Van Morrison: 5 lovely live versions of “Caravan”

And the caravan is on it’s way
I can hear the merry gypsies play
Mama mama look at Emma Rose
She’s a-playin with the radio
La, la, la, la…

Originally recorded on July 30, 1969 at Mastertone Studios in New York City with Lewis Merenstein as producer. Released on “Moondance” January 27, 1970.

The gypsy life and the radio are both images of harmony, images that bless. Van is “getting back into the romanticism bit with gypsies and all that. I´m really fascinated by gypsies. I love them.” Van Morrison also based the song on real memories while living in a rural house in Woodstock, New York, where the nearest house was far down the road. He described why he included the reference to radio in the song:
-Brian Hinton (Celtic Crossroads)

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, rumours 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.

Fillmore West, San Francisco, California – April 26, 1970:

And the caravan has all my friends
It will stay with me until the end
Gypsy Robin, Sweet Emma Rose
Tell me everything I need to know
La, la, la…

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 to hold you tight so I can feel you
Sweet lady of the night I shall reveal you

The Rainbow, London, July 24, 1973:




Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, November 25, 1976:

Turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher radio
Turn it up, turn it up, so you know, radio
La, la, la, la…

And the caravan is painted red and white
That means ev’rybody’s staying overnight
Barefoot gypsy player round the campfire sing and play
And a woman tells us of her ways
La, la, la, la…

Coconut Ballroom, Santa Cruz, CA, USA, October 1, 1978:

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 to hold you tight so I can feel you
Sweet lady of the night I shall reveal you
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, hum
La, la, la, la…

The Point, Dublin 1989 (audio):


-Egil

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