There’s nobody I’ve seen in concert more often than Van Morrison, although I admit it’s been a few years. I used to live in the Bay, where he lives, and got lots of chances back then. I’m giving away hisi third Best Of collection, which is mostly live and/or recent material, including songs with Tom Jones, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, The Chieftains, Ray Charles, and others.

It’s a major label release, so I’m not offering any free mp3s. They’ve got a stream.

Early In The Morning-Van with B.B. King

Full track list:

CD1

1. Cry For Home with Tom Jones
2. Too Long In Exile
3. Gloria with John Lee Hooker
4. Help Me with Junior Wells (live)
5. Lonely Avenue
6. Days Like This
7. Ancient Highway
8. Raincheck
9. Moondance
10. Centerpiece with Georgie Fame and Annie Ross
11. That’s Life (live)
12. Benediction (re-mix)
13. The Healing Game (re-mix)
14. I Don’t Want To Go On Without You

CD2
1. Shenandoah with The Chieftains
2. Precious Time
3. Back On Top (re-mix)
4. When The Leaves Come Falling Down
5. Lost John with Lonnie Donegan (live)
6. Tupelo Honey with Bobby Bland
7. Meet Me In The Indian Summer (Orchestral version)
8. Georgia On My Mind
9. Hey Mr. DJ
10. Steal My Heart Away
11. Crazy Love with Ray Charles
12. Once In A Blue Moon
13. Little Village
14. Blue And Green
15.Sitting On Top Of The World with Carl Perkins
16. Early In The Morning with B.B. King
17. Stranded

HOW TO WIN:

I was inspired yesterday. I saw a brilliant movie that deserves much more attention than it’s received thus far. The film is Rescue Dawn, a Werner Herzog film about an American soldier who was shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War, imprisoned by the V.C., and escaped. It’s a brilliant, philosophical and touching action pic starring Christian Bale and Steve Zahn. Christian is becoming one of the great actors of our time, quietly and gradually. And Steve is great in it, too.

Anyway, I’m probably a little biased on this point because prison movies are my favorite genre.

To win the Van Morrison CD, drop me a comment with your e-mail and your recommendation to me of the best prison film that isn’t on my list of my ten favorite prison films. If I agree with you that it should have been on the list and I fucked up, I’ll send you the CD. That simple. I warn you, though: I did consider many films not on this list: For example: I considered Fortress, Sugar Hill, and Half Past Dead, and both versions of The Longest Yard but they all suck. I considered The Naked Cage, Linda Blair’s second best film. I considered Green Mile, but I just didn’t like that movie all that much and the other Stephen King prison flick is so far superior anyway. I considered The Defiant Ones, Birdman of Alcatraz, Papillon, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Cool Hand Luke, and Bridge on the River Kwai–all great films, but just not quite great enough. I liked Let’s Go To Prison, but I think I’m the only one, so it didn’t go on the list. Ditto Tango and Cash. I even considered Chicken Run!

MY TEN FAVORITE PRISON MOVIES.

10. Caged Heat. Jonathan Demme’s masterful, cheese-filled sexploitation classic. The best example of a great subgenre of prison films.

9. Escape from Alcatraz. My second-favorite Clint movie.

8. Stir Crazy. Also known as the only really good Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor movie. I’ll never forgive them for not casting Pryor in Blazing Saddles.

7. Stalag 17. Not just a prison film, but a POW film as well. Much like Rescue Dawn, which, again, all of you should go see!

6. Bad Boys. Sean Penn and Ally Sheedy make a fantastic film about boy’s reformatories, and sadly nobody watches it. Rent it.

5. Escape from New York. Kurt Russel’s greatest film.

4. Moonlight Express. White kids in prison!

3. Short Eyes. Based on a play written by an actual inmate and starring the inmates themselves, this horrifyingly realistic film tells what happens to child molesters behind bars. Brilliant, and still powerful to a modern audience that’s become largely inured to violence.

2. American Me. A complex film that tells the story of three generations of Mexican Americans living in South Central. Only part of it deals with prison life, but I’m including it because this is another excellent movie that few people seem to know about.

1. The Shawshank Redemption. The obvious choice.

A few good jail tunes:

Jail Talk-Saigon

What Jail is Like-The Afghan Whigs (live 2/26/99)