After the successes of his first two albums, at least critically, Van Morrison needed a fresh start to begin achieving commercial success in the music world. The result is this album Moondance. Being a very different and relatively new artist at the time, this is where Van Morrison began to achieve some commercial success for his music. Let’s see if this album was worth that success.
We begin with And It Stoned Me which instantly sounds like a piano led ballad that is awesome to hear. It is a cool tale about fishing and other simple rural adventures, although it also sounds vaguely like a drug reference for marijuana. If it is that, it is a very lush and wonderful piece of music to smoke dope to. But even sober, this is a fantastic listen, and is a Van Morrison classic with saxophone, acoustic guitar and a simple yet effective musicality to it. It is really well done and although this album is often overlooked for Astral Weeks, this is a really cool tale of travels and adventures in a rural setting. It’s not exactly Country Music, it is just excellent. Beautiful and Jazzy Pop/Rock that hits an excellent climax towards the end. Classic song.
The title track Moondance is a swinging, Jazzy classic that sounds extremely lovely and romantic. Everything sounds fantastic here, and sounds like an awesome slow dance classic. No doubt many children of the 1970s were conceived to this solid gold classic, the whole thing is excellently done. It is seemingly about the nervousness and innocence of eternal love, which is pretty cool. A lovely piano solo is here too, and the whole piece will make you think of a significant other in your life. The saxophone solo also is really top. Mind-blowingly good and another classic to hear, the mixture of excellent songwriting and instrumentation is here. An excellent song, and very unforgettable listening.
Crazy Love is more classic romanticism and has Van Morrison singing more excellent music about love and the emotional feelings about being in love with a partner to a large degree. The gospel vocals in the background are a nice touch, and this song is perfectly made and delivered. It is quite short being less than three minutes long, but is a good and excellent listen to remind one of young love. Top effort by Van Morrison here, once again.
Caravan begins with fluttering piano, before going into another decent song. Although this album may not be as good as its predecessor Astral Weeks, it is full of excellent lyricism, Jazz based instrumentation and a cohesive quality about it. Singing about gypsies and the simple life with a love, this is really amazing music. These are amazing songs here, and Van Morrison sounds joyful and optimistic throughout this music. Another great song here, the la-la-la’s here are something that no Pop artist would even consider today. Another solid effort by Van Morrison, he comes as a music maker in an original sense. Good effort, very decent music is here. The harmonies at the end are infectiously catchy.
Next is Into The Mystic which begins with some lovely acoustic guitar and nimble bass playing with some slow drumming, before Van Morrison sings from a deeply loving and spiritual place. This is so beautiful that one cannot help but be moved by this extraordinary piece. A great listen, it draws upon experiences and fond memories of things in the past gone by. The saxophone solo here is gorgeous, no loud and overbearingly guitar solos here. Just a gorgeous listen. Van Morrison was likely influenced by some Hippie counterculture ideals with this song, but not overwhelmingly so. Regardless, a very good effort by Van Morrison and definitely listenable.
Following is Come Running begins with upbeat piano and excellent bongo beats. It is another story of young love that is really touching and image evoking. This is a shorter piece of music that is very catchy and singalong, with Van Morrison’s backing band doing a terrific job here. This is a superb piece that is quality music and musicianship, an increasing rarity these days. It ends with a syncopated section that is brilliant. Nice tune.
These Dreams Of You is a slower with piece with Bluesy harmonica, excellent acoustic guitar playing and a great piece about more romantic ideals. There is a very retro organ here, and the lyricism here is unique and top notch. This is music that is a good halfway house between Pop music and Jazz based instrumentation, but even that would be an oversimplification of the sounds here. A Jazzy and awesome song with another great saxophone solo, this is a classic song that deserves your attention. Some troubled emotions are in this song, despite the fact that it sounds light and cheerful. Great music here.
Brand New Day begins with piano and a slow backing for Van Morrison to instantly sing over. In a way he is untouchable as an artist. The proof is in the music, and this is one of his better albums out there. This song is no different, with gospel vocals and specifically imaginative lyricism to match. A very excellent piece of music, as you’d expect from this album, this is a great exploration of the youth and life experiences one can have. There is slide guitar and a Jazz based piano solo here, which is put together nicely. A great sort of music that is largely forgotten these days, it is a good listen nonetheless. Very relaxing music to hear, another decent song to listen to from this album. Good piece of music.
Next up is Everyone which begins with harpsichord that it is excellent and joyful, before Van Morrison and co. jump straight into the song at hand. This is very much a late 1960s/early 1970s sound, but brilliantly so. The music and songwriting craftsmanship are really quite good here, and this is a really positive music album. More music should share the happiness and enthusiasm that is here. Great tune from a decent and classic album, the flute hear is top, too. A fine listen, and very excellent listening. Some great wordless harmonies are here at the end. Great.
The last track on this album is Glad Tidings which has a more traditional Pop/Rock feel to it, with muted electric guitar and a classy set of musicality. This is great music showcasing being young and in love. Sure, The Beatles had done the same sort of thing musically, but Van Morrison takes this concept to the next level. A nice finish to a great album, and music that tugs at heartstrings, not brain cells. Van Morrison puts in 100% here into his music on this album, especially lyrically. His lyrics are unique and imaginative, a true artistic musician here. Great effort.
As mentioned before, this is not as good as Astral Weeks. Having said that, this is definitely a classic album that is in the history books of music listening for a reason. If you like Vocal/Jazz/Pop with a major romantic leaning, then this album should be in your collection. The title track in particular is fantastic. Fans of this album should seek out the extended remastered versions of this album. All in all, an excellent listen.
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