His Band and the Street Choir
Warner Bros. 1884-2
Review by Scott Thomas:
Notes about the making of His Band and the Street Choir
from Janet Morrison Minto (formerly Janet
There's a small picture of Mary Martin, Van's miracle worker of a manager at the time (the lady with short hair and glasses) on the inside dust jacket: I remember her once saying to me at about the time of the recording of this record, "Janet, don't let him get too happy - the music will start to suffer." I thought at the time that it was a most shocking sentiment and naturally paid no attention to her point. My one and only obsessive activity during my time with Van was this fool's errand: To MAKE him Happy! As misguided and ultimately futile as this mission of mine was, during the time we became The Street Choir and made HB&TSC I really thought I was winning the battle!
I still think that there is much to love about the songs on this album: Blue Money, Crazy Face, Call Me Up In Dreamland, Domino - these are just great songs in any era, but certainly one important thing to remember about this one in particular was that Van was at his most relaxed and contented in his personal life; this was no small accomplishment after the the last few years of struggle and travail. We were finally, really LIVING in a dreamland - believe it or not - it was that magical a time. And may I just say one other thing - Van was absolutely the most adorable gingery heart throb I ever hope to meet! Thank you - I just needed to state that for the record.
The photos were taken during a family birthday party of Peter's. It had been a lovely afternoon, very relaxed and the band had set up and played in our front yard for the families of Peter's friends and of course our own very extended group of band members' families. Shana was a few months old and the apple of her Daddy's eye. I should have known right away she would be a singer - this child had the loudest voice I'd ever heard coming from a baby!
So for me, HB&TSC was a musical manifestation and paean to real happiness, such a fleeting commodity, so hard-won and hung onto about as successfully as a juggler balancing spinning plates on sticks, but precious to me beyond saying and worth noting again, I think. /P>