BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Van Morrison: Keep It Simple (Lost Highway)

 |   |  <1 min read

Van Morrison: No Thing
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Van Morrison: Keep It Simple (Lost Highway)

Another year and another Van album on yet another label . . .

And with the reissue of his earlier albums drawing attention to great work like It's Too Late to Stop Now (read about it in Essential Elsewhere) it would hardly be surprising if this one was ignored by even longtime followers, many of whom might be picking up the remastered back-catalogue or one of the new greatest hits collections also released.

And while many may have also had their fill of a guy who seems to have elevated grumpiness to an art form, there is no denying that this album -- yes, he's keeping simple and soulful -- is one of his most approachable, relaxed and pleasant in many years.

It's almost as if he has been listening to some of his most laidback late 60s/early 70s songs while keeping Sam Cooke on the turntable.

There is a welcome straight-forwardness about the writing (all originals), a stressless approach to the melodies (many which recall his finest hours) and although the odd lyric confirms he still thinks life was better in some other lifetime this one possesses that rarest of Van qualities: a sense of a man at ease with himself.

With soft organ and light backing vocals, this one also keeps the focus on the vocals and he isn't competing with a horn section.

Morrison has certainly been down this path before, but not for some time and rarely with this sense of approachability.

Quite a welcome surprise.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Beck: One Foot in the Grave (XL)

Beck: One Foot in the Grave (XL)

For a very brief period in the early Nineties Beck was hailed as the Dylan of his generation (another in the "new Dylan" lineage which began back with Donovan, Loudon Wainwright III etc... > Read more

Grace Jones: Hurricane (Wall of Sound)

Grace Jones: Hurricane (Wall of Sound)

It has been about 20 years since the formidable Grace Jones menaced us, but she's back and her opening salvo on this typically groove-oriented album is her declaiming "this is my voice, my... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Sheppard/Benita/Rochford: Trio Libero (ECM/Ode)

Sheppard/Benita/Rochford: Trio Libero (ECM/Ode)

This elegant and sinuously lyrical album features two generations of British jazz musicians; saxophonist Andy Sheppard who came to prominence in the post-Marsalis years in the Eighties alongside... > Read more

Joanne Shaw Taylor: Almost Always Never (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Joanne Shaw Taylor: Almost Always Never (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Until you are told otherwise, just on listening to this tough, sassy and earthy blues singer and fiery guitarist you'd assume she was black American, probably forged in the fires of Chicago clubs... > Read more