Saturday, February 28, 1970

Van Morrison released Moondance: February 28, 1970

Originally posted February 28, 2012.

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Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) And It Stoned Me / Moondance (11/19/77, #92 US) / Crazy Love / Caravan / Into the Mystic / Come Running (4/4/70, #39 US) / These Dreams of You / Brand New Day / Everyone / Glad Tidings

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US

Peak: 29 US, 32 UK


Review: “Van Morrison had high expectations to live up to after” RV “the dreamy acoustic sound of Astral WeeksTL and its “celestial poetry.” RV The “Irish musician didn’t disappoint;” RV he responded by serving up “the brilliant,” AMG “light, soulful, and jazzy Moondance.” AMG It “is every bit as much a classic as its predecessor.” AMG

Part of the genius of Van’s one-two punch with the two albums is that they “are so distinct they almost sound as if they’ve come from different artists.” EK He “move[s] away from the folk template and stream-of-consciousness lyrics into a more rock-driven arena with sharper storytelling and touches of Americana.” JM It makes Moondance a “far more accessible follow-up” EK with “succinct shots of rock and jazz and healthy doses of R&B.” JM Van “put more emphasis on the orchestrations of his bluesy melodies” RV by building “his arrangements around a powerful horn section, veering more toward the punchy, old-school R&B he loved than Astral’s jazzy meanderings.” TL Any “debates about the authenticity of blue-eyed soul ring hollow when one listens to Van the Man.” VB

Thematically, Moondance “retains the previous album’s deeply spiritual thrust but transcends its bleak, cathartic intensity to instead explore themes of renewal and redemption.” AMG He continues to swing “back and forth between the mystical and the earthy. It happens musically, and…lyrically…He’s a dewy-eyed romantic and a cranky curmudgeon—sometimes within the same song.” EK “Ireland’s finest R&B acolyte married mysticism and mojo into a collection of sexual rebirth and redemption.” VB

And It Stoned Me

“Morrison’s singing got more aggressive, too.” TL as he delivers “a more precise blast of R&B energy, but he still wails himself into another consciousness in places.” EK He “sings about fishing, swimming, rain and drinking, but his voice gives it an epic feel.” RV The album kicks off with the “lush, ethereal And It Stoned MeRV which uses a “sweetly nostalgic” AMG message and “pastoral imagery” AMG to deliver what feels “like a fable of self-discovery.” RV

Caravan (with The Band)

That song establishes “the dominant lyrical motif recurring throughout the album – virtually every track exults in natural wonder.” AMG “At the heart of the record is” AMG “the glorious Caravan,” TL “an incantatory ode to the power of radio.” AMG

Crazy Love (with Ray Charles)

There’s also “the unlimited promise offered in” AMG “the gospel-flavored Brand New DayTL and “Crazy Love is his most romantic song.” RV There’s “the immortal, swinging title trackTL celebrating “nocturnal magic” AMG which has become “a staple of prep schools and lounge acts to this day, and still none the worse for wear.” TL

Moondance (with Dr. John, Santana, and Etta James)

“He kept his croony side, though, on the murmuring” TL and “majestic Into the Mystic.” AMG The song has “such elemental beauty and grace” AMG that it could be considered his “greatest ballad” RV and “arguably the quintessential Morrison moment.” AMG It is “a hauntingly sublime work that evokes feelings of extreme longing. When he finishes with the line, ‘It’s too late to stop now,’ music-lovers couldn’t agree more.” RVMoondance seems to have it all.” JM

Into the Mystic

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