I wished I had you in Carrickfergus
Only for nights in Ballygrand
I would swim over the deepest ocean
The deepest ocean to be by your side
“Carrickfergus” is an Irish folk song, named after the town of Carrickfergus in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It was first recorded, under the name “The Kerry Boatman”, by Dominic Behan on an LP called “The Irish Rover”, released in 1965.
Van Morrison has performed “Carrickfergus” 86 times live (1988, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2002 & 2003) – top year was 1989 with 31 performances.
I love this song, and no one does it better than Van Morrison. Here are three brilliant versions.
From the album “Irish Heartbeat” w/The Chieftains:
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)
Send me your picture
Send me your pillow
Send it through Krishna
On the Vanlose Stairway
..A larger point to be made with “Vanlose Stairway” is that no matter what words Morrison is singing, it is the music and singing itself that offers a glimpse at the soul — the true inspiration of the term soul music. And Morrison is nothing if not a soul singer. The lyrics just happen to add to the soul-stirring music. It does not matter that most people have no idea what Vanlose refers to, especially given that Morrison does not pronounce it correctly. But the descending three chords of the verse — played by a horn section and turnaround uplifting chorus — hit the listener on a gut level, especially on the powerful live recording of the song on A Night in San Francisco (1994), which truly transcends anything mere words could communicate.
-Bill Janovitz (allmusic.com)
Vanlose Stairway is track 7 on his 1982 album, Beautiful Vision. It has been performed 729 times live (289 times as part of a medley) according to ivan.vanomatic.de (great website btw).
On a gold autumn day
You came my way in Orangefield
Saw you standing by the riverside in Orangefield
How I love you then in Orangefield
Like I love you now in Orangefield
This great song from the album Avalon Sunset (1989) was first performed live May 18, 1989 (Swansea, Wales), and last time VM played it in concert was August 24, 2014 (Orangefield High School,
Belfast). It has been performed 92 times live, mostly in 1989 & 1990.
Here are 4 great versions…
Stadtpark Freilichtbühne, Hamburg, Germany
June 4, 1989
Morrison started rehearsing “Summertime in England” in November and December 1979 along with “Haunts of Ancient Peace” at club gigs in the San Francisco area.
The album (Common One) version was recorded at Super Bear Studios in the French Alps in February 1980 and according to Mick Cox the second take was the one used on the album. The spoken section is in 3/4 time that begins with John Allair’s church organ fugue.
“Common One” was released in August 1980.
A live performance of “Summertime in England” as performed by Morrison with most of the Common One band members is featured on the 2006 released DVD, Live At Montreux 1980/1974.
A live version was recorded during concerts at the Grand Opera House in Belfast and released as the B-side of a 12 inch single released in February 1983 on the Mercury label.