“Listen to the Lion”

l1350914In his first few years of solo stardom, Van the Man would sometimes jam in a way I find honorable:  Repeating a simple lick on the guitar or piano (nothing ornate), he’d lock on a groove that let him shimmy and scat into a hypnotic zone that was all the more entrancing because he didn’t float off into the ether (or, ahem, the mystic).  In terms of chords, of instruments, he kept his feet on the ground.  The starting point was “Madame George,” from the Astral Weeks album.  “Listen to the Lion” furthers the theme.  He channels something deep within his soul-whoa-whoa; and if I didn’t know better, I’d say he’s singing about the importance of being true to oneself, of listening to and following one’s heart, and going with a flow for which words become unsuitable, a flow that is finally guttural.  There are songs, and there are Songs.  This one deserves a monument.


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