Written by 6:00 am Audiophile Music

Hey Bulldog: Van Duren’s New Vintage Rock Echoes Beatles, Billy Joel & Big Star, Retrospective Reviewed On Vinyl, Tidal

Mark Smotroff likes discovering new music past present

AR-VanDurenVinylCD225.jpgI’ve been gushing a bunch to friends (and that includes you Dear Readers!) about this fine new album which came out on CD a little while back called Waiting: The Van Duren Story Original Documentary Soundtrack. I explored it earlier this year here on Audiophile Review, in fact (click here to jump to that). I finally got my hands on the vinyl version which goes some way to making an already great album that much more fulfilling. This is evident from the opening drum hits on “Grow Yourself Up” and its kicker follow up “Chemical Fire.”  

Wait…  What’s that you are asking? You don’t know who Van Duren is?  Well, you are forgiven because until this album I didn’t know about him either and I’m a pretty deep fan of all things Beatley-fab ‘n power pop ‘n such. But… things do fall through the cracks.

AR-VanDurenTidal225.jpgFrom my earlier review, I’ll recap: “In short, Van Duren played in a band with Chris Bell after he left Big Star and later recorded one of Bell’s songs on his first album. Van Duren put out two albums in the late 1970s both of which went nowhere commercially yet are revered in certain circles and very difficult to find in original pressings. Van Duren had some serious pop pedigree happening from the start apparently; from the official press release for Waiting: The Van Duren Story Original Documentary Soundtrack  we learn that Van Duren was at the time managed by no less than Andrew Loog Oldham (of Rolling Stones fame)!”

For an album made up of tracks from different periods across Van Duren’s career — recordings created in several studios, with various band line ups — there is a wonderful sense of consistency as an end-to-end album listen. Kudos to the producers of this collection over at Omnivore Records. By and large, my feelings for the album remain the same but the vinyl wins a bit over the CD version with somewhat bigger sounding drums and fuller bass. Details jump out at me like the width of the tom toms and little cymbal crashes and such which resonate a bit more.   

AR-HeyBulldogVanDuren225.jpgThose of you with access to the Tidal streaming music service can find Waiting: The Van Duren Story Original Documentary Soundtrack up there. You can click here for a direct jump to the album. And at 16-bits, 44.1 kHz resolution it sounds about the same as the CD version, certainly a very listenable introduction to the artist. 

But wait, there’s more: while you are streaming Tidal, do look for the Van Duren track from a 2006 Beatles tribute album  (Fried Glass Onions Vol. 3 – Memphis Rocks The Beatles). There he does a real hard rockin’ killer version of The Beatles’ “Hey Bulldog” that borders on grunge-y-ish near-metal (in a pop sort of way). Whatever way you want to describe it, this version is pretty smokin’ kids so click here to jump to it. 

I hope we’ll get to see Van Duren and his band live on tour supporting this new album and career renaissance. Van Duren’s time in the spotlight is long overdue. 


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