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Showing posts from January, 2018

The Unknown Stuntman - (Lee Majors cover) 31/365

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"It's a death defying life I lead, I take my chances. I die for a living in the movies and tv" 
31/365 Good day. Continuing with theme songs from tv shows, here's "The Unknown Stuntman" from the Lee Majors vehicle, The Fall Guy. It was originally sung by the man himself. Some of the cultural references are very dated now so some may have no clue as to who Farrah, Bo, Cheryl, Burt etc are. Anyway, It's a really cool and I used to love to watch this show. As a kid I was a fan of that other iconic Lee Majors show, The Six Million Dollar Man. Enjoy!

PS: This song was actually a #1 hit for Majors in Germany.



The Ballad of Gilligan's Island 30/365

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"If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost..."

30/365 Good day! Today I bring to you a classic tv tune from a classic tv show. "The Ballad of Gilligan's Island" is a great tune, and interesting in its arrangement. For each verse the melody goes up half a step. Here I'm starting in Bm and going up all the way to Dm (4 key changes). Interesting. I've combined the opening credits tune with the end credits one.

"Gilligan's Island" was after school must watch tv for me growing up on that not so deserted island, Manhattan. 🤣 The theme song was co-written by show creator Sherwood Schwartz as he did for perhaps his most famous show, The Brady Bunch. Those two show theme songs have in common that they introduce the premise and characters.

Anyway, tomorrow another TV theme song. Thanks for listening.
more info in comments

30/365 "The Ballad of Gilligan's Island" (1964)

originally performed by folk group Th…

Good Ol Boys (Waylon Jennings cover) 29/365

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29/365 What's up! This week I'll be playing some of my favorite theme songs from shows I watched growing up and some recent ones. "Good Ol' Boys", by Waylon Jennings is from The Dukes of Hazzard which was on the air from 1979 to 1985. It was also a single with additional lyrics. Here I'm playing closer to the TV version. Enjoy! 29/365 "Good Ol' Boys" - Waylon Jennings (1979)


Here's the original Season 1 opening sequence


 Here's Tom Wopat and John Schneider singing it live

¿Que hace una chica como tu en un sitio como este? (Burning cover) 28/365

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28/365 Good morning all. Today I bring you this spanish classic. From the 1978 film of the same title "¿Que hace una chica como tu en un sitio como este?" is Madrid rock band Burning's greatest hit.  It's a song I've been playing for a long time now, and almost always include in my sets solo acoustic or with my buddies Cosco or Polo. Enjoy!

Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney & Wings cover ) 27/365

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 "When you were young and you're heart was an open book..."



27/365 Paul McCartney and Wings recorded the song "Live and Let Die" in 1973 for the James Bond film of the same name (The first with Roger Moore as 007). It's a great tune which was covered by GnR in 1991.

I learnt it yesterday in G but decided today to play it in A with a cut capo so I could use the open E and A to riff. My vocals, unfortunately had G in mind specially in the "you know you did" part 🤣. Plus I'm singing it an octave below the original. Still working on the arrangement and hope to include it in my set soon. Will probably take it up to D.

Thanks to Miguel Costermans for suggesting this tune and thanks for listening.
Tomorrow another song from another film.

27/365 Live and Let Die - Paul McCartney and Wings (1973)

Moon River (Henry Mancini/Audrey Hepburn cover)26/365

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"We're after the same rainbow's end..." 

26/365 If ever there was a song associated with a film, this must be it. "Moon River", an iconic song from an iconic film, Breakfast at Tiffany's, starring the iconic Audrey Hepburn, was composed by Henry Mancini with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. It is an at times simple, haunting, wistful, playful, enchanting and just all around beautiful melody with lyrics that capture its essence.
I played this live a few times in my regular Thursday night gig at the Angel Azul in Zaragoza years ago but in another key. Don't usually play tunes with some many chord voicings, the melody is challenging (for me). My voice tends to get pitchy and I really have to focus to hit the right note without letting it stray to different ones in the chords This song was first heard instrumental in the opening of the film Breakfast at Tiffany's and then there's the iconic scene in which Holly gollightly (Audrey Hepburn) sings it ac…

Leo Susana - Love Me Tender (Elvis Presley cover ) 25/365

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"I'll be yours through all the years, till the end of time"
25/365 Good morning all! Today I bring you this huge classic from the King of Rock n Roll, Elvis Presley. "Love Me Tender" is the theme song to the film of the same name which was Elvis's cinematic debut. Enjoy!

25/365 Elvis Presley - Love Me Tender (1956)

Your Song (Elton John cover) 24/365

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"a few of the verses, well, they've got me quite cross..."



24/365 Elton John's "Your Song" (Lyrics by Bernie Taupin) is heavily featured in the film Moulin Rouge!
where it is sung by Ewan McGregor. I consider this one of my all time favorite songs, practically wore out my Pops' copy of Elton John's Greatest Hits. I read somewhere that Taupin wrote it in like 15 minutes. Enjoy! Thanks for watching.

Is It Ok If I Call You Mine (Paul McCrane cover) 23/365

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23/365 Good morning all! Continuing with Movies Week, I bring you this tune from the 1980 film Fame.
It has many great songs on it like “Out Here On My Own”, “ I Sing the Body Electric”, “Dogs in the Yard” but I think this one is by far my favourite. “Is It Ok If I Call You Mine” was written and performed by Paul McCrane ( You may know him from ER), an acoustic ballad reminiscent of James Taylor perhaps. More details in the comments and on my blog www.leosusana.com

Thanks for listening.

23/365 Paul McCrane - Is It Ok If I Call You Mine

I Got A Name (Jim Croce cover ) 22/365

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“and I carry it with me and I sing it loud
If it gets me nowhere I’ll go there proud”

22/365 Good day! Welcome to Movies Week. All the songs I’ll be recording this week are either theme songs or have appeared in films. I start with the beautiful gem of a song recorded by the late Jim Croce “I Got A Name”. It was written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox and is the theme song for the 1973 Jeff Bridges film, The Last American Hero. It also shines in a scene in Tarantino's Django Unchained. More info in the comments section and/or my blog leosusana.com

Thanks for listening.

22/365 I Got a Name - Jim Croce (1973)

Leo Susana - J.L.S. (21/365)

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When I wrote this song I wanted to pay tribute to AC/DC, one of my biggest influences. It's blues based in Bm. The first recording of it appeared on a live album from 1998, Patra 3 Ruinas de San Francisco. The studio version came out in 2000 on the album Serpiente en el Huerto.

I recorded with the LP straight to a little Peavey amp, the ValveKing Royal 8.. The sound's ok for rhythm but I found it needs a little bit extra that I just didn't get at the volume I had it on for the lead. Vocals a bit low, did a couple of takes and just couldn't quite get the balance right. But I liked how this turned out more or less. Enjoy!

21/365 JLS ( 2000 - Serpiente en el Huerto)

Lili (instrumental) (20/365)

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20/365 Good day! Today I bring you an instrumental I wrote when I first came to Europe, to Paris in '88. I titled it "Lili" in 1989. I've played it live on and off over the years, mostly when I don't feel like singing for a while.

Today I recorded with a different mic, an MXL 991 condenser. This guitar's action is a bit high so I was struggling holding down the simple F and C chords. I also think I've been recording all wrong with the Mackie cause today I muted the channel and just had the firewire send, and the volume came out really low. I "mastered" the audio in Logic X. Gonna have to look into that. Thanks for listening.

20/365 Lili - Leo Susana

Leo Susana - Perro Muerto en la calle (19/365)

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19/365 "Perro Muerto en la Calle" is a tune I wrote in the mid 90's and have been playing live with most of my bands ever since but have never actually put on an album. When I first heard “Reina Mia” by Juan Luis Guerra I really loved the guitar style. On the albums that followed (Bachata Rosa, Areito and Fogarate) it was inspirational, although on some songs it seemed to be buried in the mix.
Anyway, these albums got me learning new stuff and exploring African guitar. I was especially intrigued by Diblo Dibala, the guitar player who played on some of the tracks and whose “Kimia Eve” Juan Luis turned into one of his biggest hits, El Costo de la Vida. I bought one of Diblo’s albums and tried to decipher what the heck he was doing. I din’t get close, but that led to the type of playing I do on this tracks, arpeggiating triads over the fingerboard rhythmically.

The song title literally means “Dead Dog on the Street” and I actually wrote part of it while driving eastw…

Machine Gun Camera (18/365)

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"Don't stop the motion, it's my machine gun camera" 
 18/365 - Good Morning. "Machine Gun Camera" is a song I released digitally in Jan 2017. I wrote it and recorded it (for the most part) in Fiscal, a town up in the pyrenees where I spent a few months in fall/winter 2014/15 composing and writing.

Thanks for listening. Tune in tomorrow for another song.

here's the original recording

Yo Tambien soy un corrupto (17/365)

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17/365 "Yo tambien soy un corrupto" is a song I wrote around 2009 as part of a song cycle about corruption in general and in politics. After a couple of trips to the DR I was disappointed that a lot of things never seemed to change or changed for the worse. But this song in particular is more about personal responsibility in allowing corruption to thrive and how maybe as individuals we contribute with our own little acts of corruption.

 I still remember how disgusted I felt with myself the first time I bribed a traffic cop in Santo Domingo (not exactly a bribe if you're shaken down for it). But eventually it became so automatic, to avoid hassles etc, that I became aware that I'd lost something along the way... anyway, that's part of what this song is about. Guitar through Boss Eq GE-7, Chorus CE-5 and Flanger BF-3 straight to the Mackie Onyx 820i and Vox through SM7b. Reverb from Boss RV-2 stompbox. Thanks for watching/listening.

 17/365 Yo tambien soy un corru…

En la soledad (16/365)

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16/365 Howdy all, today It's electric! I'm playing "En la Soledad" a tune on my Serpiente en el Huerto album. Wrote it in 1998 and have been performing it live solo acoustic and in a band setting since. Tried it out a few times, this is actually the 3rd take (forgot to press phantom power on 2nd take on condenser so no vocals, just some guy making faces)

 I'm using a Les Paul through a Cry Baby Wah, Boss DynaDrive, Chorus and DD7 delay to Peavey ValveKing Royal 8 amp mic'ed up with the Shure SM7b. Vox is through the MXL 990 Condenser. Couldn't use any reverb on this one cause I need another adaptor. (I use the one on the pedal board and when using both sit real close to the Mackie.) Anyway, thanks for tuning in. Even though I'm a bit rusty on the electric, went a bit overboard improvising.
See you tomorrow.



Leo Susana - You Know I Lost My Woman (Blues in Eb) 15/365

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15/365 "You Know I Lost My Woman" is a blues tune I wrote about 9 or 10 years ago after sitting down to learn some Buddy Guy licks and riffs. I usually open my acoustic concerts with it. Enjoy!




Hace Tiempo (Coque Malla cover) 14/365

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14/365 Good day! Today I bring you "Hace Tiempo" a beautiful ranchera by Spanish singer/songwriter Coque Malla which first appeared as sort of a Country Waltz on his album 2009 La Hora de los Gigantes. I started playing it 3 or 4 years ago after watching Mujeres de Coque Malla where he does duets on 10 of his songs with different women. Wound up learning 2 more tunes from that set "Berlin", "Dejate Llevar" and I've been playing his biggest hit "No puedo vivir sin ti" for a while now. I usually play "Hace Tiempo" in A but decided to try it in B for this video and I kinda liked the result although listening closely I can hear that my voice wanted to go back to the other key. It felt fresh to try it in another key as I recorded.
Thanks for watching/listening.

14/365 Coque Malla - Hace Tiempo ( 2009 - La hora de los gigantes)

Here's the duet with Vilma




Perla Negra (Yordano cover) 13/365

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13/365 Good day! Today I bring you “Perla Negra” a song originally written and performed by Italian-Venezuelan singer/songwriter Yordano on his 1986 album Jugando Conmigo. ( This song was also popularised by merengue artist Sergio Vargas). It’s a melancholic tale about the oldest profession with lines like “The bed still warm, who knows how many there are” “I know there were no flowers or goodbye kisses, just a black pearl that slid down her cheek and ended up on the pillow”.

For today’s recording I raised the mic and inverted it, and played standing. I’m also using a metal thumb pick. Thanks for listening and watching. Tune in tomorrow for more music.

 13/365 Yordano - Perla Negra


Here's the original.




Sergio Vargas merengue version on Dominican tv.

La quiero a morir (Francis Cabrel cover ) 12/365

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12/365 Good morning all! Today I've recorded "La quiero a morir", a beautiful song by French singer Francis Cabrel. Originally released in French in 1979, "Je l'aime Ă  mourir" was a big hit for him. He then released a Spanish version which I first heard as a merengue by Dominican singer Sergio Vargas in the mid 80's. I started to play it a few years ago usually in different keys depending on how my voice feels. Today I'm playing it in E although my first take was in D. The lows felt kind of weird so decided to push it a little. Once again I've recorded with just one mic, the MXL 990 and the Ibanez acoustic. Thanks for watching/listening. Tune in tomorrow for more music.

 12/365 Francis Cabrel - La quiero a morir

 Here's Sergio Vargas performing the song live on Tv merengue style.


Here's Francis Cabrel in Spanish

and the original in French

Con la guardia abajo (Arcángel cover ) 11/365

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11/365 Good morning! Today I bring you "Con la guardia abajo", a tune from Dominican rock band, Arcangel from 89/90 around there. They were contemporaneous with Toque Profundo while I was in that band. I've adapted the tune for my voice raising it to C minor but singing it an octave lower.
It's a beautiful, melancholic song about someone sitting in a bar and feeling like they have no control over their destiny and that in part they've let the better part of their fade.
The song I believe was written solely by my friend JosĂ© Alejandro Bordas, a very talented songwriter and producer in Santo Domingo. Today I tried recording with just one mic, the MXL. (Tomorrow I'll do the same but with a different placement). I'm playing a Spanish guitar, an Admira Flamenco model, basically an inexpensive guitar for students. I bought it about 9 or 10 yrs ago when I took a few flamenco classes. (Hope to get back to that one day soon).

Thanks for listening/watching. Tune i…

FrĂ­o ( Manolo Tena cover) 10/365

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"FrĂ­o" is a song written by the late Manolo Tena for his band Alarma's 1985 album En El Lado Oscuro. I learnt it after watching Nacho Garcia Vega of Nacha Pop fame singing it on a tv program.





Here's the original.




Tune  in tomorrow for another tune. Thanks for listening!

10/365 - FrĂ­o - Manolo Tena ( En el lado oscuro - 1985)

Asi estoy yo sin ti (Joaquin Sabina cover ) 9/365

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"Asi estoy yo sin ti" was my introduction to Joaquin Sabina. I first heard it in 1988 in Santo Domingo on a radio station that for a while specialized in playing pop music from Spain from the so called Movida Madrileña, a movement of sorts.  Not everything was that of course and Sabina lived it but wasn't exactly a part of it. It was an artistic movement ushered in by the new freedoms Spanish society enjoyed when democracy finally took hold in the early 80's.

The song goes into metaphors about everything from a taxi in the desert, to a poet at the airport (this line always reminds me of an encounter I had with a Hare Krshna at Miami International in the early 90's, hitting me up for me. I was going to give him some when he said "be generous" which annoyed me, so I gave him nothing.)

The song is probably my favorite by Joaquin Sabina who some consider Spain's Bob Dylan, something he even sings about on his latest release Lo Niego Todo.
I play other …

Lucha de Gigantes (Antonio Vega/ Nacha Pop cover) 8/365

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This week I'll be recording songs in Spanish for my 365 Songs series.This beautiful song was written by the late Antonio Vega while he was still in the band he formed with his cousin Nacho Garcia Vega, Nacha Pop.  I first remember hearing it, though, by a group named Fiebre on the Amores Perros soundtrack. Their cover was very dynamic, percussive, fitting for the movie. I better understood this song after watching a documentary on Vega’s life based on recorded interviews where he spoke about his love of the stars, space, camping out.Unfortunately, he was also a heavy drug user, had problems with heroin and other substances.

Antonio Vega is responsible for one of the most famous songs in Spanish pop, "La Chica de Ayer" which was Nacha Pop's first hit way back in 1980. He also wrote songs like "Se dejaba llevar" which was also popularized by Spanish flamenco fusion greats Ketama on their 1995 live album De Aki a Ketama with Antonio as guest vocalist. Other gr…

Every Rose has its Thorn (Poison cover ) 7/365

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Poison's "Every Rose has its Thorn" is one of the first songs I started playing and singing at the same time, maybe late 88 when it came out or early 89 while living in Santo Domingo. It was technically a simple song to play since it was basically 4 chords. I've always like the song and Brett Michaels' vocals. The solo is really cool too.

Its one of those songs that I always used to play when hanging out with friends having a few drinks and exchanging song on guitar, at the beach etc. When I began playing live acoustic sets it was always one of the songs I played. Nowadays I rarely include it but just because I sometimes forget to include it on the setlist.  

For today's video I tried using 2 mics, the Shure SM7b and an MXL cardiod (uses phantom power) but had some trouble with the sync between audio and video. Recored different takes of the tune. This one bothered me less, I guess. Don't know if Photo Booth just can't handle audio coming from a mix boa…

Learning to Fly (Pink Floyd cover) 6/365

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6/365  When Roger Waters left Pink Floyd David Gilmour took charge but in a sense he was "learning to fly".  This song deals with that  sudden leadership and decision making he had to face but also with his love of flying. You can read across the web how he and Nick Mason were both afraid to fly and so they actually learned to fly planes and began collecting them.

This songs means a lot to me personally. I first saw Pink Floyd live in NYC in 1987 when they were touring for the post-Roger Waters album A Momentary Lapse of Reason (love the album cover btw). I didn't know it then but I would wind up seeing them live again the next summer in Lille, France.
I was already a somewhat fan of Pink Floyd but basically just of The Wall, an album which had been lent to me by my next door neighbor Carlos in NYC when I was a kid. I remember him asking me if the album had scared me, and me telling him that Side 4 kinda freaked me out.

Cut to 1988 in Paris. I meet this kid Emil Vega wh…

Don't Think Twice It's Alright (Bob Dylan cover ) 5/365

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5/365 I've been obsessed with this Bob Dylan tune for a while now. So much so that I recorded it, albeit in a slower version strumming not Travis style picking it for my album The Opposite of Now. Here I'm playing it more in the vein of the original. Guitar is tuned down half a step and capoed at the 4th fret which would make it Eb. Voice through a Shure Sm7b, Guitar through a Boss CE-5, both to the Onyx 820i with a touch of reverb from Boss RV-2 stompbox.

This is how I recorded it for my album
Bob Dylan - Don't Think Twice It's Alright (originally appeared in 1963 on The Frewheelin' Bob Dylan album and also as the B - Side to the "Blowin' in the Wind" single.) Here's Bob playin' it way different from how he recorded it.

Perfect Day (Lou Reed cover ) 4/365

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Perfect Day is a wonderful song which depending on who's listening can mean different things. I read somewhere that Reed wrote it about being on heroin and of course it's associated with the film Trainspotting. But it could just as well be a beautiful love song even though that outro "You're gonna reap just what you sow" sounds pretty menacing.
For today's I recording I tried using a mic and plugging in the guitar to get a better balance between voice and guitar. Not sure it worked but I'll be experimenting with different setups over the next few days. Thanks for listening/watching.

4/365 Perfect Day - Lou Reed (originally appeared on Transformer in 1972 and was the B-side to the "Walk on the Wild Side single)

Wasted Years (Iron Maiden acoustic cover) 3/365

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3/365 Wasted Years is a favorite of mine not so much because of the music, I prefer other Maiden tunes especially from the first 5 albums, but because the lyrics are a reminder to make it count, a sort of carpe diem, forget the past and live for today. The song in bare form works. Its verse/chorus construction consists of verses in the minor key (Em) and chorus moving to its relative major (G). Still have to find a way to incorporate the intro lick on solo guitar with some sort of bass. I usually play this acoustic version in a duo.
I was heavily into Iron Maiden as a kid and Piece of Mind, their 4th album was one of my first. I'd heard songs from their first 3 albums and had The Number of the Beast on a tape a friend made for me but Piece of Mind and Powerslave I actually owned. Eventually I would rebuy those first 5 albums on cd.
Wasted Years is on their 6th full length album, Somewhere in Time, an album I never really got into although I heard it when it came out and a few t…

Be Here to Love Me (Townes Van Zandt cover) 2/365

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Beautiful tune by the late Townes Van Zandt. I didn't really know about him until I read an article/interview about the Kings of Leon in the Novembrer 2010 UNCUT magazine and they mentioned their love for him. There was a little box with the main tunes they listened to. So I went on an adventure discovering songs by Townes. The first songs that got to me were "Waiting 'round to Die" and "Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel". I think I tried to learn these, looked them over to see their structure, chord changes etc. I wound up learning "Be Here to Love" and "Pancho and Lefty"(which I'll highlight in a future post). >"Be Here To Love Me" has this great imagery. What I don't really remember is if I read something else that made me focus on this song. Maybe an interview with Norah Jones, since she recorded the song for her second album, Feels Like Home.(here's a link Norah Jones - Be Here to Love Me on youtube) But I'…

Have I Told You Lately (Van Morrison cover) 1/365

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Happy New Year everyone. On January 1st I started a series of videos that I hope I'll go through with. The idea is to record and upload a song everyday and post something about it. I'm starting with covers but I'll do some original material also. Aside from the challenge part of it, I want to document all the songs I've learnt over the years. I've forgotten many but every once in a while I brush up on them or just remember the changes and lyrics out of the blue. Most of the times It's because I look it up again on the web, a book or an old demo I made of it.



Anyway, Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately" is a song that I think I first heard Rod Stewart do on his MTV UnPlugged and subsequent video/single. I first heard the original on the compilation cd The Best of Van Morrison which was my introduction to him as an artist really. I'd heard "Gloria" and "Brown-eyed Girl" but wasn't really aware of him. This was in the …