Thursday, April 20, 2017
Van Morrison featuring the Caledonia Soul Orchestra
West Hollywood, CA
May 24, 1973, 8pm *Early Show
JF Archive Series Vol. 12 via JEMS
Source: unknown recorder > unknown microphone (mono)
JEMS 2015 Transfer: JF master TD???K cassette > Nakamichi CR-7A (azimuth adjustment) > Sound Devices USBPre 2 > Audacity 2.0 capture > iZotope RX4 > iZotope Ozone 5 > iZotope RX MBIT+ resample 16/44.1 > Peak Pro XT (edit / index) > xACT 2.21 > FLAC
02 Saint Dominic’s Preview
03 These Dreams of You
04 The Way Young Lovers Do
05 Snow In San Anselmo
06 Day By Day
07 Help Me
08 Bein’ Green
09 Listen To The Lion
10 Warm Love
11 Cyprus Avenue
JEMS is thrilled to relaunch the JF Archive series, this time presenting nine Van Morrison performances recorded in and around Southern California by JF circa 1973-74. For further details and backstory on JF, his tapes and the extraordinary lost Van performances from 1975 that started the series, please refer to the notes in Vol.
Unlike last year’s Lost California series, JF’s 1973-74 recordings have long been in circulation among collectors. However, this series marks the first-ever digitization and dissemination directly from his cassette masters. As JF himself notes below, the recordings were made with unlikely equipment but yielded surprisingly listenable results. Samples provided.
The 5/24/73 early show, opening night of a four-day run at the Troubadour, is notable for several reasons. It was the very first concert JF ever recorded as he details in his comments. Seven songs from this recording later turned up on what is believed to be the first ever Van Morrison bootleg LP, A Spawn of the Dublin Pubs, on the legendary Trademark of Quality label. And if that wasn’t enough, JF’s girlfriend at the time shot photos, four of which are included in this torrent and used in our cover art.
Several of the shows Van did in May-June of 1973 with the Caledonia Soul Orchestra were recorded and would later form the basis for the fantastic live album It’s Too Late To Stop Now. To his credit, Van changed up the set list with some frequency throughout the run, which meant many songs are not represented on the official document. In fact, no performances from this particular show are included on ITLTSN and the set features four tracks not found on the album at all: “The Way Young Lovers Do,” “Snow In San Anselmo,” “Day By Day” and “Bein’ Green.”
In all, this a lovely performance and another one of those “you are there” recordings, despite the lo-fi gear.
*Please note that Van Morrison reference sites, including the essential vanomatic.de, attribute this setlist to the LATE show on 5/24/73. JF is certain he recorded the EARLY show, given his age at the time, his clear memory and other details corroborated by his notes. JEMS believes this recording should set the record straight and flip the attribution of the set lists from this night’s two shows going forward.
Here are JF’s reflections of the show:
“This was the first concert I ever recorded. Over the next four or five years, and then again in the late 1980s when I lived in Boston, I recorded a total of around 100 shows. Most of my Van recordings were done on a large black recorder that belonged to my mother who used it in the elementary school classes she taught. It was probably 25-inches long, 15-inches wide, and a good 5-inches thick if not more. It was a hefty, front-loading machine on which you popped up a plastic cover and snapped the cassettes in place. The microphone was standard issue, nothing fancy. Fidelity wasn’t great, but it was good enough for about half of this recording to become part of the first Van Morrison boot I know of, A Spawn of the Dublin Pubs.
For this one, my girlfriend Laura Greenwood and I sat against the back left wall by the door leading to the dressing rooms, bathrooms and stairs to the balcony seats. Those seats in the tiny club were on a raised platform to give folks in the back a good view of the stage. I sat in the far left seat, Laura to my right, where she took some fabulous photos once the concert got started.
At one point as we waited and nursed our first drinks of the night (I was 18, Laura 19 at the time) I had the sensation of something going on immediately to my left. That is, I felt a sensation of heat and tension along the upper part of my left arm. I didn’t give it much thought, but it was undeniable. I recognized it then and haven’t forgotten it to this day. I looked to my left, and there in the dim, smoky light I saw a nondescript man in a grayish suit standing right next to me, nearly pushing up against my body as he tried to keep the doorway clear. His head came up to the top of my shoulder. I didn’t give him a second thought and went back to my conversation with Laura.
A few moments later, the voice of Doug Weston, founder and owner of the Troubadour, came over the sound system, encouraging us to give a warm welcome to Van Morrison. A roar went up and the small,gray figure standing to my left started for the stage. It was Van.”
Once again, our gratitude goes to JF, who reached out on DIME (you could be next!) and offered us his archive, which had been sitting in boxes, 6000 miles away from where he lives today, for 20+ years. Like so many early tapers, he had great stories to tell and the memories flooded back as we sorted through tapes. We are pleased to be able to bring his work to all of you. Please let him know through your comments that you are, too.
We also appreciate the unnamed Van collectors who helped get JF’s masters back in his control. Lastly, special thanks to mjk5510, who continues his yeoman duty as JEMS’ post-production and quality-control supervisor. His contributions are essential in getting the music to you.