Irish Heartbeat might be my favorite Van Morrison album, but Moondance ranks a close second. It’s not on my iPhone so yesterday I decided I’d buy it…what the hell. Then I happened to watch about half of Howard HawksTo Have and Have Not last night, and I was reminded how much Hawks seemed to love music and musical sequences in his films, judging by the sheer number of them over the decades. (I’m thinking especially of Ball of Fire, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and that sappy sing-along jailhouse scene in Rio Bravo). And I began to wonder what the reaction would be if Morrison and his Moondance-era band were to time-travel back to Fort-de-France in Martinique in 1945 and play some of their tunes at one of the bars there, and if Hawks, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall happened to saunter in and listen. Albums don’t get much more mellow and soothing than Moondance, but it came out 25 years after To Have and Have Not and you never know. My guesses are that (a) Bogart, something of an upper-crust, old-school, wise guy know-it-all, would have scoffed at Morrison’s “wah-wah-wah-waaahah” singing style, but that (b) Hawks might have found a place in his head for it, and that (c) Bacall would’ve totally loved it. Especially “Caravan and “Into The Mystic.” If drunken Walter Brennan had stumbled in and listened he probably would have winced and shaken his head and stuumbled right back out again. I understand that Hoagy Carmichael could sometimes be a cranky, obnoxious shit so he probably wouldn’ve joined Brennan.