May 18, 2006

The Unheard Verses of Tupelo Honey

I'M LISTENING, right now, at 12:50 here in Seattle to an ourstanding version of "Tupelo Honey" sung by Van Morrison. I mean the seven minute cut, and I'm loving it.

That's one of the true pleasures of holding thousands of songs in your iTunes library. You forget what

you have on it and when a lot of songs come up they're made new again. That's true with this particular cut. Of course, in listening to it I wanted to read the lyrics. No problem in this age of miracles and wonders. Just google them up: Van Morrison | Tupelo Honey Lyrics. Whup, there it is.

Turns out there are some lost and unhead verses:

I'll tell a tale of old Manhattan
Adirondack bus to go
Standing waiting on my number
And my number's gonna show.


There's a rose pressed inside a bible
That she reads on the balcony
She's sweet in slumber and I've got her number
For the beginning of the century.

Good to know, but for tonight I'm sticking with:

You can't stop us on the road to freedom
You can't stop us cause our eyes can see
Men with insight, men in granite
Knights in armor intent on chivalry
She's as sweet as tupelo honey
She's an angel of the first degree
She's as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

Posted by Vanderleun at May 18, 2006 12:50 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Spell check: unhead--unheard?

Posted by: Doug at May 18, 2006 5:46 AM

Well, it sort of works that way, but I thank you and plead 1 AM.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at May 18, 2006 6:58 AM


Van Morrison is as unique a singer in the rock/soul genre as we've ever seen. He brings a certain soulfulness, sensitivity, and vulnerability to his music. I've seen him only once and that was way back in 1969 at Fillmore East, in the east Village, New York. In fact, he opened for the Allman Brothers, and surprisingly was given a hard time by the audience. I suppose it was more of a hard blues/rocker audience waiting for their heroes--the Allmans--and lacked the patience for the eccentric Irishman. Their loss. He was wonderful.

Posted by: Chester at May 18, 2006 8:03 AM

When push comes to shove, George Ivan Morrison might be the one musical artist I cannot do without. Among my treasures are a couple of, er, "unofficial releases" found on ebay, one a concert from 1987, at the peak of his explicitly spiritual period, another from 1990, when he moved into more of a "soul review" phase.

As the song goes, "he gives me religion." I know of no other contemporary artist who conveys the vertical in such a palpable way, especially when he stretches out and goes into one of his "trances" in concert.

If anyone cares, I would like his "In the Garden" to be played at my funeral... maybe the live version from "A Night in San Francisco".... that and maybe "Astral Weeks": "Ain't nothin' but a stranger in this world...."

Dusty Springfield also does a great version of Tupelo Honey...

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at May 18, 2006 9:56 AM

Here's a little piece of historical trivia for you, likely of no particular import to anyone but me: The first dance I had with my lovely young bride, almost 30 years ago, was to the strains of "Tupelo Honey." Thanks for the post.

Posted by: ShrinkWrapped at May 18, 2006 10:58 AM

"Tupelo Honey"? iTunes? I went looking for that song on there months ago and, after reading your post, looked again. No dice. I'm assuming you copied it over from a CD?

It irks me that there are gaping omissions of classic songs in several artists' collections like this on iTunes--not to mention absolutely no George Harrison, John Lennon, Beatles, etc. Grr!

Posted by: Dar at May 18, 2006 11:24 AM

FYI Beatles will soon be available. They're in the process of remastering the catalog right now.

But they will still sound better on audiophile vinyl...

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at May 18, 2006 11:49 AM

Copied from a CD? Er, ah, no. The magic word is "Acquisition."

Posted by: Vanderleun at May 18, 2006 3:03 PM

Gagdad Bob, I think Van is my desert island musical artist, too. His songs are so evocative for me, in a way that no other music is. I lived in Ireland for a while, and whenever I want to remember *exactly* how it felt to ride through the Irish countryside in the afternoon sun or read a newspaper on a little chair outside a pub door, I listen to "Coney Island." That song and "In the Garden" and "Raglan Road" and "Madame George"...can't imagine not knowing that music.

Posted by: ak at May 22, 2006 9:22 AM