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Saturday, May 12, 2012

"Cyprus Avenue"

Van Morrison - "Cyprus Avenue" (1968)

"It's too late to stop now!"

This is a stream of consciousness style vocal over blues chords. So in that way it's like a Dylan tune. But then we've got flute, violin, and harpsichord. At that point it sort of crosses into chamber or baroque pop. It's hard to imagine a song with a harpsichord playing blues. It's like a electric blues rocker from the same time period, except instead of electric guitar it's got a violin. Instead of a harmonica it's got a flue. Instead of Hammond organ it's got a harpsichord and instead of electric bass it's got an upright bass. It's really long and rambling, so how does this all work? Well, Van Morrison is Northern Irish. So he's got the folk in his blood. And the rambling story thing is pure Irish as well.

Apparently this was a regular closing song for Van Morrison on the road. He would play it as an encore and his wild performances and interaction with the fans and the band were seen as influenced by James Brown, and in turn influencing on Bruce Springsteen. The song always got wild in concert and was so popular that he named his 1974 live album It's Too Late to Stop Now, the line he always used to close the song, and the whole set.

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