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Van Morrison

The Philosopher's Stone

Year: 1998
Label: Polydor
Location: Standing Stones of Stenness | 
 | Scotland | UK

The image in the cover are The Standing Stones of Stenness is a Neolithic monument five miles northeast of Stromness on the mainland of Orkney, Scotland, (UK). This may be the oldest henge site in the British Isles. Various traditions associated with the stones survived into the modern era and they form part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. Even in the 18th century the site was still associated with traditions and rituals, by then relating to Norse gods. It was visited by Walter Scott in 1814. Other antiquarians documented the stones and recorded local traditions and beliefs about them. One stone, known as the «Odin Stone» which stood in the field to the north of the henge, was pierced with a circular hole, and was used by local couples for plighting engagements by holding hands through the gap. It was also associated with other ceremonies and believed to have magical power.There was a reported tradition of making all kinds of oaths or promises with one’s hand in the Odin Stone; this was known as taking the «Vow of Odin».

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Van Morrison

Biography

Sir George Ivan Morrison OBE (born 31 August 1945) is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer whose recording career spans seven decades. He has won two Grammy Awards.

Morrison began performing as a teenager in the late 1950s. He played a variety of instruments such as guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for several Irish showbands, covering the popular hits of that time. Known as "Van the Man" to his fans, Morrison rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B and rock band Them. With Them, he recorded the garage band classic "Gloria".

Under the pop-oriented guidance of Bert Berns, Morrison's solo career began in 1967 with the release of the hit single "Brown Eyed Girl". After Berns's death, Warner Bros. Records bought out Morrison's contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks (1968). While initially a poor seller, the album has become regarded as a classic. Moondance (1970) established Morrison as a major artist, and he built on his reputation throughout the 1970s with a series of acclaimed albums and live performances.
Much of Morrison's music is structured around the conventions of soul music and R&B. An equal part of his catalogue consists of lengthy, spiritually inspired musical journeys that show the influence of Celtic tradition, jazz and stream-of-consciousness narrative, such as the album Astral Weeks. The two strains together are sometimes referred to as "Celtic soul". His live performances have been described as "transcendental" and "inspired", and his music as attaining "a kind of violent transcendence".

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Van Morrison - The Philosopher's Stone
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