I’ve been on another musician kick. This week, it’s Van Morrison.

I’m not sure what got into me the other day. I was listening to a Van Morrison album and one thing led to another. Next thing I knew, I was ordering two more of his albums from Amazon.com. This is no easy feat, since Van Morrison has been pretty prolific over the years and some of his best albums are not available as MP3s. I made a concerted effort not to bring CDs to Germany with me, but sure enough, I ordered a few of Van Morrison’s. A couple of them arrived this week and I’ve spent a couple of evenings this week listening to them. Then I found myself making a Van Morrison playlist. I wondered how, growing up in the 70s and 80s, I only knew him for songs like “Moondance” and “Brown Eyed Girl”.

Van Morrison singing “Moondance” live back in 1996.

Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl”.

I mean, the man has been making music for decades and putting out albums by the dozen. But my interests in his music have come in slow waves. The first one was back in the 90s, when I bought several CDs. I think it was because I heard his song, “Tupelo Honey” on a made for TV movie and thought it was lovely and moving. I bought the album it came from, along with a few others.

“Tupelo Honey” is such a beautiful love song…

As I listened to the albums I bought, I was introduced to some more of his pretty ballads, as well as some of the more upbeat numbers like “Wild Night”. At the time, John Mellencamp and Me’Shell Mdegeocello had a duet cover out and I had also heard a funky version on the soundtrack to Thelma & Louise. Neither of these covers held up to Van Morrison’s version.

Yes, it sounds retro, but in a very cool way.

In the mid 90s, when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia, an Irish friend sent me a mix tape. He included a couple of Van Morrison songs on it, including this one…

Such a pretty and peaceful song… It always takes me to a peaceful place, “In The Garden” of my mind, which is always fertile with ideas and ripe with inspiration.

I got over my Van Morrison obsession for awhile, then was reintroduced to it when I was planning my wedding in 2002. I wanted to incorporate hymns in the service and found Van Morrison’s version of “Be Thou My Vision” on his album, Hymns To The Silence.

Van Morrison’s “Be Thou My Vision”.

I really got into the rest of the album, which had some very interesting songs on it. I particularly liked the ones that featured organ, since I have an uncle who plays a Hammond like nobody’s business.

Then for my 33rd birthday in 2005, my husband, Bill, surprised me with a copy of Magic Time, which I ended up loving. In fact, as awesome as many of Van Morrison’s albums truly are, Magic Time is probably one of my all time favorites. I love it as much for the music as I do the memories it inspires.

I love Van Morrison’s version of “Stranded”… so romantic and inspiring.

Time went on and I started finding myself introduced to Van Morrison’s older and more obscure albums, as well as the ones that are considered classics but aren’t as easy to find nowadays.

Van Morrison sings “Beautiful Vision” on German TV in 1984.

This week, I’ve been getting to know his 1972 album, Saint Dominic’s Preview, and his 1997 album, The Healing Game. I mentioned on Facebook that I had picked up these albums and a friend of mine– I’ve never met her offline, but have known her for years online– expressed admiration and appreciation. We are the same age and have some similar tastes in music. She has more Van Morrison albums than I do, though at 28 and counting, I am catching up to her fast.

Van Morrison sings “The Healing Game” live in 1999.

Van Morrison is not above doing the occasional children’s song, either. I love what he did with “Bein’ Green”.

Van Morrison’s 1973 take on “Bein’ Green”, from his album Hard Nose The Highway. How can you not smile listening to this?

I should be getting more Van Morrison soon… and the obsession will continue apace. Happy Friday, everyone. Hope your weekend is full of high quality music from someone like Van Morrison.