I think I’ve always enjoyed Van Morrison. When I was a kid my mom was in a band with my uncle and they’d perform at every family party. Since they were a 70’s and 80’s cover band there was plenty of Van Morrison songs on their set list so before I even knew who Van was I already loved songs like Domino, Moondance, Wild Nights and Brown Eyed Girl.
But for a long time that was my only exposure to Morrison. Being a fan of Royal Tenenbaums I heard the song Everyone (which I enjoyed) and in college it felt like every time we had a musician on campus they covered Into the Mystic (which I also enjoyed) but I still never bothered to buy any of his records.
That is until I read the 1001 albums to hear before you die. Van Morrison: Moondance appeared on that list and I thought, alright, let’s give that listen.
Within the first minute of And It Stoned Me (the opening track) I understood why this album is so beloved. Van Morrison treats this album as either novel or a journal (depending on the track). Song likes And it Stoned Me and Caravan make you nostalgic for experiences you’ve never had. I’ve never walked down a stone road after fishing in a nearby pond, but And It Stoned Me makes me wish I did.
Meanwhile the gypsy imagery in songs like Into the Mystic tell a beautiful story. Morrison is wordsmith in the truest sense of the word.
But more importantly he writes catchy music. There’s not a single song that feels wasted on this record, if they’re not a toe-tapping dance song (Come Running) their a song that you find yourself quickly singing along with (Crazy Love).