Them – Mystic Eyes/Gloria (Music Hall de France, 1965)

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Speaking of riveting live performances…

While I’ve got your attention, watch this.

It ain’t slick, and that’s its charm. Take a look at the audience. Even the oldster is into it!

Despite being a TV mix, you can hear all the instruments. The drumming is so simple, yet it pushes the performance forward like a caboose with an engine inside. The sound of the guitar, played Townshend/windmill style, is unprocessed and real, its imperfection is riveting. And then you’ve got the bass dancing under the whole thing, like a stoner in a trance possessed by the music. The organ adds texture, but it’s Van Morrison’s harmonica that cuts to the bone.

And the way he’s oblivious to the audience, a slave to the music.

When done right, music is performed in one’s head, the audience is superfluous.

The sound is so infectious. It’s akin to what Nirvana did almost three decades later. Strip it down, expose the essence, make it about the emotion, and the sound.

And halfway through, when they switch to “Gloria”…

You actually get the feeling there’s a real “Gloria”. You can picture her, yup, about 5’4″. And her name is…G…L…0…R…I…A!

So simple, yet so right, this song is so infectious that it was a hit in America by a completely different group.

But this version is different. Its got AUTHENTICITY!

You wonder why women are drawn to musicians. Why they need to get close, why they’ll follow them to the ends of the earth. WATCH THIS CLIP!

There’s something inside Van Morrison.

And you just want to get closer. You NEED to get closer!

This may be forty five years old, but it’s more vital than anything on the hit parade. Makes you want to pick up an instrument and play yourself.

As a matter of fact, that’s what we did!

(Thanks to Harold Bronson, the Rhino co-creator and sixties aficionado, for the heads-up.)

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