Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Is In The Air

Ahhhh Valentine's Day...that heartwarming  day of romance planted right in the middle of the deadest part of winter...I have come to believe that Valentine's Day is in February because people need to be reminded of the good things in life--especially when it's cold and crappy outside.  Coming off the recent blizzard that hammered this section of the country, Valentine's Day and romance is a welcome respite from all that is cold and dreary....

Many an artist made a career of being a "romeo;" singing love songs and romantic ditties that melted a girl's hearty but did little to establish any music credibility.  Rick Springfield, Rick Astley, Nick Gilder, Eric Carmen...the list goes on.  However, few artists have been able to re-invent themselves as many times as Van Morrison.  Blues, jazz, R&B, pop, soul, even dabbling in the Christian genre, "Van the Man" has challenged the music industry to slap a label on him.

Walking away from and returning to an industry he felt betrayed him, Van has defied logic, the "experts," and even Father Time.  For my money Van has recorded some of the best love songs ever etched in vinyl.  "Brown Eyed Girl," "Crazy Love," "Moondance," "Gloria,"  and "Ball and Chain" are but a small sample of an amazing career spanning almost six decades.

Van has recorded with some of the greatest in the industry; John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, The Band, Roger Waters, Bob Dylan, Jeff Beck, Bobby Womack, Georgie Fame...again the list goes on...Van has even been blessed to be able to record with his daughter Shana.

Few songs, in this blogger's humble opinion, come as close to touching the actual pulse of the human heart as "Tupelo Honey."  Van was a recluse by nature, never known for being the life of the party, and often times was hard if not down right impossible to figure out.  To see him as a romantic almost seems impossible--until you hear him sing.  His wife at the time, Janet Planet, provided backing vocals on the song.

The beauty in the song lies in its simplicity...yet Van can drag vocals through rough sand and make 'em sound like angels singing better than any mere mortal could hope to.  His ability to bring a realness and vulnerability to every song he sings puts Van in a class alone...there is no peer that comes to mind.  He can meld horns, strings, and vocals into one sound so harmonious you are left wondering what the hell just happened to your ears....

I chose this version of "Tupelo Honey" for no other reason than I liked the video...the sound is awesome no matter what you pair it with.  Powerful vocals and a simple statement; "you are my world, and nothing matters without you."  I couldn't have said it better myself...

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