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