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Beautiful Vision

43 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Beautiful Vision + Into the Music + Common One
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Editorial Reviews

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This 1982 sleeper captures Van Morrison banking the fires of his more urgent, R&B-flavored '70s classics to sculpt a quieter, contemplative synthesis laced with Celtic flourishes, minimalist synthesizers, and the skeletal horn charts of saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis and trumpeter-synthesist Mark Isham. Neither as expansive as the pastoral jazz meditations of the underrated Common One nor as limpid as the glossier, sometimes gloomier confessional pop that dominates his later-'80s albums, Beautiful Vision hews to ballads and loping, midtempo songs that allow Morrison gentle foils for his unmistakable vocal melismas. On its best tracks, "Dweller on the Threshold," "Cleaning Windows," "Vanlose Stairway," and "She Gives Me Religion," he alchemizes soul, gospel, and his own Irish roots in a balance he would often pursue from this point forward. --Sam Sutherland


1. Celtic Ray
2. Northern Muse
3. Dweller On The Threshold
4. Beautiful Vision
5. She Gives Me Religion
6. Cleaning Windows
7. Vanlose Stairway
8. Aryan Mist
9. Across The Bridge Where The Angels Dwell
10. Scandinavia

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Original Release Date: 1982
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002KNG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,174 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on August 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I first heard this album when I was living outside London in the early 1980s, and quickly became a re-confirmed Van Morrison fan. No one has a wider range of styles, interpretations, and abilities than Van, and he puts all of his eclectic talents to use here. From the opening "Celtic Ray", a celebration of the simple joys of Irish country life to the final refrains of the instrumentally provocative "Scandanavia', Morrison shows why he has so confounded fans and critics for the last three decades. This album marked a new, less popular, but much more mature style, or styles, since Morrison is so multi-faceted in his approach to each song that it is hard to describe his musical tastes, uses of instruments or arrangements that he has to be heard across a number of albums to recognize common and recurring themes or approaches. There is much to appreciate and enjoy here, from the haunting "Beautiful Vision" to "Dweller On The Threshold" to the comically caustic commentary in "Cleaning Windows", Morrison's take on a multi-talented artist moonlighting as a workman. There are several instrumentals here, and they do much to provide the atmospherics for the mood of the album. My favorite is the aforementioned "Scandanavia", although a number of other songs like "Aryan Mist" have instrumental sections that are absolutely beautiful. Morrison later revved up his career with the blockbuster "Avalon Sunset" album later in the 80s. But all the elements he brought so memorably into that later comeback and reemergence onto the popular charts was here in this album in spades. I think you will a lot to enjoy and appreciate in this sleeper of an album by one of the best of the sixties generation of singer/songwriters. Enjoy!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Chris Lauer(cflauer@us.ibm.com) on September 14, 1999
Format: Audio CD
"Beautiful Vision" is one of Van Morrison's most accessible and enjoyable works. Besides such high quality "hits" as "Dweller On The Threshold", "She Gives Me Religion", and "Cleaning Windows", it also contains the delicate and haunting "Across The Bridge Where Angels Dwell" and the eventual concert favorite "Vanlose Stairway" in its original form. The lyrics are intriguing and the Van's voice is strong and emotional as he sings of his return to his Irish roots. The musical arrangements are just the right balance between pop/rock and Van's unique fusion of jazz, soul, r&b and Lord knows what else. A real winner.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Eric Andreasen on September 24, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I am confounded as to how and why people do not appreciate the greatness of this work. I first heard "Cleaning Windows" while driving from San Francisco to Oakland on the Bay Bridge, and said to myself "I MUST find and purchase this CD!". I have a lot of other Van, but this is still by far the BEST! Seriously. The odd thing is, all the other songs on the CD are masterpieces, also. Some day this work will be rightly appreciated. What's not to love?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Damien Boyd on May 21, 2007
Format: Audio CD
think this may be my favourite Morrison album...but I am still not sure. "Poetic Champions", "Moondance" and "Into the Music" are also favourites, how can I narrrow it down to one? Well, either way this one is special - "Beautiful Vision" really does descend into the meditation and etheral zones and delivers some of the most uplifting popular music ever composed. In this way I see connections with other VM albums (Into the Music's "Healing has begun" and "its all in the Game/You know what they are talking about" and Common one's " summertime in England"). But this one is more consistent in its main themes of love, happiness, nature and spiritual nourishment. The listener may suspend the harsh realities of the modern world and just maybe "chill out" with the aspirational views and sounds. "Celtic Ray" celebrates the links between the Celts of the home countries. "Dweller on the Threshold" may be linked to hope and bravery of choice. "She gives me religion" opens us up to many possibilities but it takes joy in the simple but extemely powerful act of love. Then there a number of jewels that convey the joy of vision through music - "Beautiful Vision", "Aryan Mist" "Vanlose Stairways" and "Scandinavia". These songs are "bridged" by one of Van's most joyful, triumphant and hope-inspiring songs "Across the Bridge where Angels dwell". It's a place I definately want to be. The album ends with the oddity "Cleaning windows", a song that is misplaced on this album. Music for a cold winter's night with the lights down low. Beautiful Vision, Beautiful music.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Todd and In Charge VINE VOICE on January 28, 2005
Format: Audio CD
By the time Van recorded Beautiful Vision, his spiritual journey, first tentatively sketched out in Hard Nose, amplified in bits and pieces in subsequent releases, but really filled out in Common One, had reached the tipping point: He finally put the sounds, the words, the atmosphere, the vision -- into a complete package, and Beautiful Vision is the result. To me every song works and flows gently into the next, revealing additional layers of depth and beauty to Van's journey. The production here is warm and inviting, and the musicianship top-notch, punctuated by Mark Knopfler's tasteful guitar and Mark Isham's pipes.

Although there are other Van albums for other moods, ones that may have more upbeat songs or more spirited performances, it is Beautiful Vision that to me holds up and warrants repeated listens. If this were the only album Van released it would be enough to secure his name in the pantheon. Fortunately it's not, but it's a must-have.
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