My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Moondance was recorded during the second half of 1969 in New York City and was released in February 1970.
What I think: I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself for this album. It is one of my favorite albums from one of my favorite artists (Tupelo Honey edges this one out, as it was the first Morrison album I really listened to). It also has a personal connection as my wife and I had our wedding processional to the albums final track, “Glad Tidings”. Van Morrison was one of the first things we bonded over in the early days of our relationship and has been there on many road trip throughout.
Erin once asked me what makes an album an all time favorite. I said that every song on the album at one time being your favorite was important. This album comes sooo close to that standard. In fact as I listen to it, I can’t even decide which is my current favorite.
There are two exceptions. I usually can’t get into hipster jazz in “Moondance” and in addition “Crazy Love” seems a little bit cheesy to me. I actually enjoy those two if I’m not giving them a lot of attention (sort of just feeling their vibes I guess). But despite those two being less than stellar, the highs of this album reach to the heavens. Let’s look at those.
“And It Stoned Me”: I remember growing up and hearing this song on the radio and thinking it was another hippy stoner jam. How wrong I was. The picture this song paints in my head amazes me every time. It makes me want to be a kid on a hot summer day fishing and running through the tall grass. And that water…. oohh that water. I can feel and taste the crisp coldness of it. In that moment there is nothing better in the world.
“Caravan”: I remember the first time I heard this song on a local radio station and how I kept turning it up when ever Van demanded me to (something I still try to do, but by this point in the album I’m usually distorting the speakers). This song is just pure joy to me. It makes nerves all over my body vibrate in a way that few songs do.
“Into the Mystic”: This is a song that took me some time to warm up to, but is now one of my Morrison favorites. I sort of feel disappointed when “Caravan” is over, but then this song comes along and lets me know it’s going to be ok. Those sweet, sweet horns, that lovely piano, guitar (and foghorn). It’s too late to stop now….
“Glad Tidings”: As I said this one was featured at my wedding. It’s a happy (I think, I’m afraid to read the lyrics) nonsense sort of song in the vein of “Brown Eyed Girl”, and just as magical. There’s just no way to sit still for this one.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I don’t know if there are a lot of people on the planet that could argue this not being one of the best of all time. There’s just such a primal coolness to it.
Rating (Out of 5): 5
Amazon Review (Out of 5): 5
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (45/198)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 77%