Van Morrison Keep Me Singing



It’s been four years since Van Morrison’s last studio album and decades since he’s made one this consistently satisfying. Keep Me Singing, at times, feels like a lost Morrison classic from his ‘70s Warner Bros. heyday, while, at the same time, it’s very much the deepest outpourings of an older man. He touches on nostalgia, sadness and loss—“Well, I got to go way back in my memory bank, see how it ought to be now,” he sings on the title track, and in “Memory Lane,” he confesses, “I don’t know where I am or what I’m after; I’m stuck here again back on Memory Lane.”

The word “pain” turns up in two songs, yet there is an overriding joyousness hovering over it all: the jubilant gospelesque sing-along/clap-along of “The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword;” the softly swinging soul of “Share Your Love With Me,” the album’s lone cover, originally performed by blues titan Bobby “Blue” Bland. The self-produced Keep Me Singing is straight-ahead Van, who delivers a lyric in that voice that could be no other’s. The album is devoid of the ethereality that has often marked his work, free of the stream-of-consciousness vocal ramblings. Here, Morrison presents 13 structured tunes, melodies so warm and comforting you’ll want to wear them as a winter coat. Ballads rule—populated with strings and bold, sweeping piano lines, sweet acoustic guitars, tasteful but serious electrics, rousing background vocals and, of course, soul. With Van Morrison, there is always the soul.

“Let It Rhyme,” the opening track, is an unabashed love song that would have been at home on Moondance (albeit its melody is a dead ringer for the Stones’ “Waiting on a Friend”). That track’s easy-going demeanor is echoed often, in “Going Down to Bangor,” a blues-saturated paean to Belfast that recalls vintage Paul Butterfield (harp: Van), and “In Tiburon,” a love song to Morrison’s one-time home, the San Francisco Bay Area, stuffed with name-checks of the people (Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Chet Baker, Lenny Bruce) and places (City Lights Books, Sausalito) that made it special for him.

There’s a loose-limbed album-closing instrumental and even, by gosh, a bona fide, wannabe hit single as accessible as “Brown Eyed Girl” (if people like Van Morrison could still have hit singles): “Too Late,” in which he actually sings “Whoops, I beg your pardon.” Hey, it’s OK, really. Any time.

Authors: Jeff Tamarkin
Artist: Van Morrison
Album: Keep Me Singing
Label: Caroline




It’s been four years since Van Morrison’s last studio album and decades since he’s made one this consistently satisfying. Keep Me Singing, at times, feels like a lost Morrison classic from his ‘70s Warner Bros. heyday, while, at the same time, it’s very much the deepest outpourings of an older man. He touches on nostalgia, sadness and loss—“Well, I got to go way back in my memory bank, see how it ought to be now,” he sings on the title track, and in “Memory Lane,” he confesses, “I don’t know where I am or what I’m after; I’m stuck here again back on Memory Lane.”

The word “pain” turns up in two songs, yet there is an overriding joyousness hovering over it all: the jubilant gospelesque sing-along/clap-along of “The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword;” the softly swinging soul of “Share Your Love With Me,” the album’s lone cover, originally performed by blues titan Bobby “Blue” Bland. The self-produced Keep Me Singing is straight-ahead Van, who delivers a lyric in that voice that could be no other’s. The album is devoid of the ethereality that has often marked his work, free of the stream-of-consciousness vocal ramblings. Here, Morrison presents 13 structured tunes, melodies so warm and comforting you’ll want to wear them as a winter coat. Ballads rule—populated with strings and bold, sweeping piano lines, sweet acoustic guitars, tasteful but serious electrics, rousing background vocals and, of course, soul. With Van Morrison, there is always the soul.

“Let It Rhyme,” the opening track, is an unabashed love song that would have been at home on Moondance (albeit its melody is a dead ringer for the Stones’ “Waiting on a Friend”). That track’s easy-going demeanor is echoed often, in “Going Down to Bangor,” a blues-saturated paean to Belfast that recalls vintage Paul Butterfield (harp: Van), and “In Tiburon,” a love song to Morrison’s one-time home, the San Francisco Bay Area, stuffed with name-checks of the people (Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Chet Baker, Lenny Bruce) and places (City Lights Books, Sausalito) that made it special for him.

There’s a loose-limbed album-closing instrumental and even, by gosh, a bona fide, wannabe hit single as accessible as “Brown Eyed Girl” (if people like Van Morrison could still have hit singles): “Too Late,” in which he actually sings “Whoops, I beg your pardon.” Hey, it’s OK, really. Any time.

Authors: Jeff Tamarkin
Artist: Van Morrison
Album: Keep Me Singing
Label: Caroline


It’s been four years since Van Morrison’s last studio album and decades since he’s made one this consistently satisfying. Keep Me Singing, at times, feels like a lost Morrison classic from his ‘70s Warner Bros. heyday, while, at the same time, it’s very much the deepest outpourings of an older man. He touches on nostalgia, sadness and loss—“Well, I got to go way back in my memory bank, see how it ought to be now,” he sings on the title track, and in “Memory Lane,” he confesses, “I don’t know where I am or what I’m after; I’m stuck here again back on Memory Lane.”

The word “pain” turns up in two songs, yet there is an overriding joyousness hovering over it all: the jubilant gospelesque sing-along/clap-along of “The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword;” the softly swinging soul of “Share Your Love With Me,” the album’s lone cover, originally performed by blues titan Bobby “Blue” Bland. The self-produced Keep Me Singing is straight-ahead Van, who delivers a lyric in that voice that could be no other’s. The album is devoid of the ethereality that has often marked his work, free of the stream-of-consciousness vocal ramblings. Here, Morrison presents 13 structured tunes, melodies so warm and comforting you’ll want to wear them as a winter coat. Ballads rule—populated with strings and bold, sweeping piano lines, sweet acoustic guitars, tasteful but serious electrics, rousing background vocals and, of course, soul. With Van Morrison, there is always the soul.

“Let It Rhyme,” the opening track, is an unabashed love song that would have been at home on Moondance (albeit its melody is a dead ringer for the Stones’ “Waiting on a Friend”). That track’s easy-going demeanor is echoed often, in “Going Down to Bangor,” a blues-saturated paean to Belfast that recalls vintage Paul Butterfield (harp: Van), and “In Tiburon,” a love song to Morrison’s one-time home, the San Francisco Bay Area, stuffed with name-checks of the people (Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Chet Baker, Lenny Bruce) and places (City Lights Books, Sausalito) that made it special for him.

There’s a loose-limbed album-closing instrumental and even, by gosh, a bona fide, wannabe hit single as accessible as “Brown Eyed Girl” (if people like Van Morrison could still have hit singles): “Too Late,” in which he actually sings “Whoops, I beg your pardon.” Hey, it’s OK, really. Any time.

Authors: Jeff Tamarkin
Artist: Van Morrison
Album: Keep Me Singing
Label: Caroline

It’s been four years since Van Morrison’s last studio album and decades since he’s made one this consistently satisfying. Keep Me Singing, at times, feels like a lost Morrison classic from his ‘70s Warner Bros. heyday, while, at the same time, it’s very much the deepest outpourings of an older man. He touches on nostalgia, sadness and loss—“Well, I got to go way back in my memory bank, see how it ought to be now,” he sings on the title track, and in “Memory Lane,” he confesses, “I don’t know where I am or what I’m after; I’m stuck here again back on Memory Lane.”

The word “pain” turns up in two songs, yet there is an overriding joyousness hovering over it all: the jubilant gospelesque sing-along/clap-along of “The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword;” the softly swinging soul of “Share Your Love With Me,” the album’s lone cover, originally performed by blues titan Bobby “Blue” Bland. The self-produced Keep Me Singing is straight-ahead Van, who delivers a lyric in that voice that could be no other’s. The album is devoid of the ethereality that has often marked his work, free of the stream-of-consciousness vocal ramblings. Here, Morrison presents 13 structured tunes, melodies so warm and comforting you’ll want to wear them as a winter coat. Ballads rule—populated with strings and bold, sweeping piano lines, sweet acoustic guitars, tasteful but serious electrics, rousing background vocals and, of course, soul. With Van Morrison, there is always the soul.

“Let It Rhyme,” the opening track, is an unabashed love song that would have been at home on Moondance (albeit its melody is a dead ringer for the Stones’ “Waiting on a Friend”). That track’s easy-going demeanor is echoed often, in “Going Down to Bangor,” a blues-saturated paean to Belfast that recalls vintage Paul Butterfield (harp: Van), and “In Tiburon,” a love song to Morrison’s one-time home, the San Francisco Bay Area, stuffed with name-checks of the people (Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Chet Baker, Lenny Bruce) and places (City Lights Books, Sausalito) that made it special for him.

There’s a loose-limbed album-closing instrumental and even, by gosh, a bona fide, wannabe hit single as accessible as “Brown Eyed Girl” (if people like Van Morrison could still have hit singles): “Too Late,” in which he actually sings “Whoops, I beg your pardon.” Hey, it’s OK, really. Any time.

Authors: Jeff Tamarkin
Artist: Van Morrison
Album: Keep Me Singing
Label: Caroline

It’s been four years since Van Morrison’s last studio album and decades since he’s made one this consistently satisfying. Keep Me Singing, at times, feels like a lost Morrison classic from his ‘70s Warner Bros. heyday, while, at the same time, it’s very much the deepest outpourings of an older man. He touches on nostalgia, sadness and loss—“Well, I got to go way back in my memory bank, see how it ought to be now,” he sings on the title track, and in “Memory Lane,” he confesses, “I don’t know where I am or what I’m after; I’m stuck here again back on Memory Lane.”

The word “pain” turns up in two songs, yet there is an overriding joyousness hovering over it all: the jubilant gospelesque sing-along/clap-along of “The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword;” the softly swinging soul of “Share Your Love With Me,” the album’s lone cover, originally performed by blues titan Bobby “Blue” Bland. The self-produced Keep Me Singing is straight-ahead Van, who delivers a lyric in that voice that could be no other’s. The album is devoid of the ethereality that has often marked his work, free of the stream-of-consciousness vocal ramblings. Here, Morrison presents 13 structured tunes, melodies so warm and comforting you’ll want to wear them as a winter coat. Ballads rule—populated with strings and bold, sweeping piano lines, sweet acoustic guitars, tasteful but serious electrics, rousing background vocals and, of course, soul. With Van Morrison, there is always the soul.

“Let It Rhyme,” the opening track, is an unabashed love song that would have been at home on Moondance (albeit its melody is a dead ringer for the Stones’ “Waiting on a Friend”). That track’s easy-going demeanor is echoed often, in “Going Down to Bangor,” a blues-saturated paean to Belfast that recalls vintage Paul Butterfield (harp: Van), and “In Tiburon,” a love song to Morrison’s one-time home, the San Francisco Bay Area, stuffed with name-checks of the people (Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Chet Baker, Lenny Bruce) and places (City Lights Books, Sausalito) that made it special for him.

There’s a loose-limbed album-closing instrumental and even, by gosh, a bona fide, wannabe hit single as accessible as “Brown Eyed Girl” (if people like Van Morrison could still have hit singles): “Too Late,” in which he actually sings “Whoops, I beg your pardon.” Hey, it’s OK, really. Any time.

Authors: Jeff Tamarkin
Artist: Van Morrison
Album: Keep Me Singing
Label: Caroline
Authors: Jeff Tamarkin
Artist: Van Morrison
Album: Keep Me Singing
Label: Caroline

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Source: Relix