Title: "Slim Slow Slider"
Artist: Van Morrison
Album: Astral Weeks, 1969
Written By: Van Morrison
This stark beauty closes Van's masterpiece, Astral Weeks. One of the more obscure tunes on this list, but that is part of the fun of a more subjective, personal list. Not the same old songs that appear on every Rolling Stone magazine list. Van sometimes goes through the motions, and he can get away with it because his cruise control is top notch when compared to many other popular artists, his talent is so immense. But when Van really throws himself into his music, he is untouchable. I don't think I've ever heard a song so beautiful from a popular artist. And that note on the bass at 1:30 ("you're out of reach") and again at 2:32 ("I know you're dyin', baby")...that is perfection.
BELOW: Bonus clip. You've got to check this clip out if you appreciate Van Morrison at all. This is a live version of "Slim Slow Slider" from his 2009 tour where he played Astral Weeks through in its entirety (It is available on disc too, I would recommend it). There is no way to recapture that stark magic from the original cut, so Van doesn't try to. Instead, he expands this stark three minute tune to a exciting eight minute jazz improvisation. I love at about 6:55, where he points to his piano player to solo. It is not a very friendly gesture, like "play, motherf*cker." I can't imagine Van is the easiest going dude to play for.