Friday, December 31, 2010

Where to Start: Van Morrison of course

I've been giving a lot of thought as to where to start. Is this something that should be chronological, in which case, we're going to start with Smokey and Little Anthony and the wall of sound and the Righteous Brothers (technically part of the wall of sound? or at least Phil Spector music). Or, should I began with my favourites. I think I'll start with the favourites since I was in Loblaw's today and heard Van Morrison on the musak (yikes).
So, let's begin with Van the Man.
My first real stereo system was purchased at a fancy stereo store in Pittsburgh when I was already in graduate school. Before then, I always had roommates with quality sound systems. The store had a listening room where you could bring a record and they would let you hear the record coming out of various speakers. The record I brought to listen to was Van Morrison's Moondance. According to wikipedia, Moondance is dated as a 1970 album. Strange since I remember stereo shopping shortly after Apollo 11 landed the three astronauts on the moon. It still makes me happy to hear Van singing. It brings back the best of times memories for me. For years, I would play Moondance every time Susy and I got in the car. So much so, that she can't listen to it anymore, but, to quote Zal Yanovsky, the Canadian member of the Lovin' Spoonful, "BUT I WILL" (lyric from Nashville Cats, although I think he was talking about Nashville music, not Van Morrison).
But for a moment, I want to talk about the Apollo space program. In the 60's and early 70's, I, and many of my peers were deeply angry at our society. We protested our government's involvement in Vietnam and we marched with Dr. King to try and bring equality to our nation. At that time, it was us against them. Remember the slogan, "You can't trust anyone over 30", or was it 35? Yet, in the midst of that was this wonderful organization and commitment to landing a man on the moon. Those were interesting times. We resented our government for many things, and yet, at the same time, we knew in our hearts that we could change those things, and make them better. Perhaps one reason why we were so optimistic was the moon program. I remember David Crosby (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and sometimes Neil Young) being interviewed at the Woodstock '94 Festival commenting that the difference between the youth of the 60's and the youth of the 90's is the optimism. We were sure we could change the world, I'm not sure that the youth of today are that sure.
Back to Van. I loved Moondance, Astral Weeks (which although recorded and release before Moondance did not receive much attention until after Moondance), His Band and Street Choir, and to a lesser extent, Tupelo Honey (although it was a great single). Then, I lost touch with Van, and got busy with kids and the music of Raffi and Sharon, Lois and Bram, etc.
In 1987, Van released Poetic Champions Compose, and I was back into Van Morrison.
Van, you the man!

1 comment:

  1. Having lived a parallel experience to you in the 60's, Morrison's music has a really deep seated effect on me. I had never realized how much of a blues fan I was until Van. Perhaps that would be a good name for the new baby!!!