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Avalon Sunset

4.7 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 19, 1989
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

1989 Mercury label edition (a division of Polygram), of Avalon Sunset by Van Morrison. Original 10 track CD release.

When R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe wrote "That's me in the spotlight / Losing my religion," he could have been singing about Van Morrison, the man who lost his three times within a decade. In the end, though, Van returned to Christ and found himself rewarded with his first British Top 20 hit. With its sparse piano hook and Cliff Richard's guest vocals, "Whenever God Shines His Light" is a misleading beginning for an album awash in the kind of sentimental orchestration that might hurt one's teeth were it not for its perpetrators' almost childlike wonder. Cynics, then, needn't concern themselves with love songs like "Have I Told You Lately" and "Orangefield"--both of which suggest that, despite his renewal of faith, Morrison's muse isn't purely metaphysical. Even better is the spoken-word reverie "Coney Island," in which a grown man can be heard extolling the virtues of potted herrings. Naturally, it's the best thing here. --Peter Paphides

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Whenever God Shines His Light
  2. Contacting My Angel
  3. I'd Love To Write Another Song
  4. Have I Told You Lately
  5. Coney Island
  6. I'm Tired Joey Boy
  7. When Will I Ever Learn To Live In God
  8. Orangefield
  9. Daring Night
  10. These Are The Days

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 19, 1989)
  • Original Release Date: June 6, 1989
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mercury
  • ASIN: B000001FQV
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,470 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Van Morrison's "Avalon Sunset" was originally released back in 1989, but it is as wonderful today as when it first came out. One measure of how well Van is able to speak to people is that I still hear the song "Have I Told You Lately" from this album quite regularly on the radio.
"Avalon Sunset" is perhaps best known for being a spiritual album (I prefer the word "spiritual" to the word "religious"), but as a matter of fact only a couple of the songs on the album have an overtly spiritual bent to them, including the initial "Whenever God Shines His Light on Me." This song is a real attention-grabber--great melody, beat and words--and deserves its spot at the beginning of the album. I sometimes stop and play this track two or three times before moving on to the rest.
The most famous song here is, of course, "Have I Told You Lately [That I Love You]." What I especially like about it is that I can listen to it on a couple of different levels, either as a song of praise to God or else as a simple love song addressed to another person. It's that subtlety, that lack of "beating me over the head" with the lyrics, that I find especially appealing, but the more I hear the song, the more I find comfort in the spiritual interpretation of it.
Of course, there are any number of songs on here that deserve to be as well known as "Have I Told You Lately," and that repay repeated listenings. Some of my other favorites on this album are "I'd Love to Write Another Song," "I'm Tired Joey Boy" and "Orangefield."
One very special track is "Coney Island." Van's voice, reminiscent of John Prine's in some ways, is very expressive, and especially so in this piece.
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Format: Audio CD
This amazing 1989 album had never received the remastering treatment it so richly deserved until now. By all means, replace your old CD, because the audio is now absolutely glorious.

This re-release is in the first set (Tupelo Honey, It's Too Late To Stop Now, Wavelength, Into The Music, A Sense Of Wonder, Avalon Sunset and Back On Top) of a 2008, four-part re-release of the entire 29-title Van Morrison Polygram catalog. Polygram long ago ceased production of its portion of Van-The-Man's catalog, resulting in two-thirds of Morrison's entire recorded output remaining frustratingly unavailable for the past several years.

HOWEVER: Be aware that 16 of the 29 titles are the same 1998 remasters, albeit each augmented with two bonus tracks. If you own the 1998 discs, you may want to seek other posted opinions on whether the bonus content is worth re-buying those titles. The other 1998-remaster+bonus-tracks titles to be released later this year are: Saint Dominic's Preview, Hard Nose Down The Highway, Veedon Fleece, Period Of Transition, Beautiful Vision, Inarticulate Speech, Common One, Live/Belfast, No Guru, Poetic Champions Compose and Irish Heartbeat.

In this first set of re-releases, only Avalon Sunset and Back On Top have been newly-remastered. All of the new editions are available in jewel case or Japan mini-LP-sleeve format.

Polygram utilized a deplorable Enron-like tactic of taking the entire 29 CD series out of production for an extended period of time to create demand, years longer than just the clearing of the older releases in the retail channel via sell-off would have required. The record labels bemoan the loss of CD sales, but it is exactly this kind of manipulative marketing ka-ka that provides impetus to consumer alienation.
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Format: Audio CD
For anyone who has marveled over the range and depth of Van Morrison's prolific work over the last three decades, this terrific album first released in 1989 represented a resurgence of his powerful songwriting and performing skills. The songs included offer a startling range of styles, subject matter, and themes, but all share a kind of quiet celebration of the mature Van, able to sing, play and even chant his way through a song like no one else can. Indeed, after a string of disappointing albums that did not gain wide recognition or playtime, this album reestablished Morrison as a star of the first magnitude. So, we find the eclectic star of "Them" and then the guy who sang everything from "Brown Eyed Girl" to "Moondance" waxing sentimental here about love, dawn drives through the country, and God.
From the smash hit opener of "Whenever God Shines His Light", sung with British rock icon Cliff Richard, to the thoughtful and pensive "Coney Island", Van shows why he is such an enduring presence in the contemporary pop music scene. Diffidently intelligent, Morrison muses about the strains of contemporary culture in "I'm Tired, Joey Boy", and waxes eloquently about his re-found Christian faith in "When Will I Ever Learn To Live In God?", which is also my personal favorite here. Also noteworthy are "Orangefield", "These Are The Days", and a smashing rendition of "Daring Night". In fact, I really like all of the cuts here, but have to admit I still like the long-time hit garnered here with "Have I Told you Lately", which Van admitted was a self-conscious effort to emulate the work of Frank Sinatra with an out-and-out love song. This album is a keeper, and one you are sure to enjoy. I still do!
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