Van Morrison: One Irish Rover

This year as always, Chicago's St.Patrick's Day celebration will involve downing large quantities of green beer and and dumping green dye into the Chicago River, should the ice floes allow.

I've chosen to mark the occasion by featuring one of Ireland's most brilliant and crankiest musicians in his native environment. Van Morrison has been steadily making music nearly five decades and has written and performed some of the most soulful songs ever recorded.

The title "One Irish Rover" is a title from his 1986 release "No Guru, No Method, No Teacher". The song is one of several from the disc that express his love for Ireland and its traditions.

Another inspiration for the image is "You Don't Pull No Punches, But You Don't Push the River" from the vastly underrated "Veedon Fleece", which sold poorly upon its release in 1974, and is now generally regarded as one of his masterpieces. (Jon Oye wrote an excellent essay discussing the album on his blog Contemplations on Classic Movies and Music) The brilliantly surreal lyrics defy explanation (Typically, when asked, Van said that Veedon Fleece means nothing and "I just made it up".), and together with the flowing instrumentation, form a rich tapestry of Celtic mysticism, nature, and spirituality.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! And for for an extra bit of Irish luck, find the four-leafer in the illustration.