Van Morrison’s 50 Greatest Songs Countdown – #19 Full Force Gale

Like a full force gale
I was lifted up again
I was lifted up again by the Lord

TOC

  1. Facts
  2. Quotes
  3. Lyrics
  4. Live versions
  5. Cover versions

Facts


Wikipedia:

“Full Force Gale” was recorded in spring, 1979 at the Record Plant Studios, Sausalito, California for the album Into the Music. The song features a slide guitar solo by Ry Cooder.

In the lyrics Morrison describes the feeling of encounters with “the Lord”. Biographer Peter Mills said that “It is a physical effect – he is “lifted up again” as if by a natural force, the full-force gale being a simile for this: ‘Like a full force gale'”. Because of this Mills concluded that Into the Music has religious elements to it: “Into the Music is New Testament, dealing with forgiveness, love and kindness.”

When biographer Steve Turner asked the singer about the theme of rebirth that occurs quite often in his songs, Morrison answered, “I wrote a song called ‘Full Force Gale’ in which I said ‘No matter where I roam/I will find my way back home/I will always return to the Lord’. That answers it for me. No matter what I might say at the present, that’s my feeling about that.”

 

Musicians

  • Van Morrison: vocal, guitar
  • Herbie Armstrong: guitar
  • Ry Cooder: slide guitar
  • Pee Wee Ellis: tenor saxophone
  • David Hayes: bass
  • Mark Isham: trumpet
  • Mark Jordan: piano
  • Toni Marcus: violin
  • Katie Kissoon: backing vocals
  • Peter Van Hooke: drums

Production

  • Producer: Van Morrison
  • Assistant Producer: Mick Glossop
  • Recorded & Mixed by: Mick Glossop
  • Assistant Engineers: Alex Kash (recording), Leslie Ann Jones (mixing)
  • Horn Arrangements: Pee Wee Ellis, Mark Isham
  • Coordination: Richard Freeman, Ed Fletcher

Live:

  • Known Performances: 307
  • First performance: August 16, 1979 Frejus, FR
  • Last performance: November 29, 2016 Manchester, UK

10/6/1979 – Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ :

 

1982 – “Rockpalast.” Grugahalle. Essen, Germany:

Quotes

 “Essentially a brisk pop tune, Morrison sings it with great fervour and commitment, delivering simple couplets such as ‘In the gentle evening breeze/In the whispering shady trees/I will find my sanctuary in the Lord’ with immense skill. The arrangement is also magnificent, with the fiddle part a particular joy…Into the Music is one of Van Morrison’s finest albums, and ‘Full Force Gale’ is arguably its finest track.  “Full Force Gale” is one of the finest flat-out, good time pop songs that Van Morrison has ever wrote, and is a true testament to his new found faith.
– P.G. Ward (allmusic)

‘Full Force Gale’ has the cheerful punch of the best gospel singing, and sees Van ‘lifted up by the Lord’ … as with Wordsworth, the divine is perceived not through religious teachings but through nature … “
-Brian Hinton – Celtic Crossroads: The Art of Van Morrison (1997)

“The one that immediately grabbed my attention on the first few spins was Full Force Gale, one of the most overtly spiritual songs on the album. It is a great little ditty with strings and horns and, most importantly, an infectious melody supported by excellent vocals – both main and backing. It’s one of these songs that tend to stay in the brain and you find yourself unconsciously humming it. I can imagine Dexys Midnight Runners having more than a passing interest in the sound captured on this record. The song also benefits from a guest appearance, on the slide guitar, by Ry Cooder.”
– Mark Holmes – Van Morrison 20 Best Albums: A Guide 

Lyrics

Like a full force gale
I was lifted up again
I was lifted up again by the Lord

And no matter where I roam
I will find my way back home
I will always return to the Lord

In the gentle evening breeze
By the whispering shady trees
I will find my sanctuary in the Lord

I was headed for a fall
The I looked up and saw the writing on the wall

Like a full force gale
I was lifted up again
I was lifted up again by the Lord

I was headed for a fall
The I looked up and saw the writing on the wall

In the gentle evening breeze
By the whispering shady trees
I will find my sanctuary in the Lord

And no matter where I roam
I will find my way back home
I will always return to the Lord

Like a full force gale
I was lifted up again
I was lifted up again by the Lord

Live versions

Full Force Gale/Bright Side Of The Road [And If You Get It Right This Time, 1987]:

 

Belfast 1983:

 

Cover Versions

Elvis Costello and the Voice Squad – Full Force Gale:

Jimmy Gaudreau/Chesapeake:

Sources

  • Wikipedia
  • Mark Holmes – Van Morrison 20 Best Albums: A Guide
  • Brian Hinton – Celtic Crossroads: The Art of Van Morrison (1997)
  • ivan.vanomatic.de (wonderful website for VM statistics)

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