I’m surprised I’ve never featured a song from Van Morrison’s 1997 album, The Healing Game. Not because it’s a favorite of mine — I don’t think I’ve heard it all the way through since my initial listens — but because I have a clear memory of buying it.
On Wednesday, I recalled my then-girlfriend, Alex, and I buying two copies of Billy Joel’s River of Dreams because we didn’t yet live together. Well, today’s album is likely the first one Alex and I bought after getting married.
Back by popular demand after a two-week hiatus, it’s Montauk Madness! Specifically the third round of Montauk Madness, where the Sweet Sixteen faces off in our toughest matchups yet. Brace yourselves for some hard decisions!
Our first face-off pits Van Morrison against Billy Joel. A battle across the pond, Ireland vs. New York. Morrison made it here by spanking Barenaked Ladies with 91% of the vote and soundly defeating Peter Gabriel with 73%, while Joel had even more decisive victories over Michael Penn (95%) and Frank Sinatra (82%).
Our next Round Two contestants are around the same age and have each been recording for five decades, making for a nice heavyweight matchup.
Peter Gabriel defeated Josh Rouse in Round One, picking up 67% of the vote. Van Morrison has an even easier time, dispatching Barenaked Ladies with 91%. Continue reading
The random nature of the matchups in Montauk Madness serves up some interesting pairings. This is probably the first time Barenaked Ladies and Van Morrison have been mentioned in the same breath.
Initially, I went with Barenaked Ladies here, my rationale being that I own and enjoy nine of their albums vs. only one by Morrison.
Van Morrison sist at #3 on my list of the best albums of 1970 with his third release, Moondance. This record could easily claim the #1 position but I have a soft spot for the two albums still to come.
The folk, soul and R&B sounds on this album, paired with Morrison’s unique vocals, put it in a class all its own. I can’t say that I reach for Moondance on a regular basis, but every time I hear it I wonder why I ever bother listening to anything else.