Nights Out On The Town, Van Morrison and “Moondance”

Since discovering that all full moons have a name (given to them by the Native Americans who kept track of the months by the lunar calendar), I have written about each one as they appear in our skies. To accompany the post I always include one of the numerous songs that have been written about the moon and its many foibles.

Well, it comes round quickly doesn’t it, and I don’t know about you but up here in Scotland I’ve not actually seen any kind of moon for some time, as once the heatwave of 2018 broke here in Scotland, there’s been cloudy night skies ever since. Yesterday evening however I dragged Mr WIAA out on the town, as amazingly the sun had come out and it being the last Saturday night of the summer I felt the need to…, not so much celebrate, but have a last hurrah before it all starts getting a bit autumnal around here.

The town was heaving with tourists who seem to show no sign of going anywhere for a while yet – Great for the local economy, but not maybe so great for the likes of us, who had spontaneously decided to eat out without booking something in advance. After having a bit of a trawl of our favourite eateries it became apparent it would have to be a bar meal, in one of DD’s favourite haunts in fact, but by then we were so hungry we were in no position to be picky and very nice it was too. So, lots of “people watching” ensued (one of my favourite pastimes) and listening to loud music, but also a large glass of wine for me as for once I wasn’t the designated driver.

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With all the sunshine earlier on in the evening I felt sure I would see the moon on the way home, but sadly the clouds had yet again decided to form a blanket across our skies so it wasn’t to be – By this time you see, I was in the mood for a moon dance, and had that taken place I would have probably written this post last night, a tad under the influence. Although tipsy blogging has worked well for me in the past, there is always a risk that something might go horribly wrong and as we all know to our cost, once that publish button is pressed the words are out there for the world to see (or in my case the people who kindly follow this blog or casually stumble upon it) so probably best that I waited.

By now you must have guessed that this month’s moon-related song is going to be Van Morrison’s Moondance. The August full moon should appear in our skies tonight, Sunday the 26th, but looking through the windowpane right now, I’m pretty sure I won’t be seeing this one as it’s expected to rain all day. No matter, I can cheer myself up by watching a clip of Van the Man performing the song in his usual jolly, upbeat fashion – Oh no, that’s right, Van doesn’t do jolly and upbeat so instead it’ll be a bit of an interesting clip that reminds me of the journey home last night (although my one had a lot less traffic).

Moondance by Van Morrison:

This song is the one most frequently performed by Van in concert and although not released as a single until 1977, it was first recorded in 1970 for the album of the same name. He apparently wrote Moondance first of all as a jazz saxophone instrumental and then added the lyrics later. As we all know he is highly reticent to talk about his music, feeling the songs should speak for themselves (the darling of the talk shows he is not), but I’m pretty sure many of us would have Moondance somewhere in our personal Top 100.

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When it comes to Van, I feel he is like one of those friends we all have, the one who is always late or lets us down in some way but whom we continually excuse because they are just such great company when we do get to spend time with them. He may be a bit grumpy on stage, and it’s a bit of a hit or a miss whether his live show will be a triumph or a bit of a disappointment, but we all forgive him because his canon of work is just so sublime.

sturgeon

But something is missing here isn’t it? I haven’t yet given this August full moon a name. It’s apparently called the Sturgeon Moon, as for the Native Americans that was when they were most likely to catch the giant sturgeon that populate the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain. I’ve known this particular moon was coming up for some time but however hard I try, I just can’t think fish, fish, fish…. No, being a Scot I just think of our First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and here’s a great clip of Gary: Tank Commander (played by the wonderful Greg McHugh), interviewing the lady herself ahead of the last Scottish Parliament election. Probably hard to understand if you live outwith Scotland, but in my opinion, very funny.

Only two more moons to go in this series before I’ve covered all 12 months but because of the 29 and a half day cycle between full moons, and a few foibles unique to this year, there are a couple that have been missed. As it seems there is a never ending supply of songs with the word moon in their lyrics, this could be one series that just keeps on going. I can never quite get my head round the whole concept of what is beyond the moon, the solar system and the galaxy of stars we find ourselves part of – Infinity it’s called, so maybe this could become the infinite moon series. Let’s see.

Until next time….

Moondance Lyrics
(Song by Van Morrison)

Well it’s a marvellous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
‘Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I’m trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
You know the night’s magic
Seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight
Seems to shine in your blush…

Can I just have one a’ more moondance with you, my love?
Can I just make some more romance with a’ you, my love?

Well I wanna make love to you tonight
I can’t wait till the morning has come
And I know now the time is just right
And straight into my arms you will run
And when you come my heart will be waiting
To make sure that you’re never alone
There and then all my dreams will come true dear
There and then I will make you my own
And every time I touch you, you just tremble inside
And I know how much you want me that, you can’t hide…

Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love?
Can I just make some more romance with you, my love?

Well it’s a marvellous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
‘Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I’m trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
You know the night’s magic
Seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight
Seems to shine in your blush…

One more moondance with you
In the moonlight
On a magic night
la, la, la, la, there’s a moonlight
On a magic night
Can’t I just have one more dance
With you my love?

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

14 thoughts on “Nights Out On The Town, Van Morrison and “Moondance””

  1. Van The Man is indeed a grumpy so-an-so, but as you say we have to forgive him. I have almost all his albums and though there are a few I think are below par, he always seems to have at least one song that saves the day. On a slightly morbid note, I’ve been instructed by a chum to ensure that “Cleaning Windows” is played at his funeral. People are strange…
    By the by, Tank Commander Gary should definitely be helming BBC’s Politics Scotland.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I said, some people can be as grumpy as they want but have such massive redeeming features that we forgive them.

      Yes, let’s sack Glen Campbell (always a confusing name for music lovers) and replace him with Gary – He would ensure there are no woolly, evasive replies from the politicians and get right to the crux of important issues of the day. Raising the minimum cost/unit of Baileys?

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  2. I especially love the version of Moondance he put out a number of years later when Georgie Fame was his bandleader. He slowed it down and sang it in a much more comfortable key.

    Having seen him live – at the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague – I can confirm he is one of the most dour men ever to pick up a microphone. He never acknowledged the audience once. Not even a “Hello.” Miserable bastard. But a miserable bastard who has written some beautiful songs nonetheless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just watched a couple of Youtube clips – The Georgie Fame version and the one where Van sang. He really does lack stage charisma doesn’t he, but that is his appeal I think. The songs speak for themselves and not all of us want that faux banter all the time between songs anyway. Would be nice to have a “hello” though.

      Georgie has had a long and varied career and is still going I think. I wrote about him in my first year of blogging as love the song Sitting In The Park.

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    1. Gosh you are quite the expert on Van Morrison Neil – I think it was you who also suggested that this song should be included as part of the series. I am not sufficiently au fait with Van’s albums to have a favourite, but I do like a lot of the individual songs, this being my favourite at the moment.

      Congratulations by the way – You have just published the 2000th comment on my blog. Bit of a landmark number.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ve already mentioned Jenny Agutter in this series, when I featured the song Blue Moon. Men who grew up in the ’70s (Mr WIAA) also think of the lovely Jenny when they hear these songs.

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  3. The moon-naming thing rather lost its romanticism with the Sturgeon Moon…. although I’m not sure if that’s just because of the Nicola association or perhaps just because of how it sounds – sturgeon, a rather discomforting blend of ‘stodgy’ and ‘surgeon’! Not that there are many lovely fish names out there now I come to think of it – they’re all a bit blunt like pollock or haddock or mullet….
    Love what you say about Van and his grumpy persona. We can be very forgiving of talented people!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha – you are right, an awful lot of ugly sounding fish names but also Clown fish, Angel fish etc so not all bad!

      Sadly didn’t see this last moon at all but I did catch a glimpse last night – It disappeared though before I could fetch a camera.

      Yes, Van can be forgiven as he has given us such wonderful tunes.

      Like

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