Friday, January 22, 2021

1970 Album of the Week, January 22-28: Moondance, by Van Morrison

As of the mid-to-late 1980s, my acquaintance with Van Morrison consisted of two items: I'd heard "Brown-Eyed Girl" and "Gloria" on the radio, and preferred the bowdlerized Shadows of Knight version of the latter.

But I also loved Jim Wunderle, who performed with various bands and put on an annual Christmas show with his own combo, Dog People. And at every performance I can remember, Wunderle performed the song "Moondance," which I had no idea was a Van Morrison tune, because I only had the vaguest idea of who Van Morrison was (in my defense, punk/"alternative"/'60s garage were my things back then).

I continue to love the song, and have long since grown to love the album. It was released on January 27, 1970.

These days, I'd happily listen to Morrison read the phone book. I wouldn't say his lockdown protest songs are his best work, but I support the cause and like the music. I'm torn as to favorite album (Tupelo Honey and Hymns to the Silence are definitely competitive with Moondance for top slot), and favorite song. On the latter, it comes down to three. "Moondance," "Moonshine Whiskey" (from Tupelo Honey) and this one (from Moondance):

A couple of footnotes:  1. I always thought "Tupelo Honey" was just a reference to honey from the Tupelo, Mississippi area, until I came across a jar of the stuff at a store and decided to look it up (since the honey so named was not from Tupelo). 2. I never played with Wunderle, or with Dog People. I did, however, once play a song or two with a member of Dog People (and a founding member of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils), Supe Granda, in one of those classic Royal Nonesuch "let's all hand our instruments off to friends and take a break" set interruptors. Which was very cool.

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