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Old 06-07-2008, 05:23 PM   #16 (permalink)
Son of JayJamJah
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Default Moondance (1970): Part One

Following Astral Weeks release Van took a sort of hiatus, the first, though by far shortest, of what would become a pattern following on of his “darker” song cycle style albums. Almost a full year after the release of Astral Weeks Van entered the studio and began constructing the concept he had for Moondance. Intentionally contrary but executed with the same passion regardless. The result is the best example of what Van Morrison was, is and hopefully will continue to be.

Moondance (1970)

This was the first Van Morrison album I ever listened to, ever bought and ever loved. Almost the anti-Astral Weeks in the sense that the songs stand out individually much more then collectively, still there is a tremendous consistency in quality and a unique nature that is somehow more soulful and sincere then much music of similar styles. Poppy and brash at times, nostalgic and optimistic throughout. Every song is a celebration of either a good time had or bright things to come. From the opening track’s “Rain let up and sun came up” till the finale “Glad Tidings” Morrison shows that the dark side of Astral Weeks which deals with the agony of life at times is worth the struggle because of the beauty and happiness displayed in Moondance…

1. And it Stoned Me – Country style R&B ditty recanting a day in the life of a young Van Morrison. Horn driven chorus as Morrison expresses his childhood apprehension towards leaving the countryside. The optimism builds from verse to verse as first the kids are soaked by the rain, then the sun comes out to dry them in verse two are their fortune changes. Arriving at their destination they embrace the day and jump fully clothed into the pond, their positive attitude is rewarded in the final verse when they while thirst encounter a stranger who shares who gives them a drink. This song’s placement is no accident. This is Van pulling his from the depths of Astral Weeks fatale finale into the celebration awaiting them. 8.5\10

2. Moondance – Has probably become the most popular song from the most popular album Morrison has ever released and it’s doubtful that’s how it was envisioned in its infant stages. This jazzy and jumpy proclamation of confidence within the uncertainty of love has become a pop radio staple but was originally thought of as more of a sophisticated song, a foray into Jazz but a young man who prided him self of incorporating all elements of music he felt into his own. The stand up bass contrasts the flute behind a steady rhythm section as the songs snaps from note to note with that characteristic Morrison grace. Probably better then I give it credit because I take it for granted due to its success and relative over exposure. At least an 8\10

3. Crazy Love – Acoustic style ballad driven by a delicate vocal and a soothing bass line. As relaxing a track as the Van had introduced as of the time. A good song that has the ability to be even better when the listener is in the mood. There is almost no disturbance to the song, it paces along very consistently as one does when trying to pass through a room without waking someone. The bridge is as close to a step-up as there is. Best known version my be duet with bob Dylan. 8\10

4. Caravan – Some songs are better live then they are on LP, while great either way, Caravan is magical live. Van makes it this way by pouring his heart and soul into every performance. Caravan is a fun song that celebrates the radio and music in general while using gypsy life as a sort of parallel vehicle\metaphor. Highlighted by a gentle acoustic backup and a pulse setting horn section, includes on of Morrison’s more extended instrumental works on the albums final takes. With a powerful punchy bridge driving the song from verse to chorus and back the song is up-beat and energetic and mellow from the beginning; a real solid piece of the Moodance puzzle. 9\10

5. Into the Mystic – The first four bars of this song are perfect. It just doesn’t get any better then this. This song gives me Goosebumps almost every time I hear it. The gentle rhythms of the verse lead into the dramatic escalating pre-chorus before exploding into the powerful symphonic chorus ascending “into the mystic”. With horns, strings, brass and keys all at work in perfect synchronization the song is a spiritual musical journey that takes a hold of you and won’t let go. As unselfish a song as there could ever be, it allows you to exist among it as if perfectly designed. Morrison describes it’s neutrality best: "Into the Mystic" is another one like "Madame Joy" and "Brown Skinned Girl". Originally I wrote it as "Into the Misty". But later I thought that it had something of an ethereal feeling to it so I called it "Into the Mystic". That song is kind of funny because when it came time to send the lyrics in WB Music, I couldn't figure out what to send them. Because really the song has two sets of lyrics. For example, there's "I was born before the wind" and "I was borne before the wind", and also "Also younger than the son, Ere the bonny boat was one" and "All so younger than the son, Ere the bonny boat was won"...I guess the song is just about being part of the universe.” Exactly. 10\10

(to be continued...immediately)

Last edited by Son of JayJamJah; 06-07-2008 at 05:33 PM.
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