Moondance (1970)
purchase this album (Amazon)

The Background: The AMG’s Jason Ankeny refers to it as “the yang to Astral Weeks‘ yin,” and that’s about right — loosely speaking, this set is another paean to rural living, shot through with spiritual overtones. But Weeks‘ freeform insularity is traded here for more obviously soulful arrangements and punchier production. And it works: Of all Morrison’s “classic” albums, Moondance is the one you don’t need time or context to appreciate. Of course, it helps that there is literally not a bad song in the bunch — even by Morrison’s standards, the album’s an embarrassment of riches. Anyone building their Morrison collection would do well to start here.

The Standards: “Come Running” was the hit single, but the title track and “Into the Mystic” have gone on to greater cultural significance.

What You Didn’t Hear: Honestly, there’s precious little from this album you’ve probably never heard — “Crazy Love” and “Caravan” are two more classic tracks that have surfaced on soundtracks and other people’s albums — but start off with “And It Stoned Me” (download) and “Everyone” (download).

Billboard Chart Peak: #29

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Jeff Giles

Jeff Giles is the founder and editor-in-chief of Popdose and Dadnabbit, as well as an entertainment writer whose work can be seen at Rotten Tomatoes and a number of other sites. Hey, why not follow him at Twitter while you're at it?

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