Song of the Day: Van Morrison "Caravan" • DJ D-Mac & Associates

Well, here we are, the last song pick of the draft!  I’d like to thank Hans and Badfinger20 at PowerPop for inviting me to be a part of it.  We’ve heard songs across genres, across decades, and across continents (thanks Aphoristical!) and I’ve really enjoyed being exposed to so many great songs and getting to know other fellow music aficionados.

For my last pick, I’m going with Van Morrison’s Caravan, off his 1970 album Moondance. Moondance has always been one of my favorite albums and I say that not being super familiar with the rest of Van Morrison’s work.  It has always just been one of those albums that I connect with in a special way – its imagery of getting caught in the rain, romantic autumn dances in the moonlight, and traveling gypsies sitting around campfires telling stories never fails to move me – its like a parallel world where all the problems and annoyances of everyday life are gone and your feel in touch with the universe in a spiritual (mystical you might say) way.

Caravan is my favorite song on the album – in fact, its one of my favorite songs ever.  Remember back in week 3 I said that Drift Away by Dobie Gray was my favorite – this is the other one!  From the opening tinkling piano notes, it just takes me to another plane.  Like then whole album, its pastoral, natural imagery just connects with me. The imagery of this group of folks sharing each other’s company, enjoying life, moving on to the next place, all with a radio playing music along the way.  I especially love the lyrics about music and the radio:

Turn up your radio and let me hear the song
Switch on your electric light
Then we can get down to what is really wrong
I long just to hold you tight, so maybe I can feel you
Sweet lady of the night, I shall reveal you

If you won’t turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher radio
Turn it up, that’s enough, so you know it’s got soul
Radio, radio turn it up, hmm

I just love how the sax line punctuates the lyrics, the la la la’s, the whole thing.

Van Morrison recorded this album while living in Woodstock, NY.  The radio reference in Caravan has an interesting genesis.  According to SongFacts:

Morrison’s house was a mile away from any other houses, but while living there he swore he could hear a radio playing as though it were in the same room. This mystery fascinated Morrison.

“I could hear the radio like it was in the same room. I don’t know how to explain it. There was some story about an underground passage under the house I was living in, rumors from kids and stuff and I was beginning to think it was true. How can you hear someone’s radio from a mile away, as if it was playing in your own house? So I had to put that into the song, It was a must” (quoted from Celtic Crossroads: The Art of Van Morrison, by Brian Hinton, 2000, as referenced in Wikipedia.)

Definitely adds to the mystical element of the song, I think!

Again, thanks for the wonderful musical journey on our little music blog caravan if you will, these last 10 rounds, and I can’t wait til we do it again next summer!


  1. Awesome song! As CB mentioned I love the version in The Last Waltz… As Van the Man said… “Turn up your radio and let me hear the song” Great pick Paul…this draft has been a lot of fun and I cannot wait to repeat it.

  2. I must confess that I am not really a follower of Morrison but, I do know some of his work, Brown-eyed Girl, in particular and Moondance. As I listened to this, I realized I’d heard it before and I like it. I just didn’t know the name.

    Interesting about the background, with his hearing a piano play. Some ideas occurred to me such as sound traveling a distance via terrain & weather conditions or…a haunting. 👻🤓😆

    I have developed an appreciation for the man for other reasons. Hans & Max have described him as “cranky.” 😁 I tend to agree. I applaud his (and an injured Clapton’s) pushback on our current insanity. Sing on and fight back, gentlemen! BRAVO.

    • Thanks Vic. Interestingly the hearing the radio thing even though no one around reminds me of something I learned when visiting Gettysburg- some Confederate general was supposed to bring his troops up once he heard the battle start but he never did. Afterward he claimed he never heard the battle. He was roundly criticized as a coward afterward since how can you not heard a battle just over the Hill. But they’ve now determined that due to some weird terrain/atmospheric issue in tbe area it’s entirely plausible that he never heard anything. Maybe the Van thing is the same but in reverse. Or maybe like you said the house was haunted. 😀

  3. a fine song to end it all up with. The title didn’t jump out at me, but didn’t take long in for me to recognize it. One of Van’s best, I’d say.

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