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Van Morrison - Keep It Simple

Keep It Simple

Van Morrison

Lost Highway Records

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb
(taoboy@cox.net)

This disc harks back to the Van Morrison, of Astral Weeks, or Inarticulate Speech of The Heart, in feel; the songs stay simple and yet ripe with implication. Each one becomes a wonderfully laid back palette, yet they are not static but forceful in an ingenious manner. They seem to take the title song, Keep It Simple as gospel for getting to the creative hearts of these 11 new songs he wrote for this occasion. His powerhouse voice is as ever at the core of the music as he has that ability to grab into a song and make it his own vehicle that is wrought with emotion. He could probably take the phone book and wring both pathos and exhilaration from it. In the song Behind The Ritual he goes off into his scat singing and does a couple of choruses where he repeats the key word over and over building, and keeping the emotion, with the word "blah", and it truly works (I had to go to the lyrics because I didn't trust what my ears said they were hearing).

The music on this disc is that wonderful mix of soul and Rhythm & Blues combined with jazz and country soul tendered with traditional Irish folk music that is distinctly his own realm. No rave ups, nothing real slowed down, that kind of beat that just keeps going and going and becomes characteristically filled with the passions, sweat and blood that comes from the heart and seems to drive this man. This is that leave it all out there mentality which is typical of this singer's strength, it is music, that in feel, is the life blood of the spiritual heart of the Irish nation. And as usual he has gathered to him for this disc a group of players that are superb; to name but a few he again has John Platania on guitars, John Allair on organ, and Cindy Cashdollar on Steel Guitar, however it is the group effort, spurred by Van's inspired singing, that propels this disc to succeed.

Track List:

  • How Can A Poor Boy?
  • School Of Hard Knocks
  • That's Entrainment
  • Don't Go To Nightclubs Anymore
  • Lover Come Back
  • Keep It Simple
  • End Of The Land
  • Song Of Home
  • No Thing
  • Soul
  • Behind The Ritual

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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