Van Morrison performs a reggae-driven version of And It Stoned Me as part of an impressive fifteen song set that showcased his growing maturity as an artist in Montreux 1980.
The Montreux jazz festival performance featured four of the songs that would appear on Van’s next album, Common One and other songs that were played were chosen from albums over the last twelve years of his career, specifically in this case returning to Moondance for that album’s magnificent opener: And It Stoned Me.
By this time, the Irishman was held in high esteem due to his prolific output of the 1970s. Hence, the music assumes a more sophisticated allure with a larger ensemble backing Van. The lineup includes a full horn section, two drummers, two keyboards players, guitarist John Platania, bassist David Hayes, and Morrison on guitar and vocals.
The track focuses on life’s little pleasures. A trip to the fair and fishing with your friend. A cool drink of water from a clear mountain stream. A ride in the back of a pickup. Van said this about the song:
I suppose I was about twelve years old. We used to go to a place called Ballystockart to fish. We stopped in the village on the way up to this place and I went to this little stone house, and there was an old man there with dark weather-beaten skin, and we asked him if he had any water. He gave us some water which he said he’d got from the stream. We drank some and everything seemed to stop for me. Time stood still. For five minutes everything was really quiet and I was in this ‘other dimension’. That’s what the song is about.
The moody maestro lets loose with a wildly upbeat performance of this timeless classic. It has a strong, funky, reggae feel with the great little band in particular long-time Van band member Hayes on bass having the time of his life, offering a candid glimpse of one of rock’s most enigmatic and distinguished figures.