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Track Review: Van Morrison ‘Cyprus Avenue’

A 1968 track from the Irishman feels like an American icon.

Robert Frezza

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One word to describe Van Morrison’s sound is timeless.

His career commenced in the 1950s. As a teenager, he played a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, saxophone, and keyboards, which made him the artist he is today.

“Cyprus Avenue” is a soothing Americana folk tune that comforts the soul right down to its core. Guitar, flute, harpsichord, and violin are the foundations on which he built his second album, 1968’s Astral Weeks.

Morrison’s vocals bring you back to somewhere down south stateside, with his vocals that seem to have a southern twang to it. One could swear Morrison was from the South with his rockabilly vocals, but Morrison was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Morrison gently sings the lyrics “Well, I’m caught one more time/Up on Cyprus Avenue” as he reminisces about his old Irish neighborhood.
“Cyprus Avenue” refers to the same street that he used to roam growing up in Ireland.

This song has an immense universal reach. “Cyprus Avenue” can be anyone’s old neighborhood. The house you grew up in, the shops you frequented, the memories associated with experiencing adolescence is what this coming of age song is all about.

Morrison is a piece of Americana history woven into today’s garage rock scene even though he grew up across the ocean, what seems like a million miles away.

On this irresistible classic sounds he blends jazz, folk, and blues effortlessly.

Astral Weeks was a departure from his earlier work — especially when compared to the poppy “Brown Eyed Girl” — and did not receive critical and commercial acclaim when it was released, but now stands the test of time because of it’s unique blend of genres and intense, deep lyrical content.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Robert Frezza is a music journalist based out of NYC. He has interviewed Lady Gaga, Kings of Leon, Garbage, Nine Inch Nails, among many more. He enjoys interviewing musicians.

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