The Friday mix: More of my favorites from Van Morrison
It is rare for me to have a favorite anything. Favorite movie? Favorite book? Favorite meal? I can give you a top five, but a single favorite is rare. Van Morrison is my favorite musician. Since I really started getting into his music some 18 years ago, he has endured as my very favorite. He is an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist, an inspiring singer, a brilliant bandleader, and an unparalleled songwriter. I have been fortunate enough to see him play live a couple of times and am richer for the experience.
That is not to say that I have enjoyed every song the man has written and performed. I haven’t. But can you claim to enjoy every work by any artist? In any medium? Some of Van Morrison’s work doesn’t reach me. Of course, the man has released 38 albums. I can tell you that from 1968 to 1974 the man could do no wrong. Any album you pick up from that era is wall-to-wall platinum. After that there are great moments on nearly every album.
I published a mix of my very favorite songs by Van Morrison last year, but there were enough gems left over that I wanted to put together another. Give these a listen and please, do yourself a favor and pick up some vintage Van Morrison if you don’t already own a bunch.
- Come Running – I like to kick off a mix with an energetic up-tempo song. Here you go.
- Glad Tidings – Everyone involved in this song sounds like they were having fun: the horn players, the backup singers, and Van himself.
- Crazy Love – No one wrote love songs like this one. I have to say it’s a great song for sex.
- Streets of Arklow – A deliberate intro and haunting flute work set the mood for Van’s longing wail.
- Purple Heather – This is from “Hard Nose the Highway.” I couldn’t find even a sample of the studio version, but this is a great live version.
- Wild Children – This is nostalgia in music form and nobody does it better.
- I’ve Been Working – This song sneaks up on you a bit but by the end it’s a real horns-laden rocker.
- Send Your Mind – Some seriously vintage work from Van from 1967, before ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ was a hit.
- (Straight to Your Heart) Like a Cannonball – So many of the songs on “Tupelo Honey” were just irresistible. Here is another that just has such a sunny feel. I love it.
- Joyous Sound – This is an energetic, fun song that somehow hit the cutting room floor, but was released years later on his career-spanning collection of B-sides, “The Philosopher’s Stone.”
- Precious Time – This is a later song from Van (1999) but it feels like a throwback to his “Tupelo Honey” days.
- Madame Joy – This is an earlier recording of ‘Madame George’ off of Astral Weeks that was released on “The Philosopher’s Stone.” I love any version of this great song.
- Fair Play – It’s possible that “Veedon Fleece” is my favorite album by Van Morrison and this is a big reason why. It’s full of emotional songs like this one.
- You Don’t Pull No Punches, But You Don’t Push the River – Here is another gem from “Veedon Fleece.” This one is sadder, more moving, and nearly 9 minutes long.
- Almost Independence Day – Another brilliant, 10-minute epic, this one from “Saint Dominic’s Preview.”
- Listen to the Lion – Van wrote a lot of these epic pieces. This one is over 10 minutes and is a gorgeous love song.
I apologize for the lateness of this post. Sometimes the Friday mix can’t happen on Friday. Anyway, enjoy this with some moonshine whiskey. Have a good weekend.