In February, members of Vinyl Me, Please Essentials will receive an exclusive reissue of Van Morrison’s Veedon Fleece, an overlooked classic in his catalog. Our edition comes on transparent emerald green,180-gram vinyl with a tip-on jacket. You can sign up to receive it here.
Below, read why we picked Veedon Fleece, and the details of our reissue.
Andrew Winistorfer: With this Record of the Month, I know that this was on a spreadsheet at the end of 2016 for us to maybe do this sometime in 2017. So, for almost as long as I’ve been at VMP, we’ve been circling this one. Why was it something you wanted us to do? This one has kind of been a Cameron Schaefer pet project for that whole time.
Cameron Schaefer: I have to give credit to Levi (Sheppard, who works at VMP) who introduced it to me probably six or seven years ago. What was fascinating to me about it was that I always love when I know an artist — or know their big songs — and then someone introduces me to an album in their catalog that I don’t know that is amazing. There’s so much music out there, it’s easy, if you haven’t listened to Van Morrison, to just listen to his top songs or to Google “best Van Morrison album.” While that’s efficient, oftentimes it keeps people from listening to what the algorithm has decided is the third most “important” album in an artist’s discography. And lots of times, especially an artist of Van Morrison’s caliber, he has a whole catalog of amazing albums you might never get to. Everyone wants to just talk about Moondance or Astral Weeks.
Yeah, totally. But Veedon Fleece is like this dark horse album as a pick for the best in his catalog. Deep Van heads still treat it like it’s this thing to decode.
And Van himself still holds it in really high regard, and it’s near to his heart. When we approached his label and team to do this, they were pretty surprised that this is the one we zeroed in on. In some ways, because it wasn’t the obvious pick of doing the umpteenth reissue of Moondance, there was a level of trust that led them to giving us permission to do this project. They were surprised we wanted this one, and said yes.
What excites me about Veedon Fleece is that it’s his most free-flowing album. You can hear him free soloing on his vocals. In those moments, you’re getting a glimpse of his raw genius as an artist. There are other songs that are catchier in his catalog, but some of the stuff he does here, it’s akin to watching a live jazz performer solo.
Absolutely. And knowing our track record, you look at his catalog, and of course we’re going to do Veedon Fleece as our pick. We’re the club that did Sorcerer and For the Sake of the Song (laughs). We want to give you the record that helps tell the full story of an artist’s career; we’re not going to give you the record that is the easiest to find in a record store. We want to give you a deeper look at an artist’s career. That excited me about this one; I hadn’t listened to this till it was on this sheet, and was blown away.
Remastering and package-wise, what can you let the people know?
This one was remastered from the original tapes a while ago and the label was sort of waiting on the right time to reissue it, so we used that version. It’s on translucent emerald green vinyl, 180-gram. It’s got a pearlescent tip-on jacket, that gives it a glistening effect. It’s trying to honor that amazing cover, with him and the dogs. What an amazing cover.
Yeah, really good month if you like Irish poets and big dogs.
Andrew Winistorfer is Senior Director of Music and Editorial at Vinyl Me, Please, and a writer and editor of their books, 100 Albums You Need in Your Collection and The Best Record Stores in the United States. He’s written Listening Notes for more than 30 VMP releases, co-produced multiple VMP Anthologies, and executive produced the VMP Anthologies The Story of Vanguard, The Story of Willie Nelson, Miles Davis: The Electric Years and The Story of Waylon Jennings. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.