Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Who is your favorite musician? Here is a mix from mine.

Who is your favorite band or musician? For all its simplicity, it can be a very difficult question. It often depends on your mood. It might be easier to pick a top 5 then to single out 1 favorite. For years I couldn’t answer this question. David Bowie? Diverse, prolific, original. He’s in the top 5. Phish? Again, they are masters of diverse styles and a Phish show is epic fun. Top 5 material for sure. It starts getting fuzzy after that. The Beatles, Beck, Frank Sinatra, Los Lobos, Sting/The Police — all of these are favorites and I’m almost always in the mood to hear a song by any of them.

Eventually, though, I arrived at an answer and for the last 10 years or so it has been the same. The one musician who has shown remarkable innovation, flexibility, and staying power, whose new work is always worth checking out, and who always lifts my mood is Van Morrison.

Like a lot of musicians, his best work was consistently done early in his career. From 1968 to 1974 Van could do no wrong. In that time he released 7 studio albums and 1 live recording. Since then he has released 29 other albums. Some are good all the way through (Down the Road, 2002). Of course, there are a few in which the good moments are more scarce. But throughout his career he has maintained his integrity and talent for writing and arranging beautiful songs.

I honestly think the world would be a better place if people listened to more Van. Mine is. With that in mind, here is a mix of some of my favorites. Some of these, like Domino and Jackie Wilson Said, you’ve probably heard. They’re so great, though, I doubt you’re tired of them. Others, like Stepping Out Queen Part 2 and Linden Arden Stole the Highlights, you probably haven’t. I burned this mix for a friend. She took it on vacation and reported it hardly left the CD player. I hope you make it and enjoy it as well.

...and it stoned me to my soul.

...and it stoned me to my soul.

Here are the tracks, followed by the album on which you can find them.

  1. DominoHis Band and Street Choir
    What a great way to kick off any mix.
  2. Bulbs Veedon Fleece
    This song almost has a country-ish feel to it and absolutely never fails to make me feel better.
  3. Astral Weeks Astral Weeks
    The spare, improvisational arrangements highlight the simple beauty of the melody.
  4. And It Stoned Me Moondance
    It’s a pretty song, and Van sings it well, but the saxophones make this song.
  5. Days Like This – Days Like This (The disc appears to be out of print.)
    Released 25 years after Moondance and he hasn’t forgotten how to use saxophones.
  6. The Great Deception Hard Nose on the Highway
    The music business was rough on Van early in his career and this is one of several songs that reflect his anger and disillusionment. This seems to be out of print as well, but your local library may have it.
  7. Into the Mystic Moondance
    A joyful chord progression, spirited singing, and those horns.
  8. Youth of 1,000 Summers Enlightenment
    This gospel-inspired song was released in 2008.
  9. Jackie Wilson Said Saint Dominic’s Preview
    You’re familiar with this song, but you want to hear it again.
  10. Wild Night Tupelo Honey
    Another winner off of this popular album.
  11. Stepping Out Queen Part 2 The Philopsopher’s Stone
    This is only available on the career-spanning collection of rarities, The Philosopher’s Stone. You may have to check your local library.
  12. Linden Arden Stole the Highlights Veedon Fleece
    Only 2 1/2 minutes long but beautiful and intense.
  13. Tupelo Honey Tupelo Honey
    This song has a special place in my heart.
  14. Sweet Thing Astral Weeks
    The Waterboys do a great cover of this song.
  15. Redwood TreeSaint Dominic’s Preview
    This is just an old-feel, good-time song.
  16. Caravan Moondance
    No one ever got as much mileage out of “La la la la la la la” as Van Morrison has.
  17. Saint Dominic’s Preview Saint Dominic’s Preview
    Track down this disc. You’ll be glad you did.

I publish this mix today because next week, I’m lucky enough to be flying to New York to see Van Morrison perform at the Beacon Theater. He’s touring in support of his newest album, Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl. He will be performing the 1968 release in its entirety along with some other classics. Chance of a lifetime. After my return, I’ll get his new album and possibly review it.

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February 27, 2009 - Posted by | Classic Rock, Popular

3 Comments »

  1. He was on Jimmy Fallon’s new late night show yesterday. I’m waiting for it to be on youtube, will send you the link when I find it.

    Comment by susie | March 3, 2009 | Reply

  2. Damn. I had heard about that and forgot to watch it. I’ll have to find it online. Thanks.

    Comment by missedmusic | March 3, 2009 | Reply

  3. […] my post today. I just got in the door from New York where I saw Van Morrison at the Beacon Theater. As I mentioned Friday, this tour is supporting his new release, in which he covers the entire 1968 release Astral […]

    Pingback by Bluesy alt rock from Twinemen « Missed Music | March 5, 2009 | Reply


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