Band – The Last Waltz

Happy Thanksgiving! Watching The Last Waltz is just as part of Thanksgiving as the meal with the family…that and Alice’s Restaurant which is coming.

The Band on Thanksgiving in 1976 at the Fillmore West. The film starts off with THIS FILM MUST BE PLAYED LOUD! A cut to Rick Danko playing pool and then it then to the Band playing “Don’t Do It”…the last song they performed that night after hours of playing. Through the music and some interviews, their musical journey and influences are retraced.

This film is considered by many the best concert film ever made. It was directed by Martin Scorsese. I love the setting with the chandeliers that were from the movie Gone With The Wind. The quality of the picture is great because it was shot with a 35-millimeter camera which wasn’t normally done with concerts.

Before the Band and guests hit the stage, Bill Graham, the promoter, served a Thanksgiving dinner to 5000 people that made up the audience with long tables with white tablecloths.

The Band’s musical guests included

Ronnie Hawkins, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Dr. John, Paul Butterfield, Van Morrison (my favorite performance), Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton and Muddy Waters

The Staple Singers and Emmylou Harris also appear but their segments were taped later on a sound stage and not at the concert.

Robbie wanted off the road earlier and that is what the Last Waltz was all about…the last concert by The Band with a lot of musical friends. He was tired of touring and also the habits the band was picking up… drugs and drinking. Richard Manuel, in particular, was in bad shape and needed time.

The rest of the Band supposedly agreed but a few years later all of them but Robbie started to tour as The Band again. Richard Manuel ended up hanging himself in 1986. Rick Danko passed away in 1999 at the end of a tour of a heart attack attributed to years of drug and alcohol abuse. Levon Helm died of cancer in 2012.

The Band sounded great that night and it might be the best version you will ever hear of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.

The Last Waltz is a grand farewell to a great band and a film that I revisit at least twice a year… once always around Thanksgiving.

The complete concert is at the bottom…without cuts.

The Music of 1968

Dave from A Sound Day (check out the other posts on Dave’s “Turntable Talk”) posted this on November 5, 2022. He wanted a group of us to write about what we thought was the best year in music…I ended up picking the turbulent year of 1968.

When I think of the best year of music …for me it’s between 7 years. I would pick 1965 through 1971. I cannot pick all so here it goes…I pick 1968. It had some of the greatest albums and singles ever.

It was a turbulent year, to say the least. We lost two proponents of peace—Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. Other events include the Vietnam War’s Tet Offensive, riots in Washington, DC, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and heightened social unrest over the Vietnam War, values, and race.

The music was also toughened up by moving away from psychedelic music. The social climate and The Band’s album Music from Big Pink had a lot of influence on this. You still had psychedelic music released but overall, music was more stripped down to the basics.

My favorite album of all time was released by The Beatles. My favorite album by The Rolling Stones was released that year as well. Let’s look at the albums released in 1968…it’s outstanding.

The Beatles – The Beatles (The White Album)

The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet

The Kinks – Are the Village Green Preservation Society

The Band – Music From Big Pink

Small Faces – Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland

Cream – Wheel Of Fire

The Byrds – Sweetheart Of The Rodeo

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Big Brother and Holding Company – Cheap Thrills

Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison

The Zombies – Odyssey and Oracle

The Grateful Dead – Anthem of the Sun

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

Aretha Franklin – Lady Soul

Simon and Garfunkel – Bookends

Traffic – Traffic

That list could be on my desert island list… those albums are still being played today. I’ve only scratched the surface of the albums that year.

The Holy Trinity of Rock all released music that year… which would be The Beatles, The Who, and The Stones. I can’t imagine living in the era when these bands were in their prime and roamed the earth. The Who didn’t release an album, but they did release some singles and were gearing up for the following year. Let’s look at some of the singles of that year.

The Beatles – Hey Jude/Revolution

The Beatles – Lady Madonna

The Who – Magic Bus

The Rolling Stones – Jumping Jack Flash

Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild

The Doors – Hello, I Love You

The Rascals – People Got To Be Free

Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love

Otis Redding – The Dock of the Bay

The Supremes – Love Child

The Chamber Brothers – Time Has Come Today

Janis Joplin – Piece of My Heart

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Suzie Q

Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends

The year featured the debut album of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Brian Jones made his final album with the Rolling Stones and it was the start of their great 5 album stretch. The Who started to record the album that would break them worldwide with Tommy. Dock of the Bay would be released posthumously after Otis Redding died in a plane crash on December 10, 1967. The Grateful Dead would release their second album Anthem of the Sun and continue to build one of the largest fan bases ever. Jimi Hendrix was breaking barriers with his experimentation in the studio as well as live.

The Band would change the game by releasing Music From Big Pink. It influenced nearly everyone at the time to go back to a rootsy kind of music. Fleetwood Mac would release their debut album this year. Jeff Beck would release his legendary album Truth.

FM radio was getting huge at this time and showed that audiences didn’t have to have top 40 hits to buy albums. Take Van Morrison for instance. Astral Weeks didn’t have a “hit” on the album but continued to be played and sell. The Beatles  The White Album is as diverse as you can get… Pop, Rock, Country, Folk, Reggae, Avant-Gard, Blues, Hard Rock, and some 20’s British Music Hall thrown in for good measure. No singles were released from this album or Sgt Pepper the previous year. They treated singles and albums as two different things. Hey Jude and the hit version of Revolution was recorded during the White Album but yet they left those two off. The Stones would do the same and leave off Jumpin’ Jack Flash from  Beggars Banquet.

1968 set the stage for the coming decade’s rock music. Bands like The Who, Beatles, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin didn’t need hit singles. You bought the album now and listened to the music in the context of that format. There were still pop/rock singles but the albums were gaining traction.

To wrap it up…I think any of the years between 1965-1971 could have a strong argument for my tastes. If you are into disco or synth music…not as much.

Favorite Rock Lyrics 2

Everyone seemed to like the first one so I thought I would bring it back. I did list many of the lyrics that you suggested in the comments on the other post…SO… this post was written by all of us…and uh…the ones that actually wrote the songs!

Bob Dylan

Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear, it’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there... Bob Dylan

Rolling Stones

The sunshine bores the daylights out of me…Rolling Stones

Who

I asked Bobby Dylan, I asked The Beatles, I asked Timothy Leary, but he couldn’t help me either, they called me the Seeker…The Who

Grateful Dead

Cows are giving kerosene, the kid can’t read at seventeen, the words he knows are all obscene, but it’s alright… The Grateful Dead

band

You take what you need and you leave the rest, but they should never have taken the very best… The Band

Trogg

Wild thing you make my heart sing you make everything groovy… The Troggs

Springsteen

There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away… Bruce Springsteen

ACDC

Rich man, poor man, beggar man thief you ain’t got a hope in hell, that’s my belief… ACDC

Beatles - Rocky Raccoon

The farther one travels the less one knows the less one really knows …The Beatles

Leonard Cohen

My friends are gone and my hair is grey I ache in places I used to play …Leonard Cohen

John Lennon

Whatever gets you through the night … John Lennon

Replacements

God, what a mess, on the ladder of success Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung …The Replacements

Led Zeppelin 1976

Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face and stars fill my dream I’m a traveler of both time and space… Led Zeppelin

Kinks

Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, except for Lola La-la-la-la LolaThe Kinks

Queen

She keeps her Moet et Chandon in her pretty cabinet “Let them eat cake”, she says just like Marie AntoinetteQueen

van morrison almost independence day

Shammy cleaning all the windows singing songs about Edith Piaf’s soul… Van

neil young after the goldrush

You can’t be twenty on Sugar Mountain though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon… Neil Young

Simon and Garfunkel concert Ohio University 10-29-1968

Hello darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again…Simon and Garfunkel

Van Morrison – Crazy Love

During Han’s song draft, fellow blogger Paul picked Caravan off of the album Moondance. I got the album out and  enjoyed it yet again. I first got the album in the mid-80s and I count it as one of my favorite albums ever…and it’s not even my favorite Van Morrison album.

The song is one of the most romantic songs ever. Van had recently married his girlfriend Janet Planet (gotta love that name) when he wrote this  song. It’s a very popular wedding song, it didn’t work too well though for Van though… Morrison and Janet divorced in 1973.

Her name before she married Morrison was Janet Rigsbee.

The song has been covered many times. Artists to cover this song include Brian McKnight, Ray Charles, Aaron Neville, Helen Reddy, Rod Stewart, Paul Carrack and John Anderson. Canadian vocalist Michael Bublé covered this for the title track of his 2009 album.

Van Morrison’s ex-wife, Janet Planet, now goes by Janet Morrison Minto after marrying her third husband, Chris Minto. She currently operates a beading business in Los Angeles via Etsy. Her shop, Lovebeads, sells uniquely designed necklaces and bracelets. So go and buy some necklaces or bracelets from Janet Planet!

Crazy Love

I can hear her heart beat for a thousand miles
And the heaven’s open every time she smiles
And when I come to her that’s where I belong
Yet I’m running to her like a river’s song

She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love
She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love

She’s got a fine sense of humor when I’m feeling low down
Yeah when I come to her when the sun goes down
Take away my trouble, take away my grief
Take away my heartache, in the night like a thief

She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love
She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love

Yes I need her in the daytime (I need her)
Yes I need her in the night (I need her)
Yes I want to throw my arms around her (I need her)
Kiss and hug her, kiss and hug her tight

Yeah when I’m returning from so far away
She gives me some sweet lovin’ brighten up my day
Yes it makes me righteous, yes it makes me whole
Yes it makes me mellow down in to my soul

She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love
She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love
She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love
She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love

Van Morrison – Wavelength

The first time I saw Van Morrison was on November 4, 1978 on Saturday Night Live. I was 11 and didn’t know anything about him. I hadn’t even heard Brown Eyed Girl…I would not hear that song until I was 18 in 1985. That in itself is one of the mysteries of life…how I could of possibly go 18 years without hearing that song.

He was playing the song Wavelength and it sounded great. I would not become a fan until 1985…I bought a compilation album of the sixties and I heard Brown Eyed Girl…it started a Van Morrison record buying frenzy. Since then I’ve been a huge fan. I saw him on March 7, 2006 at the Ryman Auditorium and he didn’t disappoint. If I could sing like anyone in history…it would be Van.

Van has said that this song is about the Voice of America, which is a radio service run by the United States government for political purposes. Morrison said that he listened to the service when he was a kid.

The song peaked at #42 in the Billboard 100 and #63 in Canada in 1978. The album Wavelength peaked at #28 in the Billboard Album Charts, #31 in Canada, #27 in the UK, and #9 in New Zealand in 1978.

Van Morrison: “It’s actually about Europe, because that’s where the station was. It came out of Frankfurt, and the first time I ever heard Ray Charles was on the Voice of America. We tried to get a tape recording of the Voice of America to put on the front of that track, but it didn’t work out. I didn’t get it by the time the album was due to be mixed. But I think it would have made it a lot clearer if the signature thing was on the front of it. It doesn’t click for a lot of people.”

Wavelength

This is a song about your wavelength
And my wavelength, baby
You turn me on
When you get me on your wavelength
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
With your wavelength
Oh, with your wavelength
With your wavelength
With your wavelength
Oh mama, oh mama, oh mama, oh mama oh mama, oh mama

Wavelength
Wavelength
You never let me down no
You never let me down no

When I’m down you always comfort me
When I’m lonely you see about me
You are ev’ry where you’re ‘sposed to be
And I can get your station
When I need rejuvenation

Wavelength
Wavelength
You never let me down no
You never let me down no

I heard the voice of America
Callin’ on my wavelength
Tellin’ me to tune in on my radio
I heard the voice of America
Callin’ on my wavelength
Singin’ “Come back, baby
Come back
Come back, baby
Come back”

Do do do dou dit do do dou dit do do do do do
Do do do dou dit do do dou dit do do do do do

Won’t you play that song again for me
About my lover, my lover in the grass, yeah, alright
You have told me ’bout my destiny
Singin’ “Come back, baby
Come back
Come back, baby
Come back”

On my wavelength
Wavelength
You never let me down no
You never let me down no
When you get me on
When you get me on your wavelength
When you get me
Oh, yeah, Lord
You get me on your wavelength

You got yourself a boy
When you get me on
Get me on your wavelength
Ya radio, ya radio, ya radio
Ya radio, ya radio, ya radio
Wave wave wave

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dream
Where immobile steel rims crack
And the ditch in the back roads stop
Could you find me?
Would you kiss-a my eyes?

It’s really a crime to focus on one song off of this album. I really shouldn’t separate it from the album but this is the opening track to the great album Astral Weeks. Some have this album as the number 1 album of all time.

In 1966, Morrison visited the Belfast, Ireland, home of his friend, painter Cecil McCartney… He’d been working on some paintings themed around astral projection, and they caught Van’s attention and he tried to translate the visuals into a song.

John Payne the flautist who had been working with Morrison, said it was the first time he had ever heard it, and that although the song may sound rehearsed it was actually captured from the only take

This song acted as the hook for me for the rest of the album.

Van Morrison described the title: “like transforming energy, or going from one source to another with it being born again like a rebirth. I remember reading about you having to die to be born. It’s one of those songs where you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and that’s basically what the song says.”

Astral Weeks

If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dream
Where immobile steel rims crack
And the ditch in the back roads stop
Could you find me?
Would you kiss-a my eyes?
To lay me down
In silence easy
To be born again
To be born again
From the far side of the ocean
If I put the wheels in motion
And I stand with my arms behind me
And I’m pushin’ on the door
Could you find me?
Would you kiss-a my eyes?
To lay me down
In silence easy
To be born again
To be born again
There you go
Standin’ with the look of avarice
Talkin’ to Huddie Ledbetter
Showin’ pictures on the wall
Whisperin’ in the hall
And pointin’ a finger at me
There you go, there you go
Standin’ in the sun darlin’
With your arms behind you
And your eyes before
There you go
Takin’ good care of your boy
Seein’ that he’s got clean clothes
Puttin’ on his little red shoes
I see you know he’s got clean clothes
A-puttin’ on his little red shoes
A-pointin’ a finger at me
And here I am
Standing in your sad arrest
Trying to do my very best
Lookin’ straight at you
Comin’ through, darlin’
Yeah, yeah, yeah
If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dreams
Where immobile steel rims crack
And the ditch in the back roads stop
Could you find me
Would you kiss-a my eyes
Lay me down
In silence easy
To be born again
To be born again
To be born again
In another world
In another world
In another time
Got a home on high
Ain’t nothing but a stranger in this world
I’m nothing but a stranger in this world
I got a home on high
In another land
So far away
So far away
Way up in the heaven
Way up in the heaven
Way up in the heaven
Way up in the heaven
In another time
In another place
In another time
In another place
Way up in the heaven
Way up in the heaven
We are goin’ up to heaven
We are goin’ to heaven
In another time
In another place
In another time
In another place
In another face

Them – Mighty Like A Rose

Ya’ know, their turnin’ on
in the classroom
ain’t the point.
It’s when you’re missin’ out
teacher teach ya’ how to
roll a joint.

I’ve pulled the album out and I’ll type the liner notes on this song… Mighty Like A Rose:

“Remember Brown Eyed Girl? (It’s not here) Well it’s father, Mighty Like a Rose is one elegant slice of raunch and it’s here in spades. It’s a simmering summer song about a nympha and her sugar cubes. “

This song was not a B side… it was never released when the band was together. I first heard it when I bought an old import album called Them Featuring Van Morrison ‎– Backtrackin’ that was released in 1974. I found it in a cutout bin in the mid 80s.

It has the sound of Brown Eyed Girl. Van Morrison has said that this was just a demo…not a finished song but it sounds really good. It does predate Brown Eyed Girl…after he left Them he recorded for Bert Burns and released Brown Eyed Girl.

Them was a very good sixties band. Some of their songs were Stones like…in many cases a little tougher and raunchier…and I mean that in a good way. Mighty Like A Rose is one of my favorite Them songs.

I doubt the song would have passed the censors back then…it probably would have been blacklisted immediately.

Mighty Like A Rose

You have drowned
a thousand sorrows
all in one,
and mixed with mugs, (?)
and millionaires
you have done.
Ya’ been and gone and done it
for a quid,
and just what you don’t know,
up there you got hid.

Lord, you’re only
fourteen summers
and God knows,
yeah, child,
you’re gettin’ mighty
like a rose.

You got pulled (?)
for tryin’ to straighten
up this town,
and looked bashful
bribin’ old, bent
Barrister Brown.

Ya’ know, their turnin’ on
in the classroom
ain’t the point.
It’s when you’re missin’ out
teacher teach ya’ how to
roll a joint.

Lord, hey,
while you’re down there
lookin’ up my nose,
yeah,
child you’re gettin’ mighty
like a rose.

Next time they try to fire me,
ya’ make the scene.
You’re gettin’ sugar cubes
for breakfast.
Ya’ know what I mean.

And the, the hazard old, (?)
the wind blows
through you’ ears.
Ya’ haven’t got enough
of those
what ya’
haven’t got for years.

Yeah, but never mind
steppin’ on my toes.
Yeah, child,
you’re gettin’ mighty
like a rose.

Yeah, hey, hey,
you’re mighty like a rose.
Uh-huh, aww, aww, aww, aww, aww, aww,
mmm-mm, mmm-mm, mmm-mm, mmm-mm…

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