The second incarnation of my blog
Based on the top 100 albums in Rolling Stone magazine’s top 500, I have set myself the challenge of hearing and appraising each album. I hope to be surprised and educated along the way.
At number 66 is Moondance by Van Morrison. It was released in 1970 and was the follow up to the successful Astral Weeks. It’s a collection comprising jazz, soul, country, and blues songs, all with an Northern Irish twang.
The opening track, And It Stoned Me was said to be about a true tale of a day in his childhood and it’s a gentle song with a strong melody.
The title track is one of my all time favourite songs. Moondance is bluesy, jazzy, laid-back brilliance. The arrangement is so beautiful and the bass wraps round you. I defy anyone to be stressed after listening to this song.
Crazy Love is a bit like the lovechild of the first two songs and would suit any soul singer I sure. What an amazing start to any album!
Caravan does’t quite match the opening, but it’s a tough act to follow. Into The Mystic has simple yet effective guitar and is a real grower that I like a lot and it maintains the smooth feel of the album perfectly.
Side two starts with the upbeat tracks Come Running and These Dreams Of You, both strong songs and “very Van Morrison” in their style. Brand New Day is another fine soul song with backing vocals that could easily be from a Aretha Franklin song. I will always skip Everyday as it’s production just doesn’t work on this album – it’s a good song turned into a nursery rhyme.
The closing song is Glad Tidings upbeat and although has a few too many “la las”, it’s an up way to end the set.
Although side 2 is not as strong as side 1, it’s a very good album and a true surprise as although I had heard Van Morrison in the past, I obviously hadn’t investigated as thoroughly as I should. If you want quality melodies with a mix of styles, albeit with a definite thread keeping the tunes together, you can’t go far wrong with this album.
My rating: 8/10
Standout tracks: And It Stoned Me, Moondance, Crazy Love, Into The Mystic
Listen to the album here.
See the Top 100 here.