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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Alan Watts Blues/Van Morrison



The title of this song, from Van Morrison's 1987 album Poetic Champions Compose, refers to Alan Watts, an author and student of theology and comparative religion, who helped popularize Buddhism and other Asian philosophies in the West. Watts wrote dozens of books and articles, and the song makes a specific reference to one of them in the repeated refrain I'm cloud hidden/Cloud hidden/Whereabouts unknown. The last book Watts published before his death in 1973 was Cloud-hidden, Whereabouts Unknown: A Mountain Journal, a collection of essays on a variety of topics, most dealing with aspects of Eastern philosophy. It sounds as if the song's narrator has taken inspiration from the book and is planning some extended meditation time (I'm makin' some plans for my getaway/There'll be blue skies shining up above) but for the moment has settled for a pause in the countryside (Well I'm waiting in the clearing with my motor on/Well it's time to get back to the town again). Morrison also makes use of a familiar phrase that originated with Robert Burns and was immortalized by John Steinbeck: I'm tired of the ways of mice and men.

Submitted by RJ

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