June 11: Them released their debut album The Angry Young Them in 1965
“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 itopens with Van’s spoken voice talking (rather angrily) before this wonderful soul ballad continues. Then it is Little Girlwhich 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.
The Best Dylan Covers: Them It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
“I think I heard The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in a record shop in Smith Street. And I just thought it was just incredible that this guy’s not singing about ‘moon in June’ and he’s getting away with it… The subject matter wasn’t pop songs, ya know, and I thought this kind of opens the whole thing up.”
– Van Morrison (Heylin, C. (2003). Can You Feel the Silence?: Van Morrison: A New Biography. pp. 134–135.)
“It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” is a song written and performed by Bob Dylan and featured on his Bringing It All Back Home album, released on March 22, 1965.
Morrison’s record producer at the time, Bert Berns, encouraged him to find models for his songs, so he bought Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home album in March 1965. One of the songs on the album held a unique fascination for Morrison and he soon started performing “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” in small clubs and pubs as a solo artist (without Them).
In Moondance, Morrison bursts forth in warm Technicolor. The Van Morrison that the public would come to know and recognize over the decades—Van the Man, the Belfast Cowboy, etc—essentially makes his first appearance on Moondance.
This is Van Morrison’s 6th Symphony; like Beethoven’s equivalent, it’s fixated on the power of nature, but rather than merely sitting in awe, it finds spirituality and redemption in the most basic of things. The pinnacle of Van The Man’s career, and maybe, of non-American soul in general.
Them Again is the second album by Them, lead by singer and songwriter Van Morrison. The album was released by Decca Records in the UK on 21 January 1966 but it failed to chart. In the U.S. it was released in April 1966 where it peaked at #138 on the Billboard charts.
21 January 1966 (UK), April 1966 (USA)
48:21Decca (UK), Parrot PA 61008; PAS 71008 (USA)
It’s a great record and often overlooked and unfavourably compared to Them’s debut. It is allmost as good. You owe it to yourself to check it out.
Two of the original Van Morrison songs included on the album, “My Lonely Sad Eyes” and “Hey Girl”, can be seen as precursors to the poetic musings of Morrison’s later Astral Weeks album, released in 1968. “My Lonely Sad Eyes” begins with the words, “Fill me my cup, and I’ll drink your sparkling wine/Pretend that everything is fine, ’til I see your sad eyes.” The title implies that the sad eyes belong to the singer but the lyrics address the singer’s love interest. It reminds me of Rolling Stones at their most soulful.
My Lonely Sad Eyes:
The song “Hey Girl” has a pastoral feel to it, enhanced by the addition of flutes and in Brian Hinton’s opinion is a “dry run for ‘Cyprus Avenue'” from Astral Weeks.