The song I chose to review is “Crazy Face” by Van Morrison on the album “His Band and the Street Choir”. The tone color of this song is upbeat and jazzy, not so much inspirational, but laid back and pleasant. The tempo is based around an 8th note signature, mostly displayed by the Hi-hat in what I would classify as allegretto.
The instruments involved in this song are; a piano, a standard drum set most likely a five piece with a standard 2 toms maybe 3, bass drum, snare, ride symbol, and a two crash symbols, an acoustic guitar, a banjo, a ukulele, a mandolin, an electric base, an organ, a saxophone, and last of all Van Morrison’s drunken voice. The form of this song is extremely simple yet very interesting and not common among popular song structure, ABCAB. The first verse is introduced by a piano being played softly in a staccato fashion with the major notes filling in the interval on the upbeat.
After the piano plays through its first verse it is accompanied by a short drumroll only consisting of a few soft beats, yet very rapid witch introduces and acoustic guitar plating in harmony with the electric bass. On the drums the snare is playing whole notes on the rim shot, which makes for a subtle sound to save the full sound of the snare for the more lively bridge and chorus that follows, as the song has a build up or climaxing feel to it or crescendo as the dynamics become louder and more pronounced.
Van Morrison’s voice comes blaring in sounding slurred and Irish. After the first verse is sung, there is another drum roll that connects the chorus. The piano is now playing upon the intervals of the signature 8th notes on the hi-hat on the upbeat, in a reggae staccato fashion, so the beat on the hi-hat and the strikes on the piano keys alternate to make a 16nth note tempo. Every full note, I hear a banjo chord played in accordance with the piano still plating the 8th notes.
The acoustic guitar is playing its own solos based of the timing of the base guitar mostly improved with a jazzy tone. During the entire first chorus there is a mandolin playing very rapidly in 32nd notes alternating to every 1/8 note played on a D on varying octaves. The bridge is a 45 second saxophone solo. The rest of the instruments play the same verse over and over in harmony, with cymbals and stressed guitar chords on the accent between the verses.
All of this is played underneath the saxophone which is practically singing its own improved song, which varies from hitting high notes in the register to low arpeggios in the lower register. The saxophone plays call and response with itself, which leads the listener to believe there are two saxophones, when in reality one saxophone is dueling with itself.
During the bridge not only is the saxophone emphasized, but the organ plays the bass line on higher octaves on the same dynamics as the saxophone, so the bridge focuses on the polyphonic relationship between the sax and the organ. After the bridge a sporadic drum fill opens up for the first verse of the song (A) which is repeated just as the first time but more emphasized, especially the vocals. After the verse the chorus follows, almost identical sounding to the first chorus just with more emphasized vocals. The song then ends with an abrupt note, typical for jazzy songs.