Van's Recordings With Them
LTHOUGH VAN PLAYED WITH A NUMBER of local groups in his early Belfast years (including bands named The Thunderbirds and then The Four Jacks), Them was arguably the first "commercial" group that Van performed with. Them's first appearance on stage with Van on vocals was on Friday, April 17, 1964, at the Maritime Hotel - now demolished - in Belfast.
The band lineup was never stable - the photograph above shows the 8th lineup of Them, during a performance for American television on London's Embankment, two months before they left for their US tour in May of 1966. Van played with Them until 1966, when they parted ways. Them went on to record a number of albums without Van.
At one time there was an e-book version of The Tapestry Of Delights, Vernon Joynson's excellent and extensive guide to UK psychedelic, beat and progressive music between 1963 - 1976, available online; but the material is no longer available. A book version of Joynson's work was published; it is out of print, but you can check for it used through Amazon (UK).
David Chance has been compiling an extensive chronology of Van's early years with the Monarchs and Them. The discography entry describing the 1997 2CD release The Story of Them featuring Van Morrison also has some guideposts through the very confusing history of Them recordings.