The Philosopher's Stone (album)

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The Philosopher's Stone
Compilation album by Van Morrison
Released 16 June 1998 (1998-06-16)
Recorded 1969–1988
Genre Blues, R & B
Length 153:07
Label Polydor
Producer Van Morrison
Van Morrison chronology
The Healing Game
(1997)
The Philosopher's Stone
(1998)
Back on Top
(1999)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly A−[2]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[3]

The Philosopher's Stone is a compilation album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison released in 1998 (see 1998 in music).

The songs released on this 2-CD thirty track album were previously unreleased outtakes from 1969 to 1988. The album features twenty-five songs that had never been released and alternative renditions of "The Street Only Knew Your Name" (Inarticulate Speech of the Heart), "Wonderful Remark" (The Best of Van Morrison), "Real Real Gone" (Enlightenment), "Joyous Sound" (A Period of Transition), "Flamingos Fly" (A Period of Transition) and "Bright Side of the Road" (Into the Music).

Three songs on the album were evidently intended for Morrison's unreleased 1975 album Mechanical Bliss. "Twilight Zone", "Foggy Mountain Top" and "Flamingos Fly" were all mixed in 1974 just before Mechanical Bliss was due to come out.

Original release[edit]

The Philosopher's Stone Volume One was originally scheduled to be released in July 1996. When it was released, some of the tracks had been changed; "When I Deliver", "John Brown's Body" and "I'm Ready" were replaced by "The Street Only Knew Your Name", "Western Plains" and "Joyous Sound".[4] "John Brown's Body" and "I'm Ready" were eventually released as B-sides on Morrison's 1999 single "Back on Top".[5]

Album sleeve notes[edit]

Many of the recording dates on the album notes are incorrect. "Really Don't Know" was recorded in 1969, not 1971 as the musicians recording with him were only working with him in that particular year. Also tracks from "Wonderful Remark" to "Drumshanbo Hustle" were all recorded in 1972 not 1973, as well as "There There Child", recorded in 1972 not 1976. On disc two "John Henry" was supposed to have been recorded in 1977, but in fact was recorded two years earlier, as Morrison didn't actually record anything in 1977. "Crazy Jane on God" was recorded with Moving Hearts in 1983 for the album A Sense of Wonder. From the same sessions the songs "A Sense of Wonder" and "Boffyflow and Spike" were used for the album. The recording date of these songs was 1983 (as stated on the album itself) but the date on The Philosopher's Stone claims "Crazy Jane on God" was recorded in 1984.[6]

Scott Thomas in the fan magazine Wavelength noted:

Everything about The Philosopher's Stone, from its format to its packaging to its song selection, seems designed to divorce the tracks from their historical milieu...When we open the package, there are no essays, no interviews, no archival photos — just lyrics (often incorrectly transcribed) and credits which include the year of the session.[4]

Van Morrison on the previously unreleased songs[edit]

"It's hard to work out why you didn't put something out at the time. Usually it felt like it didn't fit...When I was with Warner Brothers they were very minimalist."[4]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Van Morrison unless noted.

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album - UK Album Chart

Year Chart Position
1998 UK Album Chart 20[citation needed]

Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1998 The Billboard 200 87[citation needed]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Tony Scherman (19 June 1998). "Entertainment Weekly review". Ew.com. Retrieved 2012-03-06. 
  3. ^ Rolling Stone review[dead link]
  4. ^ a b c Heylin, Can You Feel the Silence, p 477
  5. ^ Rogan, No Surrender, p.606
  6. ^ Heylin, Can You Feel the Silence?, pp. 519-525
  7. ^ "Rick Shlosser – About". rickshlosser.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 

References[edit]