Oct 01

VAN MORRISON – Like A Jelly Roll

I Hate Music32 comments • 10,432 views

VAN MORRISON – Like A Jelly Roll

Van The Man. What kind of nickname is that? Its as if he was so dull that the couldn’t think of any distinguishing factors of his personality to hang a sobriquet on. Truth is of course that a lot of people have been brought up with the ridiculous notion that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Suddenly the name Van The Man makes sense. Well, I have no such compunction.

Van Morrsion is a fat, curmudgeonly old Irish git – whose success lies squarely at the feet of Irish isolationism and racism. His version of red-eyed soul was the nearest the Republic got to Motown, which is to say that it was significantly distanced by an ocean in between. Adding more Celtic lyrical touches ended up with the boglands version of Joe Cocker wibbling pointlessly about shaking his tush in the moonlight, before losing it all completely on Astral Weeks. What is it about Irish popsters that compells them to write songs about dancing under the light of the moon? Surely a lack of light would be the only thing that would make the corpulent Morrison and the stick thin (and rotting significantly) Lynott look good.

Back to the Moondance album though, when Van was supposedly at the height of his powers – before he started doing Christian rhymes with Cliff Richard. It kicks off with “And It Stoned Me”, a song whose drug pretentions are so hidden that even a nun could work them out. But how – you ask – did this mythical substance stone Morrison? Well, it stoned him – and I quote – “Just like a jelly roll”. Suddenly it all makes sense why Van is so damn fat. A roll. Full of jelly. Lawks a lordy, I bet it isn’t a fruit set jelly either – more the scrapings off of the side of a tin of corned beef.

Of course Van, being the God botherer he is, could mean stoned in the biblical sense. The jelly roll line still makes no sense, but the fact that he was getting stoned by people who had bought his other records – and not for the first time. And its happy thoughts like that which will stop me from completely crucifying Morrison in the way he deserves.


  1. 1
    Dan McAllistair on 19 Jul 2006 #

    Van Morrison’s nickname is the “Belfast Cowboy” moron. Do some research before you slam the classics.

  2. 2
    Jon A. on 21 Aug 2006 #

    Gotta love the Internet – where else can you respond to a 5 year old post about an aging Irish rock star?

  3. 3
    Duncan Rich on 27 Nov 2006 #

    Yeah, you do gotta love it. You also gotta love how some no name no knowledge fool can post their ill informed rants on any given subject at any given time (seriously, you do gotta love it). For this one, lemme explain it:

    1. Jelly Roll Morton was the pianist (a white one, at that) who basically invented jazz. He was a huge influence on Van Morrison.

    2. “A Jelly Roll” is Irish slang for a blowjob.

    3. There’s a really powerful whiskey called Jelly Roll, which happens to be made in belfast.

    The last one seems the most likely to me, but you could see how any one of these could “stone” you (bowl you over, shock you, throw you into a stupor/ecstasy, etc, for those who have no command of the english language).

    Van is not particularly fat. Howard Taft was fat. Henry VIII was fat. Big Bill Broonzy was fat. Van Morrison is not.

    And lastly, if you are really such a brute that you can’t FEEL these songs, and such a moron that you can’t even RECOGNIZE how great they are, then I guess I just have pity for you.

  4. 4
    eddy boyd on 5 Jan 2007 #

    what can one say about van morrison except:

    (he was at) the right place at the right time.

    in fairness tho, he does have a few catchy tunes (but nothing that could possibly explain his popularity)

    one of which caught my ear some time ago was “and it stoned me”. when i looked up the lyrics i found they were sloppily written and ambiguous. but not even in an interesting way.

    however, i’m surprised the bloggers are confused about the term “jelly roll”. (van m. has used it in at least 3 different songs). in a nutshell it’s a sexual reference common among black americans 50 to 100 yrs ago. (it has nothing to do with irish whiskey!)

    for further information on the phrase “jelly roll” go to:


  5. 5
    Barrington on 30 Nov 2007 #

    I just can’t believe there’s someone tragic enough to regularly waste their life away writing about things that they really, really dislike. And with such ignorant vitriol!? do you want to talk about it?

  6. 6
    elizabethw on 30 Nov 2007 #

    Actually, it’s quite well-informed vitriol.

  7. 7
    Steve on 13 May 2008 #


    Jellyroll, as he used it in the song, is a metaphor for the female genitalia.

    Isn’t that obvious?

    Next time you are with your woman, take a closer look :)

  8. 8
    Brian on 12 Sep 2008 #

    I appreciate the author’s use of the fancy terms, such as “sobriquet” and “corpulent;” but fail to recognize how any of the vitriol could be considered “well-informed.” My suggestion: spend less time with the thesaurus and more time with the dictionary to correct some of those spelling errors.

  9. 9
    David on 12 Dec 2008 #

    I know I shouldnt really respond to a post from someone who doesnt even know what COUNTRY Van Morrison is from (Irish? The Republic?) or the chronology of his albums, but I felt I had to.

    I know you were probably being flippant, but to focus on your mis-interpretation of ONE song from a cannon of hundreds is just ridiculous. Not as ridiculous, however, as your accusation that Van (the Man) is racist a mere sentence before calling his home country a ‘bogland’.

    and FT, try listening to the music. Leave the lyrical poring to Dylan fans, cos god knows they dont have much else to cheer

  10. 10
    Shannon on 20 Aug 2009 #

    WOW! who wrote this? Jelly Roll is a slang term for the female genitalia…

  11. 11
    Music LOVER on 20 Aug 2009 #

    Who hates music?? are you crazy??

  12. 12
    Jessica on 21 Dec 2009 #

    Van Morrison is a fucking legend. And I am a 16 year old Australian girl.
    Who gives a flying fuck if his lyrics dont make sense to you, if you don’t like his country, or if you think he is fat, his music is still great. And if you haven’t noticed, which obviously you haven’t, he is/ was from a different era. His music strange lyrics or not, is ten times better than this shit everyone listens to in the 21st century. At least he doesn’t sing about how many girls he can fuck in a week, like all those no talent rappers do.
    The man has a voice, and a bloody good one at that, it seriously does not take much, if any, talent these days to be called a singer.

    And if whoever wrote this I suspect is an American, and I have nothing against America -I even intend to move there someday- but where the fuck do you get off calling him fat, the majority of your country is overweight. And you probably are too, sitting there at your computer screen, with no life, eating your greasy chips, and hating on a music legend. Just because you are talentless and have nothing better to do, does not give you any right to insult someone else, especially Van Morrison.

  13. 13
    Ian on 13 Jan 2010 #

    Jelly Roll Morton was NOT white; he was a creole man from new Orleans and died (eventually and partly) due to being refused hospital treatment at a whites only hospital.
    other than that – quite interesting

  14. 14
    Ouida Gabriel on 13 Jul 2010 #

    Well I was going to respond to the ignorant original post but others did a great job. If you don’t like Van, or music, why waste your life writing about it? Too bad about you not liking Van though. I listen to him pretty much everyday. Stones my soul like a jelly roll ;-)

    Ouida Gabriel

  15. 15
    Ned on 2 Aug 2010 #

    I love this string of postings. I heard the song And It Stoned Me on an album by Marley’s Ghost, one of my favorite west coast U.S. bands. I thought, I’ve heard that before. Looked it up an there you go it was by one of my all time favs, Van Morrison. I’m a Child of the 60’s and married a Brown Eyed Girl so I’m well aquainted with his songs. Don’t really care about what the hell a jelly roll is but too bad someone can’t appreciate his soulful singing.

  16. 16
    Luke Powers on 5 Jan 2011 #

    Ah, the eternal problem. Van Morrison and jelly roll. “Jelly Roll” is African-American blues slang for female genitalia. Charlie Patton and Jelly Roll Morton (among others) seem to use it in this way (I guess Mr. Morton was bragging his prowess at attaining “Jelly Roll”). But Van uses it oddly. His seemingly masculine persona complains, “I give you my jelly roll,” in “He Ain’t Give You None” (1967) and similarly in “And It Stoned Me.” Does me mean masculine genitalia by “jelly roll”? Sex in general? A mystic connection with the universe as symbolized by the history of jazz music? It’s hard to tell, it’s hard to tell.

  17. 17
    Adele on 2 Feb 2011 #

    Ummmmm Jelly Roll is the nick name of an african american blues musician back in the day…it stoned him like Jelly roll…another words it amazed him…and also refers to genitalia…sex…wow…and if you dont like his music then just say it…but damn before you go saying stuff in public and not want to be criticized by the public then do your freakin research!!!

  18. 18
    Edward on 16 May 2011 #

    Jelly Roll Morton named himself after a move he refined (if that’s the right word) in the bordellos of New Orleans. It’s a hip move, you can do it while striding a piano stool. Use your imagination, the place, the ragtime music, the likely audience. Stoned like a jelly roll. Anybody here ever felt that good? I gave you my jelly roll. Anybody ever put a move like that on? Maybe you should stop quibbling and put on some music and go try putting on your jelly roll. Your nearest might it even like it.

  19. 19
    Kazooboy on 17 Dec 2011 #

    Van Morrison is brilliant. His albums, some 34 studio albums have stood the test of time. Also, have you listened to his live stuff? Songs are changed dramatically and when Van is on-song there is no one to beat him. Why not listen to Van Morrison radio online and just get a glimpse of the range of his music. The 500 songs he has written and recorded become more like 3000 when you hear the live albums.

  20. 20
    Rose on 6 Feb 2012 #

    I feel sorry for the creator of this site that she hates music…maybe that is just a gimmick or…whatever…I don’t see how one could have a soul when they hate music. Music is in nature but then I would think you cannot hear it and I am sorry for you!

  21. 21
    Robert V on 2 May 2012 #

    This piece is garbage, but some of the comments were excellent. Cheers everyone, even the author for sparking a fire in some of the readers. I wonder if the author still feels this way?

  22. 22
    Jim Morrison on 28 Mar 2013 #

    Well though I like the spirit of this blog post, there are far too many factual errors and ignorance of history to actually like it. Btw Jelly Roll Morton was not white but mixed race, he didn’t invent jazz though he claimed too and Jelly Roll is slang for pussy. As for Van Morrison, I dislike him for his voice which is grating, unexpressive (unless yelling is expression), near tuneless and unpleasant. The man can’t hold a note for longer than three seconds and has a one octave range. Keeping your eyes closed when you sing does not mean you have soul. Perhaps people mistake soul for being an unsmiling and unpleasant prick to both his fans and band mates? Van Morrison has all the charm of a irritable puffer fish inflating himself in order to seem impressive. But puffer fish are more useful, at least one can eat them (if you’re careful). And though friends of mine have tried to convince me of Van’s worth, he’ never been less than irritating or more than mediocre to me.

  23. 23
    Georgio on 5 Aug 2014 #

    VM’s voice is an instrument that is unique . . . He has always played it like one . . . When accompanied by slick and accomplished musicians, the results are as brilliant as they are timeless . . . If the originator of this diatribe would care to stand up on stage and be counted, we could all judge for ourselves what he/she/it is made of . . . So come on then knocker, let us all see what you can ( or can’t do ) . . . No doubt the silence will be deafening . . . Nothing like DOING something for a living AND paying a few taxes along the way . . . Just to keep the cart on the wheels you understand . . .

  24. 24
    Steven on 7 Nov 2014 #

    Wagner, Louis Ferdinand Celine, Ezra Pound, Lovecraft and so many more were outright racists but produced brilliant work . Artists are above petty-bourgeois notions of “racism” and “sexism” and all that hysterical PC-nonsense.

  25. 26
    EJ Anderson on 7 Aug 2016 #

    How the F did I get here? Ha ha . Why the F am I commenting on this site? So after some research, it is asserted that Tanya truly hates music, but loves film – – and alcohol. I would love to know which films she loves, because almost every film I’ve ever watched has music in it to some degree, which I would think would grate on the nerves of someone truly at odds with music. Many of Jean-Pierre Melville’s films seem to not have any type of musical score, but often feature “needle drop,” albeit of the generic sort, so I can’t imagine much satisfaction derived from watching films like his, or hell any film. (Edited note: Dreyer’s “The Passion of Joan of Arc” has no sound in it whatsoever. So I guess there is that. ) She probably hates Martin Scorsese’s work, but if not, I think it best to inform her that the first 15 minutes of Taxi Driver was said to be inspired by Van the Man’s aforementioned Astral Weeks. As for the comment regarding racism and sexism, if we were to remove ourselves from the work of everyone with foibles the enlightened have deemed unacceptable, we’d be lucky to be residing in grass huts, and the point would be moot. The point in all of this is not to chide dear Tanya, but to pose the question as to why someone would spend their precious time deriding music, and not watching and commenting on their true passions. Unless of course Tanya’s one true passion is deriding music. I am also into film Tanya. If you happen to read this comment, and are not too sore at me, fill me on what films tickle your fancy?

  26. 27
    irish_loser on 13 Oct 2016 #

    “Van The Man. What kind of nickname is that? Its as if he was so dull that the couldn’t think of any distinguishing factors of his personality to hang a sobriquet on.”

    -the name was given to him by Robbie Robertson of “The Band” during the filming of “The Last Waltz” by Martin Scorsese in 1979. His name is George Ivan Morrison – so I suppose his nickname could be considered to be “Van” if you will, which is actually rather unusual in post-war Belfast.

    “Van Morrison is a fat, curmudgeonly old Irish git”

    Van isn’t a people person by his own admission, is uncomfortable with fame and unwanted media attention and states that he deals with the media on his own terms. Call it curmudgeonly if you will, but that’s his prerogative as a person.

    “– whose success lies squarely at the feet of Irish isolationism and racism.”

    Van is from Northern Ireland, is not a “nationalist” in any strict sense, and his music is one of the best examples of a fusion of blues, soul, jazz, rock, and his childhood roots in Belfast. How anyone could consider it (i) isolationist or indeed (ii) racist(?!!) – is beyond me.

    “His version of red-eyed soul was the nearest the Republic got to Motown, which is to say that it was significantly distanced by an ocean in between.”

    Van is from Northern Ireland, not the Republic, neither of which parts of Ireland have ever significantly attempted to replicate any form of Motown. or anything resembling such.

    “Adding more Celtic lyrical touches ended up with the boglands version of Joe Cocker wibbling pointlessly about shaking his tush in the moonlight, before losing it all completely on Astral Weeks.”

    Presumably you are talking about “Moondance” (1970), which is predated by Astral Weeks (1968). Both of which are widely critically acclaimed and which I, for one, consider to be immense. I respect your right to disagree, of course.

    “What is it about Irish popsters that compells them to write songs about dancing under the light of the moon? Surely a lack of light would be the only thing that would make the corpulent Morrison and the stick thin (and rotting significantly) Lynott look good.”

    Perhaps so, although he wasn’t quite so corpulent back in 1970 when he wrote this. In any event, anyone fat or thin, reserves their right to dance under the moon.

    I believe the “jelly roll” reference has already been dealt with above (although admittedly haven’t read all the comments)

    “And its happy thoughts like that which will stop me from completely crucifying Morrison in the way he deserves.”

    I believe you have attempted to do this already, in a very poorly informed and ineffective way. My view is that you have failed miserably and have some sort of axe to grind

  27. 28
    David Tierney on 17 Jan 2017 #

    Jessica # 12, I totally agree with you, you seem very musically mature for someone who is only 16, and does recognize talent when she hears it. I too am of the same opinion as you, this stuff they are calling music is pure garbage, as far as I’m concerned , when they labeled the stuff as rap they forgot the letter C before rap, back in the day you actually had to be able to play a fuckin instrument, today they can take someone with no talent at all and make them a star,

    It sickens me really, anyhow you and I seem to appreciate good music, if you get a chance, listen to the album ” Into the Music ” it is an absolute gem. Bless! 😉

  28. 29
    Deborah on 7 Apr 2017 #

    Whoever wrote this is truly an idiot. Whatever happened to researching what you are talking about? Maybe stick to topics that you can comprehend…

  29. 30
    MARK KLAPPERICH on 6 Oct 2018 #

    I think artists make art ambiguous on purpose so it can “mean” different things to different people. We all get to enjoy it are own way. So I think you’re ALL correct 😀

  30. 31
    Don "Pops" Poppinjay on 8 May 2020 #

    Van Morrison is one of the greatest lounge acts going. He’s in lockdown now furiously writing his next four albums. Rumour has it that his a four part album sequence covering the life of Simon Cowell. Van can be that contemporary.

  31. 32
    John S on 20 Jul 2020 #

    Loved Van Morrison growing up in the 60’s and 70’s. Still love his music today. Great lyricist. Phenomenal distinctive voice. Such soul. You can take your negative comments along with all the tea in China and throw the i. The deep blue sea you freakin’ moron!

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