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Rock - Released June 10, 2016 | Legacy Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Best New Reissue
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Rock - Released October 30, 2015 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
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Rock - Released June 10, 2016 | Legacy Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
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Rock - Released February 28, 1970 | Warner Bros.

Hi-Res Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Rock - Released October 18, 2013 | Warner Bros.

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Rock - Released June 30, 1975 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Distinctions Stereophile: Record To Die For
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Vocal Jazz - Released December 7, 2018 | Exile Productions Ltd.

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The prophet has returned! Van Morrison, he who brought us the timeless Gloria and Brown Eyed Girl, steps back in time for his new album The Prophet Speaks. The Irish bard delves into the world of jazz, blues and rhythm’n’blues with his renditions of classics from John Lee Hooker, Sam Cooke, Willie Dixon and Soloman Burke, to name but a few. Such are the talents of Van The Man that he even includes six of his own compositions (Got to Go Where The Love Is, 5am Greenwich Mean Time, Love Is Hard Work, Spirit Will Provide, Ain’t Gonna Moan No More and The Prophet Speaks) within the genre of jazz’n’blues’n’soul. “It was important for me to get back to recording new music as well as doing some of the blues material that has inspired me from the beginning” he says. Once again, the album features its fair share of musical virtuosos, including killer organist Joey DeFrancesco (who co-wrote You’re Driving Me Crazy with Morrison), guitarist Dan Wilson, drummer Michael Ode and saxophonist Troy Roberts. A classy and classical album that doesn’t look to reinvent the genre but rather to revive its original soul. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released April 27, 2018 | Legacy Recordings

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Blues - Released September 22, 2017 | Exile

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One cannot say that Van Morrison’s recordings of the last twenty years have left as much of an impression as his early 70s masterpieces such as Astral Weeks, Moondance or Veedon Fleece. But in 2012 Born To Sing: No Plan B was a nice come back, proving the Irish bard still had a lot left in the tank. Four years later Keep Me Singing confirmed this intuition with new songs on which Van The Man not only adapted to the constraint of age – he doesn’t sing like in 1969 anymore – but in fact masterfully tamed these limitations, giving each track a lived-in and warm atmosphere. Less passion and exuberance, more finesse and heart, all in his usual wonderful combination of soul, jazz and blues, his true trademark. This spirit remains on Roll With The Punches even if the repertoire is mostly made up of blues and soul covers (Bo Diddley, T-Bone Walker, Count Basie, Sam Cooke, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Lightnin' Hopkins, Mose Allison, Little Walter, Bo Diddley), along with five original songs. A 37th album produced by Van Morrison himself and on which he collaborated with Jeff Beck, Paul Jones, Jason Rebello, Chris Farlowe and Georgie Fame. © CM/Qobuz
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Rock - Released November 1, 1968 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Rock - Released September 30, 2016 | Exile

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Van Morrison does exactly what he wants, when he wants, and continually mines the past no matter the cost. It's been four years since the Celtic soulman issued a collection of original studio material (Born to Sing: No Plan B), but given the music, it could have been yesterday. Morrison has no interest in innovation, he's already done that. The pace here is (mostly) laid-back, the music drenched in jazz, R&B, blues, and classy pop. He revels throughout in an elegant slow burn; his lyric themes are bittersweet, melancholic, filled with emotional and symbolic memory; his longing for the previous prevalent. The first line on album-opener "Let It Rhyme" is: "Throw another coin in the wishing well/Tell everybody to go to hell…" atop skeins of country and R&B as he reveals his recalcitrance. Celtic folk burrows underneath soul in the title track, as a trio of female backing singers, swelling B-3, and a snare undulate beneath his lyrics: "Keep me singing, a new beginning/waiting for my change to come...." A breezy harmonica solo adds a twist, but this tune reflects (musically as well as poetically) the protagonist in "Tore Down à la Rimbaud" from 1985's A Sense of Wonder, who is far down the road, holding stubbornly to a hope he knows (like his countryman Samuel Beckett) will elude him. "Out in the Cold Again" is one of Morrison's finest torch songs in a decade. His delivery hovers just above a small string section and Fiachra Trench's Errol Garner-esque piano. "The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword" weaves blues-drenched electric guitar and organ exchanges in a midtempo steamy groove appended to excellent backing vocals from Dana Masters and Lance Ellington. The lone cover is a gospelized-blues version of Don Robey's and Alfred Braggs' ballad "Share Your Love with Me." (It was originally recorded by Bobby "Blue" Bland in 1963, and made immortal by Aretha Franklin in 1970. Morrison's version lies closer to the original in spirit.) The singer revisits his time in the San Francisco Bay area for "In Tiburon," where a circular Celtic jazz melody flows under his poetic lines as they name check various signposts in memory, invoking Beat poets, musicians, and locales offeringa tale of a woman gazing out a window listening to music. He invokes this mysterious person over and again with the lines "Now we need each other to lean on…." A muted trumpet solo is misty, bittersweet, and tender. "Look Beyond the Hill" is a fingerpopping jazz tune with ghost traces of a "Moondance" musical feel, but without the magic hook. The outlier is "Going Down to Bangor," a raw blues, that directly references the early Chicago sound. Morrison offers his best blues shout and wails on harmonica. Keep Me Singing closes with "Caledonia Swing," an instrumental where skiffle, punchy R&B, and bluebeat ska rhythm (yes, really) come together in trademark style. Morrison delivers each of these songs with attentiveness; the material is consistently presented with finesse. Nothing further is required. ~ Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released March 13, 2015 | Exile Productions - RCA Records

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It's not hard to wonder if Van Morrison was trying to drive away listeners by titling this album Duets: Re-Working the Catalogue, a name that practically howls this is a work defined by a lack of ambition and a desire to rest on his laurels. The clumsy title is especially strange because this an honestly good album that doesn't fit those negative expectations. Even though Re-Working the Catalogue finds Morrison reviving songs from his extensive repertoire, he wisely focuses on lesser-known tunes rather than compete with his best-known work, and Morrison is able to generate a genuine enthusiasm for this music, which might not be the case if he tried to record "Moondance" or "Brown Eyed Girl" one more time. And the Belfast Soul Man for the most part has chosen duet partners with intelligence; rather than load up this set with current chart-toppers who have little knowledge of Morrison's legacy, most of the singers working with Morrison are cut from similar cloth, such as Steve Winwood, Chris Farlowe, Georgie Fame, and Bobby Womack (in what proved to be one of the latter's final recordings). If Joss Stone is considerably younger and more melismatic than Van's other partners, she understands what "Wild Honey" needs, and Michael Bublé delivers an admirably lively performance on "Real Real Gone." There are almost certainly other singers who would have sounded better on "Whatever Happened to P.J. Proby?," but Mr. Proby himself seems to be in on the joke with his delivery, and Van honestly sounds like he's having a lot of fun (not a common occurrence) with Taj Mahal on "How Can a Poor Boy?" And if Mavis Staples' voice is a bit rough on "If I Ever Needed Someone," she delivers the song with a churchy authority that Morrison clearly respects. As for Van himself, at the age of 69 his vocals lack the power and emotional force he so easily conjured in the '70s, but his sense of phrasing is as soulful and idiosyncratic as it has ever been, and he seems determined to find something in these songs that he missed the first time. This could easily have been a very lazy album, but Morrison gives this material an honest and thoughtful effort. (His grainy but potent sax work is a lot of fun, too.) And the production (by Don Was) and mix (by Bob Rock) is smooth without polishing out the personality of Morrison and his guests. Recutting a batch of your old songs is usually a sign you've run out of ideas, as is recording a full album of duets; while it's hard to know what Morrison's motivations were for making Duets: Re-Working the Catalogue, the pleasant surprise is that Morrison has managed to dodge both those bullets, and if it's a long way from a triumph, it's a solid, heartfelt work from a veteran artist who isn't about to give up the ghost. ~ Mark Deming
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Rock - Released June 30, 1975 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Rock - Released April 11, 2017 | Acoustic Legends Records

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Rock - Released October 18, 2013 | Warner Bros.

The yang to Astral Weeks' yin, the brilliant Moondance is every bit as much a classic as its predecessor; Van Morrison's first commercially successful solo effort, it retains the previous album's deeply spiritual thrust but transcends its bleak, cathartic intensity to instead explore themes of renewal and redemption. Light, soulful, and jazzy, Moondance opens with the sweetly nostalgic "And It Stoned Me," the song's pastoral imagery establishing the dominant lyrical motif recurring throughout the album -- virtually every track exults in natural wonder, whether it's the nocturnal magic celebrated by the title cut or the unlimited promise offered in "Brand New Day." At the heart of the record is "Caravan," an incantatory ode to the power of radio; equally stirring is the majestic "Into the Mystic," a song of such elemental beauty and grace as to stand as arguably the quintessential Morrison moment. ~ Jason Ankeny
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Rock - Released March 24, 2017 | Legacy Recordings

In 1966, Van Morrison was a rough-and-tumble blues singer with the rowdy Belfast band Them. In 1968, Morrison was a solo artist who created a genre-defying, visionary masterpiece with his album Astral Weeks. Clearly a great deal happened during the time in between, and arguably the most important thing was Morrison reconnecting with songwriter and producer Bert Berns, who had worked with Them. Berns understood Morrison had tremendous talent and potential, and when he learned than Van had left Them, Bert invited him to come to New York City and cut some solo material for his label, Bang Records. A few months later, Morrison had his first solo hit, "Brown Eyed Girl," and his first quarrel with the music industry when the material he cut for Berns was compiled into an album, Blowin' Your Mind!, without his consent. While Morrison's material for Bang has been collected in many different forms, 2017's The Authorized Bang Collection is the first time anyone has done so with Van's participation and approval, and if it's not quite revelatory in its presentation (most of this material has been widely available before), it's certainly definitive in its quality. The first disc features the 17 Morrison tracks that Bang released as singles and on the albums Blowin' Your Mind!, The Best of Van Morrison (despite the title, most of it was unreleased), and T.B. Sheets, while disc two is devoted to single edits and session outtakes. While the material on the second disc is clearly for completists and hardcore fans, the tracks offer a fascinating look into the way Berns' production style complemented Morrison's loose but impassioned working methods in the studio. Berns was willing to create a spontaneous environment where the musicians served Morrison's vision, and it's not at all hard to see how tracks like "T.B. Sheets," "He Ain't Give You None," and "Send Your Mind" set the stage for the poetic conceits of Astral Weeks (especially given the presence of an early version of "Madame George"). The crisp new remastering of the original mixes shows Berns got a tough, lively sound out of his studio band, and the interaction between Morrison and the players is even more impressive with this set's new clarity. And closing out the collection is the first official release of the infamous set of demos Morrison cut to get out of his Bang contract. These songs were clearly meant to be too bad to be released, but it's all but impossible not to be fascinated as Van improvises spirited nonsense like "Ring Worm," "Up Your Mind," "Here Comes Dumb George," and "Want a Danish" over the space of 36 minutes. Morrison's 1967 work with Bert Berns at Bang was vital as it set the singer and songwriter on his creative path, and The Authorized Bang Collection offers an outstanding look into this annus mirabilis. ~ Mark Deming
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Jazz - Released December 7, 2018 | Exile Productions Ltd.

Instead of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the classic Astral Weeks, Van Morrison continues to deliver new work at an enviable pace. He's long sought to release more than a recording a year in order to keep pace with his intense work ethic. In 2016 he finagled a strategy to accomplish this when he signed separate yet simultaneous label deals allowing him that freedom. The Prophet Speaks is Morrison's fourth outing in 18 months. It follows the same musical template begun with 2017's Roll with the Punches and Versatile in juxtaposing originals with vintage blues, R&B, and jazz covers. This particular set also continues the association he developed with organist and trumpeter Joey DeFrancesco's fine quartet -- illustrated so ably on the jazz-heavy You're Driving Me Crazy. The Prophet Speaks digs deeper into blues and R&B than its predecessor, but sounds equally loose, joyous, and spontaneous. Its 14 tracks contain six new originals sequenced among eight skillfully performed standards. The fingerpopping opener is Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson's "Gonna Send You Back to Where I Got You From," with Morrison delivering a shouted jump-blues vocal as DeFrancesco doubles on Hammond B-3 and trumpet. Bassist Troy Roberts also holds down tenor and soprano saxophones, creating the effect of a whole horn-section, as guitarist Dan Wilson delivers jazzy vamps around Michael Ode's swinging drums. Morrison's voice in John Lee Hooker's "Dimples" rumbles with the sensual feel of the original, though its chart is a polished groover as DeFrancesco and Wilson offer brief, killer solos. Introduced by a righteous electric piano buoyed by upright bass, the original "Got to Go Where the Love Is" is a soul-gospel tune that would have fit nicely on 2016's Keep Me Singing. Sandwiched between wonderfully intuitive readings of Sam Cooke's deep soul blues "Laughin' and Clownin'" and the slippery, gutbucket soul of Solomon Burke's "Gotta Get You Off My Mind" (with daughter Shana Morrison on backing vocals) is Van's jump-blues "5 A.M. Greenwich Mean Time." DeFrancesco's B-3 fills underscore the resonance in Morrison's voice. This version of Willie Dixon's "I Love the Life I Live" is a fantastic update and tribute to Morrison's influence and hero Mose Allison's take on it. In another fine sequential juxtaposition, the singer's name-dropping grievance blues "Ain't Gonna Moan No More" lands between a revisioned take on J.D Harris' "Worried Blues/Rollin' and Tumblin'" and Gene Barge's "Love Is a Five Letter Word" ("spelled M-O-N-E-Y!"); an elegant B-3 and tenor add textural contrast to Morrison's savvy vocal. Three originals close the set. "Love Is Hard Work" soulfully and bitterly takes on the troublesome topic of love, while "Spirit Will Provide" comes straight out of the singer's Celtic soul book. The moody title track, drenched in prophetic post-midnight exhortation, recalls his reading of "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" on Poetic Champions Compose, with DeFrancesco adding muted trumpet fills and a solo. Clocking in at over an hour, The Prophet Speaks breezes through its run-time with memorable performances and joyous vibes. This is a late-career surge that is all the more remarkable because Morrison really seems to be enjoying himself -- he continues to hunger after the music that inspired his vocation in the first place. ~ Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released August 28, 2015 | Legacy Recordings

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Rock - Released October 18, 2013 | Warner Bros.

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Rock - Released August 28, 2015 | Legacy Recordings

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No Guru, No Method, No Teacher was Van Morrison's second studio album for Mercury, following A Sense of Wonder and Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast. Recorded at the height of his spiritual period, it is among the most empathic records in his career. Morrison's seeking of and obsession with "reclaiming the previous" is everywhere, beginning with the set's opener, "Got to Go Back." With a striking wide-open acoustic piano, accompanied by an oboe solo (by Kate St. John) twinned by Richie Buckley's soprano saxophone and an acoustic guitar, Morrison offers, in waltz tempo, these reflections: "When I was a young boy back in Orangefield/I used to look out my classroom window and dream/And then go home and listen to Ray sing/'I Believe to My Soul' after school/Oh that love that was within me/You know it carried me through/Well it lifted me up and it filled me/Got to go back/Got to go back/To the feeling." The album is consumptive in its focus on spiritual innocence as it struggles with notions of God and liberation from earthly constraints. That said, the struggle is visceral; he is immersed in the latter by the sheer physicality of his music even at its most ethereal. "Oh the Warm Feeling" underscores the notion of memory and lost innocence amid lovely oboe, acoustic guitar, organ, and vibes as Morrison sings in the past tense, juxtaposing it against the present. The Celtic soul that comes elegiacally forth from "Foreign Window" is among the album's finest tracks. Nakedly spiritual, Morrison's poetic lyrics addressed to an Other come out of a past that is simultaneously part of his eternal present in a love song; its multivalent textural and dynamic arrangement is gorgeous. This album is an extended meditation that reflects a willingness to stay inside the cloud of the soul's tensions as it seeks; the melodies are often mantra-like. "A Town Called Paradise," however, is the exception. It is a classic midtempo rocker that seems to come from as far back as Astral Weeks with its woven, pulsing layers of acoustic guitars, though punctuated by female backing vocals, tenor saxophone, and an electric solo guitar. Interestingly, there is a play on words here, called "Here Comes the Knight," which doesn't reference the earlier version he recorded with Them, and is elliptical in terms of its lyrics. There are some longer selections here as well, in the Celtic R&B of "Tir Na Nog"; the glorious "In the Garden" (a concert staple); and the righteous frustration in "Thanks for the Information," detailing the pitfalls of the spiritual path. Combined, these tunes make for a deeply satisfying album in the least and a major -- if provocative for casual fans -- Morrison work that hones a fine point on the songwriter's search for transformation and transcendence as part and parcel of the spiritual process, while making music in real time. ~ Thom Jurek

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Van Morrison in the magazine