Van Morrison – Saint Dominic’s Preview…Desert Island Albums

This is my tenth-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days. This wraps up the Desert Island Album portion of our show…now on to other albums and music movies. 


When I was 18 in 1985 I heard Brown Eyed Girl for the first time. Somehow I missed that song growing up…which seems impossible but the song took me down a great path. I started to order imports of Van’s early Them records and then started on his 70’s solo albums.

I bought them out of order but I ended up with his late sixties and seventies albums like Astral Weeks, Moondance,  His Band and Street Choir, Veedon Fleece, Wavelength, Tupelo Honey, Hard Nose The Highway and this one (I then worked on the 80’s albums). I traveled a lot in my car in those days…seeing a girlfriend or just cruising about. Saint Dominic’s Preview was  an album I kept going back for Van’s voice, phrasing and songwriting.

The album peaked at #15 in the Billboard Album Charts and #14 in Canada in 1972.

When I got the album I had a summer job in the middle of nowhere in this back water town. I had to drive over an hour to get there and Van kept me company singing about Safeway’s Supermarket and Redwood Trees. One listen to this album and I’m young, carefree, and having a really good time living life. Music brings back memories and this one makes me feel exactly like I felt then.

The title track Saint Dominic’s Preview is a great piece of work. This song and Tupelo Honey are probably my favorite Van Morrison songs. This one takes you on a lyrical journey…And for every cross cuttin’ country corner, country corner
For every Hank Williams railroad train that cried, And all the chains, badges, flags and emblems, And every strain on brain and every eye

Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile) is all about happiness. Whenever I feel down…I play this and it’s impossible to feel down. The song is an obvious tribute to the great Jackie Wilson. I’m in heaven, when you smile

Almost Independence Day is an epic song. It has a nice flow to it and it was largely improvised. Van Morrison and guitar player Ron Elliot are trading guitar licks and then Lee Charlton joins with some great jazz-influenced drums. The over all sound of this is fantastic.

Redwood Tree evokes nostalgia and memories of growing up, in a similar way as his song And It Stoned Me. Oh redwood tree, Please let us under
When we were young we used to go, Under the redwood tree

So we are set on our respective islands with our top ten albums now. The only regret I have is that we didn’t have more favorite album picks…but it has to be some limit. The Beatles, The Who, Big Star, The Zombies, The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers, The Kinks, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Van Morrison. Not a bad 10.

Saint Dominic's Preview, In Cleveland Of All Places | by Patrick Hosken |  Medium

Now let’s move on to the last three.

1. Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)
2. Gypsy
3. I Will Be There
4. Listen to the Lion
5. Saint Dominic’s Preview
6. Redwood Tree
7. Almost Independence

Saint Dominic's Preview (Remastered) | HIGHRESAUDIO


Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

13 thoughts on “Van Morrison – Saint Dominic’s Preview…Desert Island Albums”

  1. Man, does this album sound great. I think it’s right my alley, so I definitely have to queue this one up!

    BTW, it just occurred to me portions of “Almost Independence Day” have a striking similarity to Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.” I’m not saying David Gilmour and Roger Waters stole it from Van Morrison. Still, it’s remarkable…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes they are similar I agree…it is a great earthy album… I think you will like it.
      The title track is really a great song and a great piece of songwriting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I definitely have to listen to the entire album. The tracks you highlighted all sound great.

        When it comes to entire albums by Van Morrison, I’m most familiar with the fantastic “Moondance.” I’ve also listened to “Astral Weeks.”

        Beyond that it’s mostly songs I know. BTW, I also dig Van’s early work with Them. They were a great band. Frankly, I think their cover of “Route 66” has more bit than the Stones!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I love Them…Tupelo Honey is a great album to me also. Really accessible…You can’t beat Astral Weeks.
        I’m with you on Route 66… their entire catalog is really good.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Though I’ve never been what you’d call a huge fan of Van Morrison, I’ve always liked his music. One of my best friends absolutely loves him, and he’s probably her all-time favorite artist. I learned to appreciate his music partly through her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. His music ties in with The Band and Dylan to me…that earthy feel…plus I love his voice. I saw him live and his voice is better live than on record.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. While I’ve written about lots of “guys with guitars” singer-songwriters for my blog (primarily because they’ve asked me to review their music), I guess I’ve always preferred big-sounding music like rock (though not very much 70s-80s hard rock), power pop, R&B, soul, disco, new wave and synthpop. I never got into the Grateful Dead AT ALL, and though I like The Band and Bob Dylan well enough, I wouldn’t want to spend hours listening to their music.

        There are a few exceptions of course: I love Paul Simon, James Taylor, Carole King & Joni Mitchell, as well as contemporary artists like John Mayer, Kurt Vile, Courtney Barnett, Hozier, Vance Joy and Dermot Kennedy.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ok…that makes sense. I’m with you on most of that.

        My biggest hangup is synthpop… there is some I like but artists like Madonna is to me what the Grateful Dead is to you…the shame of it is…I grew up in that decade. I was known as an old soul in school music wise.

        Liked by 1 person

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