Friday Night Music, April 1, 2001: A Double Header of Van Morrison, “Tupelo Honey” and “Into The Mystic”
I do love me some Van, the Irish Soul Man. Was going through my cardiac rehab paces this morning when someone put on “Moondance.” Wow, that sent me back, way back. Way, way back. Years. A song like that makes walking a boring treadmill a joy.
Although “Moondance” is one of his hits that I love, I also love his other works, like the ones here. I couldn’t just list one of them, nor just list “Domino,” “Crazy Love,” “Brown Eyed Girl” or “Gloria,” which became a hit when he was the lead singer of Them in the Sixties. I heard that latter song when I got my first radio, so seven years later, when I heard him solo in Moondance, I just went what? That couldn’t be the same guy! But it was. Morrison just went from strength to strength; he was hitting his stride. So I thought that you would get a double header of these songs that some may not have heard about.
“Tupelo Honey” is of course, riffing off the pleasures of a mildly sweet-tasting honey taken from bees in Florida. The bees take thick pollen from the pepperidge or tupelo trees deliberately planted in wetland or flooded areas in order to create combs of highly prized tupelo honey. At one time, Crabtree and Evelyn used to sell jars of tupelo honey and guava jelly, along with other jams and jellies, and I picked up several to give to friends. I think that they were $10-12 a pop. Of course, I thought of Morrison’s song and the Marley song about guava jelly, and I hoped my friends got the message, too. Morrison was actually singing about his wife of the time, Janet Planet, and the joys of being married. “Into The Mystic” is about a spiritual quest, and not about the Mystic River.
I’ve never gotten to see Van Morrison live in concert, but I am sure that his voice, though deeper, hasn’t waned despite the years, nor his reach high or low. And that it is not too late to see this living legend. This guy is for real, really for real.
Morrison, 65, has resisted performing national tours. He does occasional short concert dates. His last appearances were in October 2010 on the West Coast: Las Vegas at The Joint, Los Angeles at the Greek Theatre, San Diego at Civic Theatre, San Francisco at Nob Hill Masonic Center, and in Santa Barbara at the Bowl.