Personnel: Van Morrison (vocals, guitar); Ronnie Montrose (guitar); Doug Messenger (6-string guitar, 12-string guitar); Ron Elliott (6-string guitar); John McFee (steel guitar); Jules Broussard, Jack Schroer, Rolf Houston (saxophone); Pat O'Hara (trombone); Mark Naftalin (piano, organ, Moog synthesizer); Mark Jordan, Tom Salisbury (piano); Bernie Krause (Moog synthesizer); Leroy Vinnegar, Bill Church (bass instrument); Connie Kay, Gary Mallaber, Rick Schlosser, Lee Charlton (drums); Janet Planet, Mark Springer, Ellen Schroer (background vocals).
Recording information: Wally Heider Studio, San Francisco, California; Pacific High Studio, San Francisco, California; Columbia Studios, San Francisco, California.
One of Van Morrison's most enduring albums, ST. DOMINIC'S PREVIEW runs the gamut from irresistible MOONDANCE-esque pop-soul confections to ruminative, extended-improv workouts reminiscent of ASTRAL WEEKS. In fact, the album adequately represents the many sides of Morrison up to 1972. The sprightly R&B bounce of "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)" kicks the record off with a sense of exuberance that nearly matches "Brown Eyed Girl" in irresistibility and infectiousness, recalling the singer's earliest recordings.
Yet the exploratory, mystical side of the singer is also here. On the moving, emotive "Listen To the Lion," for example, Morrison takes his experimental scatting style to new heights, working himself into a frenzy and emitting guttural, animalistic growls. There is an elegiac feel to tunes like "Almost Independence Day" and the title track; both are big, sprawling ballads that combine bittersweet sentiments with sweeping cinematic arrangements. Only a shade less great than the albums that directly preceded it, ST. DOMINIC'S PREVIEW captures Morrison still flush in the period of his greatest artistic focus and productivity.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (8/31/72, p.38) - "...an impressive assemblage of musical ideas that can be enjoyed on many levels....dazzling variety....gets better as it goes along..."
Q - 4 Stars - Excellent
Uncut (1/04, p.130) - "[M]ore than 30 years on, it sounds more like a masterpiece than ever..."l
- Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)
- I Will Be There
- Listen To The Lion
- Saint Dominic's Preview
- Redwood Tree
- Almost Independence Day