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. 

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 10- PICK 3- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- VAN MORRISON- SAINT DOMINIC’S PREVIEW

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

 

Van Morrison – Moondance

One of Van the Man’s best songs. The jazz and bouncy feel of this song hooks you. I really started to notice the song in the movie An American Werewolf in London. 

The song was the title track to the Moondance album released in 1970.

Van didn’t release the song as a single until 1977…over seven years after it was first released. The song peaked at #92 in the Billboard 100 in 1977.

“Moondance” started as a Jazz saxophone instrumental, and Van played that original sax solo he wrote for the song. Van had said he used to play this sax number over and over, anytime h picked up his horn.

The song was listed as #226 in Rolling Stone magazine’s December 2004 feature “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

From Songfacts

Van Morrison comes up with songs many different ways, sometimes a lyric or title idea sparks a song, and other times it’s a melody. 

That Rolling Stone quote is about all you’re going to get from Van regarding the song. He is notoriously fickle when it comes to speaking about his music, as he feels that the songs should speak for themselves. The liner notes to the Moondance album were written by his girlfriend Janet Planet, and instead of a traditional explanation of the recording process or a list of thank-you’s these notes are a fable, telling the story of an artist in ancient times who has a great gift but keeps it to himself. When his wife gets sick, he cures her using his gift of song. She then asks, “But who will ease your pain, who will save you?”

The flute is a big part of this song. It was played by Collin Tilton, who replaced John Payne on the instrument for the Moondance album.

This song plays throughout the sex scene in the 1981 movie An American Werewolf in London (Director John Landis also asked Cat Stevens for the use of “Moonshadow,” but was turned down). It was also used in a 2002 episode of the TV series The West Wing.

Pianist and organist Jeff Labes recalled the recording of the track to Uncut: “I remember ‘Moondance’ itself was a big question mark. It was jazzy, and didn’t seem to belong to the pack. The first time we recorded it, it came out really well, but Van thought there must be a catch. So we did it about a dozen times, and ended up going back to the first one, He liked to sing live along with the track, because Sinatra did that. He loved having a first-take vocal. He was looking for the magic.”

Moondance

Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
‘Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I’m trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
And all the night’s magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush

Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love
Can I just make some more romance with you, my love

Well, I want to make love to you tonight
I can’t wait ’til the morning has come
And I know now the time is just right
And straight into my arms you will run
And when you come my heart will be waiting
To make sure that you’re never alone
There and then all my dreams will come true, dear
There and then I will make you my own
And every time I touch you, you just tremble inside
And I know how much you want me that you can’t hide

Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love
Can I just make some more romance with you, my love

Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
‘Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I’m trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
And all the night’s magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush

Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love
Can I just make some more romance with you, my love

One more moondance with you in the moonlight
On a magic night
La, la, la, la in the moonlight
On a magic night
Can’t I just have one more dance with you my love

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…

Van Morrison – Blue Money

This song is probably my earliest memory of a Van Morrison song as a kid. I didn’t find out about him though until my senior year in high school. Somehow I never heard Brown Eyed Girl until I was eighteen.

Blue Money was a top 40 hit but you don’t hear it as much now. It’s a song that is off of his album  His Band and the Street Choir released in 1971. The song became Morrison’s third best selling single of the 1970s, remaining on the charts for three months.

The album peaked at #32 in the Billboard Album Charts.

What Blue Money refers to in the song, and in most uses of the term, is money earned from racy photographs and images.

Blue Money

The photographer smiles
Take a break for a while
Take a rest, do your very best
Take five, honey
Five, honey

You search in your bag
Light up a fag
Think it’s a drag, but you’re so glad
To be alive honey
Alive honey

Said when this is all over
You’ll be in clover
We’ll go out and spend
All of your blue money
Blue money
Blue money

Do-do-you-do, n’-do-do-you-do
N’ do-do-do-you do, n’ do-do-do-you-do
N’ do-do

Alright, (do-do) do-it

Do-do-you-do, n’-do-do-you-do
N’ do-do-do-you do, n’ do-do-do-you-do
N’ do-do, do-do

Alright, (do-do) do-it

Well the cameraman smiles
Take a break for a while
Do your best, do your very best
Take five, honey
Take five

You search in your bag
Light up a fag
Say it’s a drag, but you’re so glad
To be alive honey
Alive honey

Said when this is all over
You’ll be in clover
We’ll go on out and spend
All of your blue money
Blue money
Blue money alright

Do-do-you-do, n’-do-do-you-do
N’ do-do-do-you do, n’ do-do-do-you-do
N’ do-do

Alright, (do-do) do-it

Do-do-you-do, n’-do-do-you-do
N’ do-do-do-you do, n’ do-do-do-you-do
N’ do-do, do-do
Alright, (do-do) do-it

One more time

Do-do-you-do, n’-do-do-you-do
N’ do-do-do-you do, n’ do-do-do-you-do
‘N-do-do (do-do)

Hey (do-do)

Do-do-you-do, n’-do-do-you-do
N’ do-do-do-you-do, n’ do-do-do-you-do
‘N-do-do

Alright, do-do

Say, when this is all over
We’ll be in clover
We’ll go out and spend all your

(Blue money) blue money

Blue money (blue money)

Ooh juice money, loose money

Juice money, loose money, honey

(Do-do-do, do-do-do-do)
What kind a money, honey?

(Do-do-do, do-do-do-do)
Juice money, loose money

Blue money (do-do-do, do-do-do-do)

Juice money

Loose money (do-do-do, do-do-do-do)

Blue money

Hey, alright

Juice money
Ow
Long as you wanna be

Them – Baby Please Don’t Go

There are many versions of this old blues song but the one I know the best is Them featuring a 19-year-old Van Morrison on lead vocal. This song was the A-side to Gloria when it was released. Gloria ended up being the hit but this one managed to peak at #10 in 1961 and #65 in the UK in 1991.

Morrison based Them’s version on John Lee Hooker’s 1949 arrangement, which he titled “Don’t Go Baby.” He heard the song on Hooker’s 1959 Highway of Blues album.

A pre-Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page, a session musician at the time, played guitar on Them’s version. There’s debate over whether or not he wrote the guitar part or simply played what Them’s Billy Harrison came up with. Whether or not Page is actually the one playing is, itself, debated.

Blues great Big Joe Williams is credited with writing this song, but it was developed from a folk song titled “Long John,” which was recorded in 1934 by John and Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress. That recording captures the song being sung by black prisoners working at Darrington State Prison Farm in Texas. It was a popular tune there because “Long John” was about an escaped prisoner on the run from authorities.

Baby, Please Don’t Go

Baby, please don’t go
Baby, please don’t go
Baby, please don’t go
Down to New Orleans
You know I love you so
Baby, please don’t go

Baby, your mind done gone
Well, your mind done gone
Left the county farm
You had the shackles on
Baby, please don’t go

Before I be your dog
Before I be your dog
Before I be your dog
To git you way down here
I make you walk alone
Baby, please don’t go
Hey

Baby, please don’t go
Baby, please don’t go
Baby, please don’t go
Down to New Orleans
You know I love you so
Baby, please don’t go

Before I be your dog
Before I be your dog
Before I be your dog
Git you way down here
Make you walk alone
Baby, please don’t go

Know how I feel right now
My baby leavin’, on that midnight train
And I’m cryin’

Baby, please don’t go
Oh, baby please don’t go
Baby, please don’t go
Down to New Orleans
You know I love you so
Baby, please don’t go
Let’s go

Before I be your dog
Before I be your dog
Before I be your dog
To git you way down here
I make you walk alone
Baby, please don’t go, yeah

Alright

Van Morrison – Into The Mystic

This song changes my mood as soon as it plays. Into the Mystic flows through you…wait… hold on… I’m sounding like a sixties guru but the song is a special one. It was on his album Moondance released in 1970. The album peaked at #29 in the Billboard Album Charts.

Van’s output from the late sixties to mid-seventies was just incredible in quantity and quality. He continues to this day releasing music. In the last 10 years, he has had 3 top ten albums.

I’ve never really tried to interpret this song…I just go where it takes me.

Van Morrsion: “‘Into the Mystic’ is another one like ‘Madame Joy’ and ‘Brown Eyed 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.”

 

From Songfacts

This is about a sailor at sea thinking about returning to his lover, who is back on land. Normally a foghorn signals danger, but in this case it means he is close to home and his love.

There is room for interpretation beyond the superficial meaning. It might be interpreted as expressing an understanding that life is finite (the ship sailing on its round trip) and must be lived to its fullest (“I want to rock your Gypsy soul”), and an acceptance of its inevitable end (“We will magnificently float into the mystic, when the foghorn blows I will be coming home”). When you have seen the world and loved someone, you should have no reason to fear the end because you have lived your life to the fullest. 

The original title was “Into the Misty.”

According to Morrison, he couldn’t decide whether the first line should be “We were born before the wind” or “We were borne before the wind.”

This was played in the 1989 Mary Stuart Masterson movie Immediate Family. She played a woman who was young and pregnant and planning to give her baby to Glenn Close and James Woods, who couldn’t have a baby of their own. 

According to a BBC survey, because of this song’s cooling, soothing vibe, this is one of the most popular songs for surgeons to listen to whilst performing operations.

Jen Chapin, the daughter of Cat’s In The Cradle singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, covered this on her 2008 CD Light of Mine.

Into The Mystic

We were borne before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won
As we sailed into the mystic

Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic

And when that foghorn blows
I will be coming home
And when the foghorn blows
I want to hear it

I don’t have to fear it and I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And magnificently we will flow into the mystic

When that fog horn blows
You know I will be coming home
And when that fog horn whistle blows
I got to hear it

I don’t have to fear it and I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And together we will flow into the mystic
Come on, girl

Too late to stop now

Them – Gloria

Please pardon the personal story…

This song belongs right beside Louie Louie and Wild Thing as a staple of garage band rock. Three chords… E D A and you are off to the races.  A beginner guitar player can emulate this song rather well. When I was in high school, the band I was in… played this song. We would play more challenging songs of course but this one always got a good response and participation from the crowd with the call and answer lyrics.

When I was a senior we played in the “fall frolics” (rock bands, singers) in our high school gym and I had a couple of friends who were curious/envious and wanted to know how it felt to play in front of people. We had been playing at parties and a bar (shhhh yea we were underage) by this time. What I did was show one of them this song on bass…it’s that easy… and the other one we handed a tambourine and told him to participate in the chorus.

For that one song we called them up and they got to know how it felt. I ran into one of them a few years back and he thanked me again. He said it was one of the scariest but best moments he ever had in high school.

Sorry for the detour… This song was by “Them” which featured no other than Van the man Morrison (who also wrote the song). It peaked at #93 in the Billboard 100 in 1965 and #71 in 1966.

The song charted higher for The Shadows of Knight in 1966 at #10 in the Billboard 100.

At this stage in their career, session musicians played on Them’s records instead of the actual band, although Van Morrison did the real singing. One of these session players was Jimmy Page, who played guitar on this song.

 

From Songfacts

Them was a garage band from Belfast. “Gloria” was written by Van Morrison, who was their lead singer. The song is about a girl who comes by for (presumably) sexual encounters.

The recorded version is a tidy two and a half minutes with nothing explicit, but when Them (and later The Doors) would perform the song live, it often became an extended jam with Morrison going into more graphic, spoken-word detail about the encounter. Anyone who wondered just what happened when a groupie came by to see a willing rock star was given a first-hand account.

According to Van Morrison, the song was titled after his cousin Gloria, who was 13 years older. The song is not about her though.

In December 1964, this was released as the B-side of the Them single “Baby Please Don’ t Go,” which was a cover of a blues standard. “Gloria” gained traction when it became a highlight of the group’s live shows, sometimes developing into a 20-minute jam.

The song got little airplay in England, but found a following in America among the same garage rock audience that loved “Louie Louie.” In the US, it was first released (as the B-side) in March 1965, but was reissued as the A-side of the single in April 1966, which is when it charted at #71. It became the most well known song for the group, despite its humble beginnings.

The Shadows of Knight made a version that hit #10 in the US two years later. It became a very popular song to cover because it’s easy to play on guitar and contains an anthemic chorus (G-L-O-R-I-A).

Some of the other groups to record the song include I ragazzi del sole (1966), Blues Magoos (1967), Patti Smith (1975, with a line from her poem Oath added at the beginning: “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine”), The Doors (1983), Count Five (1991), Eddie & The Hot Rods (1997), Rickie Lee Jones (2001), Simple Minds (2001) and Popa Chubby (2001).

Van Morrison released his own version in 1974. 

In Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time issue, Morrison says of this song: “I was just being me, a street cat from Belfast. Probably like thousands of kids from Belfast who were in bands.” 

In 1966, The Doors shared a bill with Them at the The Whisky A-Go-Go in West Hollywood, California for a series of shows. Them’s Morrison was a big influence on The Doors’ Morrison, and Jim learned a lot about stagecraft and incorporating poetry into his act from watching Van. The final night of the performances, both bands shared the stage to perform this song.

This song did not make Van Morrison a rich man. In fact, he saw almost zero money from the hit. Upon reviewing the numbers, attorney Alan Gershen estimated that Morrison had lost out on at least $250,000 – a huge amount of money, especially for that time. “It seemed to me that Van really didn’t have a clue about the music-publishing business,” friend Jon Gershen said of the situation.

Gloria

Like to tell you ’bout my baby
You know she comes around
Just ’bout five feet-four
A-from her head to the ground
You know she comes around here
At just about midnight
She make me feel so good, Lord
She make me feel all right

And her name is G-L-O-R-I
G-L-O-R-I-A
Gloria!
G-L-O-R-I-A
Gloria!
I’m gonna shout it all night
Gloria!
I’m gonna shout it every day
Gloria!
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

She comes around here
Just about midnight
She make me feel so good, Lord
I want to say she make me feel all right
Comes a-walkin’ down my street
Then she comes up to my house
She knock upon my door
And then she comes to my room
Yeah, and she make me feel all right

G-L-O-R-I-A
Gloria!
G-L-O-R-I-A
Gloria!
I’m gonna shout it all night
Gloria!
I’m gonna shout it every day
Gloria!
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
So good
Gloria!
All right
Feels so good
Gloria!
All right, yeah

Van Morrison – Domino

This song jumps out of the radio right at you. The horn section is great and so is Van’s voice in this song. Robert Christgau, writing in the Village Voice in 1971, described “Domino” as one of the “superb examples of Morrison’s loose, allusive white r&b.”

Domino peaked at #9 in 1971 on the Billboard 100. It was on the album His Band and the Street Choir which peaked at #32 on the Billboard Album Charts in 1971. Like I said in another post…I bought this album without knowing much about it except Blue Money and Domino…because it was Van Morrison and I wasn’t disappointed.

Van Morrison: “The record company was asking me for singles, so I made some like “Domino”, which was actually longer but got cut down.”

 

From Songfacts

This song is a musical tribute to Morrison’s inspiration, Fats Domino. Its musical style combines those of Irish Celtic (something that people from Ireland are terribly proud of) and urban contemporary gospel.

In his 1989 book The Heart of Rock and Soul, The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever, Dave Marsh ranks this song at #197.

Morrison’s then wife, Janet Planet, sang vocals on the album. 

On this track, Morrison’s used lyrics from an earlier song he wrote titled “Down the Maverick.”

“Down the Maverick” referred to a radical artists’ colony started by Hervey White in Woodstock, New York. The Maverick still exists today as part of the Woodstock Art Colony.

Domino

Don’t want to discuss it
I think it’s time for a change
You may get disgusted
Start thinkin’ that I’m strange

In that case I’ll go underground
Get some heavy rest
Never have to worry
About what is worst and what is best (get it)

Oh oh Domino (all right)
Roll me over Romeo
There you go
Lord have mercy

I said oh oh Domino
Roll me over Romeo
There you go
Say it again

I said oh oh Domino
I said oh oh Domino, dig it

There’s no need for argument
There’s no argument at all
And if you never hear from him
That just means he didn’t call or vice versa
That depends on wherever you’re at
Or and if you never hear from me
That just means I would rather not

Oh oh Domino
Roll me over Romeo
There you go
Lord have mercy
I said oh oh Domino
Roll me over Romeo

There you go
Say it again
Oh oh Domino
I said oh oh Domino.

Hey Mr. DJ
I just want to hear some rhythm and blues music
On the radio
On the radio
On the radio
Uh-uh, all right
Uh-uh, all right
Uh-uh, all right
Uh-uh
Hear the band
One more time

Van Morrison – Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)

This is a lively song by Van the Man…Van Morrison. First heard this song after I bought the Van Morrison album Saint Dominic’s Preview in the 80s without knowing any song on it…I didn’t need to…it was Van Morrison. Van is one of my favorite singers…it’s not just his voice but the way he phrases his words. If you ever get a chance to see him live…do it. I got that honor (The Pay The Devil tour) once and I have to say he sounded better live than on record and that doesn’t happen a lot.

The song peaked at #62 on the Billboard 100 in 1972. This song is an obvious tribute to the great Jackie Wison.

For more on this album and a few more, Aphoristical gives his top 5 Van Morrison albums and this one is at number 2.

From Songfacts

The opening track of Saint Dominic’s Preview, this is a tribute to Jackie Wilson, one of Morrison’s influences. Released as the first single from the album, it charted at #61 on the Hot 100.

Guitarist Doug Messenger recalled the recording of the song to Uncut: “Jackie Wilson Said was totally disorganized. He didn’t know where anything went, and no one seemed to know what to do with it. Van went away and the band worked on the basic structure. When he came back we went through it a couple of times and he was real happy because all of a sudden it seemed to be making sense. He said, ‘I think it’s coming together,’ which is what he always said when he felt it was working.”

“I remember he said to the drummer, Ricky Schlosser, ‘When I sing “boom boom boom,” hit the tom and the kick drum at the same time.’ We ran through it once or twice, and the first recorded take is what’s on the album. It was all over the place, but somehow it worked. Even when he ad-libbed at the end -‘One more time’- somehow we all kept it together. At the end, Van was smiling like a Cheshire Cat. ‘I think we got it!’ We tried a second take and – of course – it all fell apart.”

The song was used as the opening theme for the 1991 comedy movie Queens Logic.

This was covered by Dexys Midnight Runners on their 1982 album Too-Rye-Ay. Released as a single, it reached #5 on the UK singles chart.

Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)

Jackie Wilson said
It was Reet Petite
Kinda love you got
Knock me off my feet
Let it all hang out
Oh, let it all hang out
And you know
I’m so wired up
Don’t need no coffee in my cup
Let it all hang out
Let it all hang out

Ding a ling a ling
Ding a ling a ling ding
Ding a ling a ling
Ding a ling a ling ding
Do da do da
I’m in heaven, I’m in heaven
I’m in heaven, when you smile
When you smile, when you smile
When you smile
And when you walk
Across the room
You make my heart go
Boom boom boom
Let it all hang out
Baby, let it all hang out
And every time
You look that way
Honey child, you make my day
Let it all hang out
Like the man said let it all hang out

Ding a ling a ling
Ding a ling a ling ding
Ding a ling a ling
Ding a ling a ling ding
Do da do da
I’m in heaven, I’m in heaven
I’m in heaven, when you smile
When you smile
I’m in heaven, I’m in heaven
I’m in heaven, when you smile
One more time
I’m in heaven, I’m in heaven
I’m in heaven, when you smile
When you smile

Van Morrison – Tupelo Honey

I’ve heard this song so much that I know every nuance of it. The song was on the album of the same name. This song would be in my top 5 of Van Morrison. It’s a beautiful epic song. I’ve always noticed the lyrics are not Morrison’s best by any means. The melody is not complicated, in fact, it is reminiscent of The Weight…same chord pattern. Van’s voice and phrasing lift this song into a great song. Well, there is Connie Kay’s drumming also.

The song peaked at #47 in the Billboard 100 in 1972. The album peaked at #27 in 1971.

From Songfacts

“Tupelo Honey” is an unreserved typically mystic take on the domestic happiness Morrison had found since he’d married his wife Janet. They’d met during his time with the Irish R&B band Them. She’d already been his muse for several of Morrison’s earlier songs.

Tupelo honey is honey made from the sweet flowers of the tupelo tree, which grows abundantly in swampy areas of the Southern United States. 

There are allusions to early America and the Boston Tea Party in this song:

You can take all the tea in China
Put it in a big brown bag for me
Sail right around the seven oceans
Drop it straight into the deep blue sea

And

You can’t stop us on the road to freedom
You can’t stop us ’cause our eyes can see

The Irish Troubles were still raging when this song was written, and it’s important to view it as the song of an artist who was a product of that situation. Freedom was surely heavy on Van’s mind.

This song plays at the conclusion of the 1997 film Ulee’s Gold, which stars Peter Fonda as a beekeeper who makes Tupelo Honey.

Tupelo Honey

You can take all the tea in China
Put it in a big brown bag for me
Sail right around all the seven oceans
Drop it straight into the deep blue sea
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

You can’t stop us on the road to freedom
You can’t keep us ’cause our eyes can see
Men with insight, men in granite
Knights in armor bent on chivalry
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
Just like honey, baby, from the bee

You can’t stop us on the road to freedom
You can’t stop us ’cause our eyes can see
Men with insight, men in granite
Knights in armor intent on chivalry
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
Just like honey, baby, from the bee

You know she’s alright, oh she’s alright with me
You know, you know, you know she’s alright, she alright with me
You know, you know, you know you know
You know she’s alright, alright with me
She’s alright, she’s alright
She’s alright with me
She’s alright 
She’s alright with me
She’s alright 
She’s alright with me

She’s al, she’s alright, she’s alright
She’s alright with me
She’s alright, she’s alright, she’s alright, she’s alright

You can take all the tea in China
Put it in a big brown bag for me
Sail it right around all these seven oceans
Drop it smack dab in the middle of the deep blue sea
Because, she’s as sweet as Tupelo honey, yes she is
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
Just like honey, baby, from the bee

She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey
Just like the honey, from the bee
She’s alright, she’s alright with me
She’s my baby, you know she’s alright
She’s my baby, she’s my baby, she’s alright
She’s my baby

Van Morrison – Saint Dominic’s Preview

I thought I would do an album track today. If someone asked me what is your favorite Van Morrison song…I might say this one. It’s an epic piece of work that I get lost in.  Van’s imagery in this song reminds me of a few of Dylan’s songs. Everything from Edith Piaf to Hank Williams to Safeway Supermarkets gets a nod.

The album of the same name was released in 1972 and it is not a song on it that I don’t like. From the soulful  Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile) to another epic song that still blows me away, Almost Independence Day.

The album was the follow up to Tupelo Honey released in 1971. Van used some of the same musicians on both albums and the same producer, Ted Templeman. This song was not released as a single. The album peaked at #15 in the Billboard 100 in 1972.

What’s hard to believe is this album was his highest charting album until “Keep It Simple” in 2008…after that he had two more top ten albums.

 

I saw this interview that Van did with  Rolling Stone talking about this song right before he recorded it.

RS: Are you sometimes surprised by some of the things that come out when you’re writing?

Really. There are times when I’m mystified. I look at some of the stuff that comes out, y’know. And like, there it is and it feels right, but I can’t say for sure what it means. Like take…take “Crazy Face.” Y’know, where does that come from?

RS: There’s unquestionably a strong mystical and visionary quality to your music.

Yeah, it’s there. That’s what it is, I guess. It’s strange because I don’t see myself as a mystical type person. But then every now and then these weird experiences happen. Like I’ll be lying down on the bed with my eyes closed and all of a sudden I get the feeling that I’m floating near the ceiling looking down. I couldn’t say whether that’s supposed to be astral projection but it’s pretty freaky when it happens.

RS: Have you ever had any similar experiences that seem related to your writing?

I had one just recently. I’d been working on this song about the scene going down in Belfast. And I wasn’t sure what I was writing but anyway the central image seemed to be this church called St. Dominic’s where people were gathering to pray or hear a mass for peace in Northern Ireland. Anyway, a few weeks ago I was in Reno for a gig at the University of Nevada. And while we were having dinner I picked up the newspaper and just opened it to a page and there in front of me was an announcement about a mass for peace in Belfast to be said the next day at St. Dominic’s church in San Francisco. Totally blew me out. Like I’d never even heard of a St. Dominic’s church.

RS: How did the song turn out?

Great. In fact I’m gonna be recording it in a couple of days.

RS: What did you end up titling it?

“St. Dominic’s Preview.” You know something? I haven’t a clue to what it means.

 

Saint Dominic’s Preview

Shammy cleaning all the windows
Singing songs about Edith Piaf’s soul
And I hear blue strains of no regredior
Across the street from Cathedral Notre Dame

Meanwhile back in San Francisco
We’re trying hard to make this whole thing blend
As we sit upon this jagged
Storey block, with you my friend

And it’s a long way to Buffalo
It’s a long way to Belfast city too
And I’m hoping the choice won’t blow the hoist
‘Cause this town, they bit off more than they can chew.

As we gaze out on, as we gaze out on
As we gaze out on, as we gaze out on
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Saint Dominic’s Preview

All the orange boxes are scattered
Against the Safeway’s supermarket in the rain
And everybody feels so determined
Not to feel anyone else’s pain

No one’s making no commitments
To anybody but themselves
Talkin’ behind closed doorways
Tryin’ to get outside, get outside of empty shells

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

As we gaze out on, as we gaze out on
As we gaze out on, as we gaze out on
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Saint Dominic’s Preview

And the restaurant tables are completely covered
The record company has paid out for the wine
You got everything in the world you ever wanted
Right about now your face should wear a smile

That’s the way it all should happen
When you’re in, when you’re in the state you’re in
You’ve got your pen and notebook ready
I think it’s about time, time for us to begin

And meanwhile, we’re over in a 52nd Street apartment
Socializing with the wino few
Just to be hip and get wet with the jet set
But they’re flying too high to see my point of view

As we gaze out on, as we gaze out on
As we gaze out on, as we gaze out on
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Saint Dominic’s Preview

See them freedom marching
Out on the street, freedom marching
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Out in the street
Look at the man
Turn around
Come back, come back
Turn around
Look at the man
Says hold on
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Saint Dominic’s Preview
Says hold me in
Saint Dominic’s Preview

 

 

 

My Favorite Singers

There are so many singers that I cannot possibly list them all. I could make a top 30 and not get them all. This is my personal favorite top 10 plus some extra.

For the most part, I like singers with soul and meaning to their singing…not vocal gymnastics.

1…Aretha Franklin – Aretha could make any song better by singing it.

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2…Van Morrison, Them and Solo  – Probably my favorite male singer.

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3…John Lennon, Beatles – John hated his voice and always wanted an effect on it…It didn’t need it…one of his best performances was “A Day In The Life”

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4…Bob Dylan – Bob changed popular singing.  I would rather hear Bob sing than many of the great traditional singers.

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5…Elvis Presley – Hey he’s Elvis…

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6…Otis Redding – Just a fantastic singer and performer and just taking off before he was killed in a plane crash.

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7…Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones – Mick makes the most out of his voice.

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8…John Fogerty…CCR – If I could have the voice of anyone…it would be Fogerty. The power that John has is incredible…his voice is its own instrument.

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9…Janis Joplin – She put everything she had in each song. Her last producer Paul A. Rothchild was teaching Janis how to hold back and sing more traditional to save her voice for old age…which never came.

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10…Johnny Cash – Last but far from least.  Only one man can sound like Cash…and that is Cash

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Honorable Mention…any of these could have easily been on the list.

Steve Marriott, Paul McCartney, Levon Helm, Bessie Smith, Little Richard, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Elton John, Neil Young, Roy Orbison, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke, Joe Cocker, Billie Holiday, Freddie Mercury, Kate Bush, Ella Fitzgerald, Paul Rodgers, David Bowie.

 

 

 

 

Van Morrison – Caravan

Just a perfect song. I listen to it and can’t believe it wasn’t a hit. When I bought the Moondance album I zeroed in on this song. I then heard Van Morrison on the Last Waltz singing it and it was a clincher.

The performance of this song on the Last Waltz for me may have been the best performance on the film and that is saying a lot. I’ve seen Van live one time and his voice seemed stronger in person than on record…if that is possible.

Van Morrison on Caravan

I could hear the radio like it was in the same room. I don’t know how to explain it. There was some story about an underground passage under the house I was living in, rumors from kids and stuff and I was beginning to think it was true. How can you hear someone’s radio from a mile away, as if it was playing in your own house? So I had to put that into the song, It was a must

 

Caravan
And the caravan is on it’s way
I can hear the merry gypsies play
Mama mama look at Emma Rose
She’s a-playin with the radio
La, la, la, la…

And the caravan has all my friends
It will stay with me until the end
Gypsy Robin, Sweet Emma Rose
Tell me everything I need to know
La, la, la…

Turn up your radio and let me hear the song
Switch on your electric light
Then we can get down to what is really wrong
I long to hold you tight so I can feel you
Sweet lady of the night I shall reveal you

Turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher radio
Turn it up, turn it up, so you know, radio
La, la, la, la…

And the caravan is painted red and white
That means ev’rybody’s staying overnight
Barefoot gypsy player round the campfire sing and play
And a woman tells us of her ways
La, la, la, la…

Turn up your radio and let me hear the song
Switch on your electric light
Then we can get down to what is really wrong
I long to hold you tight so I can feel you
Sweet lady of the night I shall reveal you
Turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher, radio
Turn it up, that’s enough, so you know it’s got soul
Radio, radio turn it up, hum
La, la, la, la…

Them – Mystic Eyes

This powerful song builds up and lead singer Van Morrison takes over. Van’s voice and the bass are hypnotic. It was the first song on the first album by Them…named Angry Young Them released in1965. It was written by Van Morrison who would in the future use the word Mystic in a few more songs.

The song peaked at #33 in the Billboard 100 but didn’t chart in the  UK. Van has said the band was improvising in the studio and the song was born.

Mystic Eyes

One Sunday mornin’
A-we went walkin’
Down by, the old graveyard
The mornin’ fog
I looked into
A-yeah, those mystic eyes

Her mystic eyes
Mystic eyes
Mystic eyes
Mystic, eyes
Mystic eyes
Mystic eyes
Oh, the mystic eyes
Ooh

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystic_Eyes

 

 

 

Van Morrison – Wild Night

I first heard this song in the eighties when I bought the Tupelo Honey album. This song and the title track caught my attention immediately. This song is very radio friendly. It was released in 1971 and peaked at #28 in the Billboard 100.

John Mellencamp also released a version in 1994 and the song peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100. John did a good job but this is my go-to version.

From Songfacts.

It’s one of his few songs with mass appeal, and proof that he could write a terrific Pop song whenever he desired. Morrison, however, generally shied away from couplets like “Come on out and dance, come on out, make romance” in favor of more esoteric offerings, which earned him a devoted following and critical praise from those willing to conquer his catalog.

Ted Templeman, who would later produce another Van (Halen), produced the Tupelo Honey album with Morrison. Musicians to perform on this track include Ronnie Montrose on electric guitar, John McFee on pedal steel guitar, Jack Schroer on saxophone and Luis Gasca on trumpet.

 Wild Night
As you brush your shoes
Stand before the mirror
And you comb your hair
Grab your coat and hat
And you walk, wet streets
Tryin’ to remember
All the wild night breezes
In your mem’ry ever

And ev’rything looks so complete
When you’re walkin’ out on the street
And the wind catches your feet
Sends you flyin’, cryin’

Ooo-woo-wee!
Wild night is calling, alright
Oooo-ooo-wee!
Wild night is calling

And all the girls walk by
Dressed up for each other
And the boys do the boogie-woogie
On the corner of the street

And the people, passin’ by
Stare in wild wonder
And the inside juke-box
Roars out just like thunder

And ev’rything looks so complete
When you walk out on the street
And the wind catches your feet
And sends you flyin’, cryin’

Woo-woo-wee!
Wild night is calling
Alright

Ooo-ooo-wee!
Wild night is calling, alright

The wild night is calling
The wild night is calling

Come on out and dance
Whoa, come on out and make romance
Yes, indeed

Come on out and dance
Come on out, make romance

[Instrumental & horn solo]

The wild night is calling, alright
The wild night is calling

Come on out an dance
Yeah, come on out ‘n make romance

Come on out and dance, alright
Come on out, n’ make romance.