Moondance – Van Morrison

Released January 27, 1970 UK and a month later in the US this marked a big departure from his previous abstract folk jazz compositions to a more structured composed songs. An immediate critical and commercial success it established him as a major popular artist of the decade. It was also responsible for turning FM Radio to a more adult-contemporary/soft-rock format to dominate the airwaves in the 70s. It has gone 3x Platinum in the U.S.

Brad: Had you ever listened to this album before this?

Jason: I don’t think so but I have heard most of the songs. You?

Brad: No. I have listened to his “greatest hits” over the years but I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a Van Morrison album. I figured I would like it but I was surprised by how many times I listened to this one. I just kept playing it over and over.

Jason: Me too, I really liked it as well. Would you be surprised to learn that I was surprised to learn that this was released almost 50 years ago? I thought he was around mostly in the 80s, I think because I associate him with “Brown Eyed Girl” which was made (re)famous from one of my favorite movies. You know which one.

Brad: Sleeping with the Enemy! Canned goods have never been more terrifying than in that movie.

Jason: Exactly! So because of that movie (which for some reason I find comforting) I thought he was more of a mid-80s singer. Meanwhile, “Brown Eyed Girl” was his first single in 1967. I guess my point is that his music is pretty timeless.

Brad: I agree! So many newer artists cover songs from this album. Especially, the title track and “Crazy Love”. Both are such great songs but I think my favorite song on here is “Into the Mystic”. In fact, it might be one of my favorite songs of all time.

Jason: “Into the Mystic” is one of my favorites too. For some reason I thought R.E.M. covered it because I swear there is a version of that song that I listened to repeatedly in the early to mid 90s but for the life of me I can’t find it.

Brad: Hmmm we’ll have to find out. You and I were recently in Michigan with family at a cabin in the woods. I was listening to this while sitting by the river, reading my book & drinking a beer. It was the perfect soundtrack for that.

Jason: It definitely is! It has a cool summer vibe. So I asked you yesterday to listen to “Caravan” and pay attention to the quick piano riff at about 3:35 to see if it sounded like anything else. Did you and do you know what it reminded me of?

Brad: I listened to that part several times and I don’t know what it reminds you of but I’m curious to find out.

Jason: It is EXACTLY like the opening “Into The Night” by Benny Mardones. I mean it is that same riff. I think Mardones stole it from Van Morrison. Now that I said it listen to them back to back.

Brad: Just listened. Oh yeah. I see what you mean! We are giving that creepy song too much attention.

Jason: I know. That’s two times we’ve referenced it. By the way I really like “Caravan.” I like the end “Turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher, radio.
Turn it up, that’s enough.”

Brad: It is really good. That is one of the songs I had never heard before. Or at least not that I remembered. “And it Stoned Me” is another one of my favorites. Also, the background vocals on “Crazy Love” and “Brand New Day” are so good.

Jason: Are they sung by anyone we should know?

Brad: I looked them up. It is a trio that includes Judy Clay, Emily Houston & Jackie Verdell. I don’t recognize those names but I want to know more about them.Oh wait…Emily Houston is Cissy Houston which is Whitney’s Mother

Jason: Oh! That’s interesting.

Brad: She sang background on another one of our favorites. Aretha’s “I Never Loved A Man The Way I Loved You” album.

Jason: She was probably one of those “twenty feet from stardom” type singers.

Brad: Possibly.

Jason: By the way, usually I hate songs that repeat a word over and over but I like “Everyone” even when he sings “every one, every one, every one, every one” (x20) then seemingly has a stroke and says “nyahmwah nwahyyneah, mmbwawbwahla”

Brad: Ha! That is surprising for you.

Jason: The song that I really like that I didn’t know before hand is “Glad Tidings.” I can’t help but sing along and dance a bit to that one.

Brad: I didn’t know that song either. It reminds me a little of “Brown Eyed Girl”

Jason: Another great one to dance too. Well, what grade are you giving Moondance?

Brad: I have to give this album an A. I’ve also added it to my vinyl album wishlist and I might need to go back and listen to more of his albums.

Jason: I am also going to go with an A because it surprised me. Now I am going to see if there is a 12″ dance remix of “Glad Tidings”. La la la la. La la la la.

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