Van Morrison

Moondance - Warner Brothers - 1970

Tracks: 1. And it Stoned Me / 2. Moondance / 3. Crazy Love / 4. Caravan / 5. Into the Mystic / 6. Come Running / 7. These Dreams of You / 8. Brand New Day / 9. Everyone / 10. Glad Tidings


"Moondance" from 1970 is one of Van Morrison's most acclaimed albums. For me, this definitely a deserved recognition. Morrison's vocals are as always soulful and convincing, so it is especially his songwriting which is unusually consistent and inspired here. All his albums include great songs, of course, but few as many as this one. Compared with "Astral Weeks", which is often considered Morrison's best , the songwriting on "Moondance" is less improvisational, which for me is a clear strength. Stylewise Morrison works on the border between blues, soul, jazz, gospel and rock.

The album opens strong with "It Stoned Me", which both melodically and lyrically displays Morrison's great talent for songwriting. The jazzy title track is a favorite among many fans; personally I'm not a big fan of jazz, so it may actually be my least favourite song on the album.

"Crazy Love" is a soul inspired ballad. It can be hard to recognize Morrison's voice, dwhich here may remind you of Sam Cooke: at any rate a great song.

"Caravan" is classic Morrison; a song which would have fitted Robbie Robertson's "The Band" perfectly. "Into the Mystic" is for me the outstanding track. Great catchy tune. Leads my thought back to the overlooked Them-song "Mighty Like a Rose" With "Come Running" the speed goes up; a gospel inspired thing, which adds a lot to the positive and optimistic mood and tone of the album.

"These Dreams of You" is an easy little r & b thing. More Sam Cooke / The Band inspiration comes with the next key-track, "Brand New Day". The positive mood continues on "Everyone", which in addition to its nice melody is also remarkable in being almost pop-psych - a genre you rarely find Morrison connected to.

The final track "Glad Tidings" may be the nearest Morrison has come to writing a new "Brown Eyed Girl" - maybe not quite in the same league as this classic, but still a nice conclusion to an album that shows a Morrison from his optimistic and musically very inspired side.

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