Sunday, August 30, 2015

Happy 70th, Van Morrison!

It's been almost exactly 48 years since I sat in Hazen's sandwich shop on Mount Auburn Street in Cambridge, heard "Brown Eyed Girl" on the jukebox, and wondered, "Who is that?"

The following year, 1968, we were both in Cambridge, and you were gigging in some of the local venues. I was busy being a law student, so didn't get to hear you accompanying yourself on acoustic guitar, along with Tom Keilbania on upright bass and John Payne on flute. Later that year you went to New York to cut your first album for Warner, Astral Weeks, with a group of jazz musicians you'd never met before, though you manged to get Payne on to play flute. Below is a clip of the title track:



When I first heard the album I didn't like it. It was too subtle, too restrained, too "jazzy." As my tastes expanded with age and experience, I came to like it very much.

Tomorrow, August 31, 2015 you'll be seventy. I'll reach that milestone next March. As one near septuagenarian to another, I wish you many more years and many more songs.