Van Morrison – Almost Independence Day

The intro to this song is worth the price of admission. Van Morrison and guitar player Ron Elliot are trading guitar licks and then Lee Charlton joins with some great jazz-influenced drums. Van has said it was written in a stream of consciousness style. The recording was more of a jam than a thought out rehearsed process. It’s easy to get lost in this song.

Morrison released this song and album Saint Dominic’s Preview in 1972. I “found” Van in the 80s. I had heard Domino, Blue Money, and Wavelength (on SNL) when I was a kid but first heard “Brown Eyed Girl” when I was 18 years old. Why it took me so long I don’t know but after that, I had to know everything about him.

I was lucky to see him in concert in 2006 at the Ryman. If you ever get the chance to see him…don’t pass it up. His voice is even better in concert than on record and that is saying something.

Van Morrison: I picked up the phone and the operator said, “You have a phone call from Oregon. It’s Mister So-and-So.” It was a guy from the group Them. And then there was nobody on the other end. So out of that I started writing, “I can hear Them calling, ‘way from Oregon.” That’s where that came from.

Almost Independence Day

I can hear them calling way from Oregon
I can hear them calling way from Oregon
And it’s almost Independence Day

Me and my lady, we go steppin’ (we go steppin’)
We go steppin’ way out on China town
All to buy some Hong Kong silver
And the wadin’ rushing river (we go steppin’)
We go out on the, out on the town tonight

I can hear the fireworks
I can hear the fireworks
I can hear the fireworks
Up and down the, up and down the San Francisco bay
Up and down the, up and down the San Francisco bay
I can hear them echoing
I can hear, I can hear them echoing
Up and down the, up and down the San Francisco bay

I can see the boats in the harbor (way across the harbor)
Lights shining out (lights shining out)
And a cool, cool night
And a cool, cool night across the harbor
I can hear the fireworks
I can hear the people, people shouting out
I can hear the people shouting out (up and down the line)
And it’s almost Independence Day

I can see the lights way out in the harbor
And the cool, and the cool, and the cool night
And the cool, and the cool, and the cool night breeze
And I feel the cool night breeze
And I feel, feel, feel the cool night breeze
And the boats go by
And it’s almost Independence Day
And it’s almost, and it’s almost Independence Day

Way up and down the line
Way up and down the line…

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

30 thoughts on “Van Morrison – Almost Independence Day”

  1. One concert regret I have never seen Van The Man in concert. Heard a story yesterday that I had forgotten- late 60’s Van wanted to be the singer for The Band but was too shy to ask. He would drive around Woodstock past Big Pink hoping one of The Band members would be outside- see him and invite him in- and ask him to be their singer.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If I heard that about Van I don’t remember. That is so funny that he did that. It sounds like a guy trying to get the attention of a girl.

      They could have had Eric Clapton and Van Morrison… What an influence they had going on…so many people wanted to join or be like them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a great tune, which I don’t think I had heard before. There’s a snippet that sounds a bit like Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.” I think it’s mainly the chord change from what sounds like e-minor to G-major and some of the guitar-playing around that.

    Anyway, my intro to Van Morrison was the marvelous “Moondance” album. I love it to this day! In fact, now that I mentioned it, I feel like listening to this record right now!

    I’ve also listened to “Astral Weeks” and some of his other albums. In addition, I dig his music with Them. Some of their stuff sounds better than the early Rolling Stones, at least when it comes to rock & roll covers. For example, check out Them’s version of “Route 66” – fantastic and better than the Stones. And I say this as somebody who really digs the Stones.

    My dear music buddy from Germany is a huge Van Morrison fan, and he has also raved about his concerts. I’d love to see the man, if an opportunity presented itself!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was going to say the same thing about the Pink Floyd song.

      I love Them. You are right some of that stuff does sound better. Mystic Eyes, Here Comes The Night, etc… his voice is just incredible.

      He had those stretch of albums from Astral Weeks through to Veedon Fleece that was just unbeatable…I picked up after that also with Wavelength but those are the albums I listen to the most.

      If you ever get the chance…do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All of his music is great but it’s something about those early seventies albums that get me.
        Tupelo Honey is very radio friendly and the title track is one of my favorites from him. Heck you can’t go wrong wherever you start.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And he’s still remarkably active. Since 2015, Van Morrison has released 7 albums – that’s kind of incredible for an artist in that stage of their career!

        I do remember sampling one of them – blanking on the name now – and while it wasn’t exactly another “Moondance” or “Astral Weeks,” I thought it still was pretty good!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Tupelo Honey is not seen as one of his best albums by a lot of fans but I love it.
        Moondance and Astral Weeks are probably his two best albums…by critics and fans I would say.
        When I saw him at the Ryman I was blown away…he had just released an album then.


      4. You’re welcome. This is really great. I took a break and I’m now back listening to who I believe is Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram. He’s doing a killer rendition of “The Thrill Is Gone”!


      5. Here’s the line-up for tomorow. The times are all Pacific.

        12:00 Sons of the Soul Revivers (2017)
        12:30 Linda Hornbuckle w Howard Tate & Janice Scroggins Gospel (2002)
        1:00 Larkin Poe (2019) Beth Hart (2018) Robert Plant (2013)
        1:30 Greg Koch & Malford Milligan (2009)
        2:00 Anson & Sam Meyers (1993)
        2:30 Norman Sylvester (2017)
        3:00 Johnny Dyer & Holmstrom (1994)
        3:30 Samantha Fish with Ty and Kingfish (2016)
        4:00 Curtis Salgado (2014)
        4:30 Little Feat (2006)
        5:00 Allan Toussaint (2015)
        6:00 Tedeschi Trucks Band (2016)


    2. GOD! Thank you. I was just sitting here, thinking “That intro sounds mighty similar to something else…” and I couldn’t for the life of me remember what song it was. YES. Pink Floyd.

      I’ve never heard this…other than the opening sounding like “Wish You Were Here.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. LOL…it does…I looked it up and this one was 3 years before Wish You Were Here. I like the sound of this one and his voice mimicking that guitar in the intro.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, the sound at the start here sounds awfully similar and thoughout (ridiculously so with arrangement /chord progression) to ‘Wish You Were Here’ – Pink Floyd. This is like a jazz-up version. I don’t know which was first written. As a song on its own – this one is excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This one was first by 3 years… it’s something about this song that I love…I get lost in…Van’s voice has a way of doing that to me.


  4. The intro is reminiscent of ‘wish you were here’ (pink floyd). I like some of Van Morrison’s output but have to be in the mood for it. I also liked Them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I ordered Them imports from England at Tower records after I heard Brown Eyed Girl. Still can’t believe I didn’t hear that song until I was 18.
      Van’s early seventies albums were great…I liked Tupelo Honey and Saint Dominic’s Preview alot.

      Wish You Were Here does sound like this some…I agree.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We have that in common. I think the only thing I ever got to early were The Beatles. Other than that I’m always late to the party.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Some time in the mid eighties, I asked a friend of mine who was a part-time music journalist, to send me complilation tapes of music I’d missed for several years, so I ‘caught up’ with all sorts of stuff and bands I’d not heard. A few friends did that for me in the earlier years, now of course I have blogs like yours and youtube to help me!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Nothing better than I like than finding new old music. I miss the original boat everytime Val.

        Oasis is one band I ignored until 10 or so years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. This music just takes you to a different place…I agree…Van really influenced a lot of people. I went through a long Van phase in the 80s…discovering his early seventies albums.

      Liked by 1 person

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