“These five young rebels are outrageously true to themselves. Defiant! Angry! Sad! They are honest to the point of insult!” (original liner notes)
The Angry Young Them is Them’s first album. The album was released in the UK on 11th of June 1965. The band’s lead singer and songwriter was of course Van “The Man” Morrison. He was with Them on only two albums before deciding to go solo.
The opening track Mystic Eyes was from an 8 or 9 minute jam originally, a long intense jam session in the studio with Van making the words up on the spur of the moment. Oh why didn’t they use the long take? Anyway, a good opener.
If You And I Could Be As Two is the next song and it opens with Van’s spoken voice talking (rather angrily) before this wonderful soul ballad continues. Then it is Little Girl which is about watching a 14-year-old (!) school girl on her way to school, not very acceptable these days but we need to remember that Van Morrison was only a teenager himself when he sang these words (still no excuse, I know).
Just A Little Bit by Roscoe Gordon is the next one out, Morrison sings great and it is my favorite song of the non Van Morrison penned tracks. Fantastic song!
Then we are in for the weakest track on the album, I Gave My Love a Diamond. That is not a put-down, because it’s a good sixties ballad, it just pales compared to the other songs on the album.
We then get Gloria. What can I say about this song that isn’t already said thousands of times? It is one of the best rock songs ever written, sung by one of the best vocalists in rock history. Ok? ok.
“And then there’s “Gloria,” rock’s ultimate ’60s sex anthem, and one of the handful of white-authored songs that can just about hold its own against any blues standard you’d care to name.”