Van Morrison’s 50 Greatest Songs Countdown – #15 Troubadours

And for everyman all across the land and from shore to shore
They came singin’ songs of love and chivalry from the days of yore

TOC

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

Facts


Wikipedia:

Troubadours can be found on the album Into the music.

Into the Music was recorded in early 1979 at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California, with Mick Glossop as engineer.

During the recording of the album, one of the musicians, trumpet player Mark Isham, referred Morrison to Pee Wee Ellis who lived nearby. Morrison brought him in to do the horn charts for “Troubadours”, but Ellis remained and worked on the entire album. The band also included Toni Marcus on strings, Robin Williamson on penny whistle, and Ry Cooder playing slide guitar on “Full Force Gale”.

According to Hymns to the Silence author Peter Mills, Into the Music was titled after Ritchie Yorke’s 1975 biography of the same name on Morrison, while the book had been titled in reference to his song “Into the Mystic”

“Troubadours” is an uplifting celebration of the singer-songwriter from ancient days, walking through towns “singin songs of love and chivalry”.

Musicians

  • Van Morrison – vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Herbie Armstrong – guitar, backing vocals
  • Pee Wee Ellis – tenor saxophone
  • David Hayes – bass guitar
  • Mark Isham – trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet
  • Mark Jordan – piano
  • Katie Kissoon – backing vocals
  • Toni Marcus – mandolin, violin, viola, stroviola
  • Robin Williamson – penny whistle
  • Kurt Wortman – 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
  • Photography and design: Norman Seeff

Live:

  • Known Performances: 55
  • First performance: August 16, 1979 in Frejus, FR
  • Last performance: May 8, 2009 in Los Angeles, US

Here is the Montreux June 18, 1980 version:

Quotes

“Three other songs on the first side all allude to Morrison’s spiritual journey.  ‘Stepping out Queen’, ‘Troubadours’ and ‘You Make Me Feel So Free’ are all superb positive anthems, full of joy the piano, flute, violin and brass, all adding texture and feel.  As always though it is Morrison’s vocal that pulls it all together, ensuring it makes sense.  He is famous for his phrasing and timing and even a casual listen of this album shows why.”
– The Sounds of Summer

“Troubadours” is a rather unique ballad with instrumentation that includes fanfare, flutes, and violin all over Jordan’s simple piano and the bass rhythms of David Hayes.
– ClassicRockReviews

“Troubadours is another love song, which has lyrics about the time when troubadours travelled around, singing their love songs to women. Here the arrangement has a lovely old fashioned sound and feel, with fiddles, penny whistle, trumpet, saxophone and drums combining beautifully. Van’s vocal and the arrangement are both atmospheric, made all the better by subtle backing vocalists. Throughout the track, Mark Isham’s trumpet and Pee Wee Ellis tenor saxophone interject beautifully, while Robin Williamson’s penny whistle adds authenticity to the track. Overall, it’s a lovely lush sounding track, featuring a much more understated, yet beautiful vocal from Van.”
– Dereksmusicblog.com

Lyrics

From the ancient sun to the old hearth stove sang the troubadours
From the city gates to the castle walls come the troubadours
On a sunlit day it was bright and clear
And the people came from far and they came from near
To hear the troubadours
Do do do do, do do do do, do do do

 

If the troubadours sang their songs of love to the lady fair
She was sitting outside on a balcony in the clear night air
It was a starry night and the moon was shining bright
And the trumpets rang and they gave a chime
For the troubadours
Do do do do, do do do

And for everyman all across the land and from shore to shore
They come singin’ songs of love and chivalry from the days of yore

Baby lift your window high, do you hear that sound
It’s the troubadours as they gonna go through town

With their freedom song, do do do do

Oh baby lift your window high, did you hear that sound
It’s the troubadours with their freedom song

Do do, do do, do do, do do, do, baby, baby

Baby lift your window high, turn your lamp down low
Oh baby don’t you know, I love you so

Do you heard that sound
Do you dig that sound
It’s the troubadours, coming through town

Live versions

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

Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, England, October 4th 1985:

 

Royal Albert Hall, London, England, 18 April 2009:

Cover Versions

Actually I couldn’t find any…

Sources

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