I’m 46 and on whim the other day I was browsing and bought Astral Weeks on CD second hand for three quid.
I’ve no idea why I’ve avoided this record for so long – it wasn’t conscious avoidance. I had a vague notion it might be up my street, but just never got round to it. Other Van stuff I’ve chanced on hasn’t really floated my boat (Moondance, Brown Eyed Girl, ugh) apart from Them stuff (Baby Please Don’t Go, hooray). Plus Astral Weeks seems to exist in a little bubble of its own – I don’t think I’ve ever heard any of the tracks by chance at any point.
Anyway – stating the obvious here, but – isn’t it terrific???? It’s seriously genius and I really wasn’t expecting it to be so good. On these eight tracks Van seemed to find some unique yearning voice and oblique lyric style that’s pitched somewhere between Dylan, Nick Drake and early Lou Reed (and is easily the equal of any of them). And the musical arrangements are just unbeatable – brilliant interplay between the band.
It’s one of those records that really touches the big beyond, like so few records do.
I’m laughing at the irony that I think of myself as a music fan but I’m only just discovering this now. Happy days indeed. It feels wonderful to realise it’s never too late to make a new musical discovery, even such an obvious one as this!