Van Morrison

Old Old Woodstock

Composed by Van Morrison

Song Review by

Inspired by a several-month stay in the artistic hamlet of Woodstock, nestled in the Catskill Mountains of New York, Van Morrison offers this sweet ode of the sleepy backwoods environs with a typical cross pollination of musical genres -- drawing from his own jazz and folk instincts as well as the back to the roots revival nature of the music made popular with help from such local Woodstock artists as the Band. The track has the same epic quality as the venerable title track, "Tupelo Honey." Jazz drummer Connie Kay also sits in here, providing a subtly accented percussion with an exquisitely staggered groove that closely follows Morrison's dynamic vocal swings. The verses approach the stately, with a simple, somber piano filled out with a light bed of organ, soft bass guitar, and Kay's light touch of brushed cymbal and snare. Morrison's lyrics reflect a touching sentimental quality as he seems to revel in the newfound comfort discovered in recent marital bliss. The bride, jazz singer Janet Planet, who provides backing vocals on a number of tracks and is featured prominently in the album's cover photos, is indubitably the subject of Morrison's sunny text: "Here I come a swaggering/Way on over the ridge/See the water flowing way beneath the bridge/And my woman's waiting/By the kitchen door/I'm driving along/In my old beat up car." The chorus grows more hearty with each return, built up with loose backing vocal and firmer drumming from Kay as Morrison and company harmonize with increasing vigor, "Going down to old old Woodstock/Feel the cool night breeze/Going down to old old Woodstock/Give my child a squeeze/Going down to old old Woodstock/To feel the cool night breeze/Going down to old old Woodstock/Way behind the shady trees."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Tupelo Honey 1971 Universal Distribution 4:18
blue highlight denotes editor's pick