Music Monday: August 29, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Happy almost 77th birthday to Sir George Ivan Morrison OBE. Born August 31, 1945 in Northern Ireland. he started performing and singing as a teenager, inspired by his father’s country, gospel & blues records. By 1964 Morrison formed the band Them who saw success with songs like “Gloria” and “Here Comes The Night”. In 1967 Van The Man went solo with his fusion of rock, blues and jazz music. That inspired and incredible sound combined with his voice & poetry gave way to songs like no others, especially on albums like Astral Weeks (1968), Moondance (1970) and Saint Dominic’s Preview (1972), just to name a few.

His fame and influence range from The Doors, Bruce Springsteen, The Band, U2, John Mellencamp, The Counting Crows, David Gray, Ray Lamontagne and so many others. After over six decades of performing, Morrison is still making new music. Earlier this year he released What’s It Gonna Take?, his 43rd studio album.

The hard part for me when listening to his music is choosing which record to start with, mainly because I will usually stay with that album for days or possibly weeks at a time. It is nearly impossible to absorb every nuance of Morrison’s voice in ten sittings, let alone one. Even all these years after first discovering this man’s music, it still surprises me with something I missed before. Today’s song, the title track from his 1973 album, falls into that category every time I hear it. It may not be as popular as some of his other songs, but for me it is one of the best vocals of his acclaimed career.

Put your money where your mouth is
Then we can get something going
In order to win you must be prepared to lose sometime
And leave one or two cards showing


Van Morrison circa 2010. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Van Morrison: “Hard Nose the Highway” (1973, written by Van Morrison).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: November 1, 2021

Hi, everyone. Welcome to November & to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

When Van Morrison was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1993, he did not appear at the ceremony. I do not remember why he was not there but I do remember he was inducted by Robbie Robertson of The Band. After his speech, he was joined by a singer named Adam Duritz for a guitar version of one of Morrison’s most fabulous songs, “Caravan“. It was nothing like Morrison’s exquisite original, but it was a fabulous cover nonetheless.

At the time this incredible performance was all I really knew about Duritz. But later that year he & his band, The Counting Crows, released their debut album August & Everything After. The first single, “Mr. Jones” was in heavy rotation on VH-1 and it was not a bad song. The video of the fast paced tune featured a lively & animated Duritz in a room with his bandmates. But it was the follow up single that I fell in love with. The video had great imagery but it was the heartbreaking lyrics about people struggling with life that made the bigger impact on me. And seeing the band perform this track on Letterman in early 1994 got me even more hooked on it.

Around the same time it earned the band a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. By their next album, 1996’s Recovering The Satellites, Duritz was dating “Friends” co-star Courtney Cox (who appeared in the video for “A Long December”) & The Counting Crows were one of the most successful bands of the decade. But it was the song he wrote pre-Counting Crows with bandmate David Bryson and members of another 1990’s band, The Himalayans, that will forever speak to me as a great piece of music.

“”Round here, she’s always on my mind
‘Round here, hey man, we got lots of time
‘Round here, we’re never sent to bed early
And nobody makes us wait”.

Counting Crows A

The Counting Crows circa 1996. Lead singer Adam Duritz is standing in the center. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Counting Crows: “‘Round Here” (1993, written by David Bryson, Adam Duritz, Dave Janusko, Dan Jewett and Chris Roldan).

Stay well.