint Dominic’s Flashback:
Van Morrison’s Classic Album, Forty Years On
A new book by Peter Wrench
Van Morrison is a unique talent: one of the finest and most distinctive vocalists in rock music. He is notorious for his impatience with journalists and analysis, for his grumpiness and his unpredictability – veering constantly between the good, bad and utterly extraordinary, across half a century in the business…
How best to get a handle on him? At the this point in his career a deep dive into some of the specifics can be more illuminating than an overview that skates across the surface.
Now, forty years after the release of his classic album Saint Dominic's Preview, comes an in-depth look at its 42 minutes of music and how they were put together. Drawing heavily on the memories of the musicians and technicians who made the record, the book shines a spotlight on Morrison's art and his working methods – and provides a fascinating perspective on the wider music scene of the early seventies.
This is a record that deserves detailed attention. It is one of Van’s most satisfying and wide-ranging collections with a succession of amazing tracks – from the focused drive of ‘Jackie Wilson Said,’ through the glorious emotional workout that is ‘Listen To The Lion’, to the synthesiser-rich tone-poem ‘Almost Independence Day’. Each song is closely examined and assessed.
And there are some great stories about how the album came to be made: from the hirings and firings to amazing flashes of creativity – with walk-on parts for everybody from Bob Dylan and the Band to Lee Michaels’ cheetahs. This is a book for everyone with an interest in Van Morrison’s music.