Van Morrison – Astral Weeks (1968)
I’m done with Brown Eyed Girl.
There is nothing inherently wrong with it & the song does seem to bring joy to many. Considering the available alternatives (even within the Van Morrison catalogue), does it really merit the decades of airtime it has/continues to receive?
Perhaps the G-C-D-Em accessibility to amateur guitarists and the ‘sha-la-la’ campfire-friendly vocals are to blame. As a result, after the few times a year it makes an appearance at such a sing-a-long gathering, I don’t feel a strong urge to listen to the original studio recording.
Then one day, (friend/author/one of the great Secondary School Girls Ice Hockey coaching minds of our time) James Tallon suggested I explore Astral Weeks.
If Brown Eyed Girl had a straight-forward chord pattern, the bulk of this record is even more simplified, often a back-and-forth between two chords. Full marks to Van Morrison here: several songs extend beyond seven minutes (one even approaches ten) and even with the basic structures, it’s not boring.
If I were a betting man, I’d wager at least a couple of the members of U2 heard Astral Weeks prior to recording All I Want Is You.
Of course I appreciate that the harpsichord makes an appearance on Cyprus Avenue.
I’m not sure if I’ve completely bought into his voice. I’m not sure if I concur with the folks at Rolling Stone who listed this as the 19th greatest album of all time.
I’m fairly certain at least that I’m not done with Astral Weeks.