Song Of The Day 3/16/2015: Van Morrison - "Moonshine Whiskey"

Five Van Morrison Songs I Just Met: Sometime this week -- I imagine tomorrow, since it's St. Patrick's Day and all -- Treble is going to publish my latest mega-cle, provisionally entitled "Celebrate The Catalog: Van Morrison 1967-83." Similar to the Hall & Oates epic I fashioned out of gold, granite and blood last May, it's a collection of individual reviews of the thirteen studio albums Van Morrison produced when he was signed to Warner Bros., plus the one that Bang kind of threw together without his input in 1967. I've spent most of this weekend barely acknowledging my kids' existence while hunkered over iTunes, trying to work my analytical magic into 350-word chunks. (Except for Astral Weeks, which went 677 words, because it's fucking Astral Weeks.)

Listening to these fourteen albums afresh taught me a lot. There were some surprises. (Except for the highest-rated Van Morrison album, which if you haven't picked up on yet is still Astral Weeks.) I've heard most of the fourteen albums before, but most of my active Van listening was concentrated on Astral Weeks, Moondance and His Band and the Street Choir, because I was too lazy to go outside of the classic rock radio comfort zone, which apparently dictates those are the only three albums he ever made. But in revisiting the albums I hadn't heard that closely before (Tupelo Honey, Veedon Fleece) and hearing one for the very first time ever (Common One), my consideration of his entire career changed, and I got this giddy pleasure about some amazing pieces of work that I felt like blurting out on this page.

So, for the first time ever, I'm giving an entire theme week over to one artist. (I was gonna do it for Hall & Oates, but more literary heads prevailed.) These are five Van songs I've heard in the last couple of weeks that left their first, most indelible impressions on me. Sort of a companion piece to the Treble story. You'll enjoy them, unless you're at SXSW right now, goddamn you.

"Moonshine Whiskey" is from Tupelo Honey. Most of that album explored American country music, with a lot of gorgeous pedal steel guitar. In fact there's a pedal steel on "Wild Night" that I never noticed before this week. That was a jolt and a half. "Moonshine Whiskey" is a crazy number that alternates between passages quick two-step and country-soul waltz. Van tries some interesting culture jamming on the song, promising to "promenade down funky Broadway" and, shudder, put on "my hot pants." He also imitates a fish. See why I had to do this?
Post a Comment

Popular Recent Posts