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Down the Road

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Audio CD, May 14, 2002
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Van Morrison Moondance Deluxe Edition Animation Video


On his brand new 35TH studio album DUETS: RE-WORKING THE CATALOGUE set for release in March 2015, Van Morrison is looking back over his career with a little help from his friends. How did this visionary performer make the long and tumultuous journey from the back streets of Belfast to Madison Square Garden and beyond? Assembling a roster of VIP guests, DUETS: RE-WORKING THE CATALOGUE creates a ... Read more in Amazon's Van Morrison Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 14, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Umvd Labels
  • ASIN: B0000646UW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,917 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Down the Road
2. Meet Me in the Indian Summer
3. Steal My Heart Away
4. Hey Mr DJ
5. Talk is Cheap
6. Choppin' Wood
7. What Makes The Irish Heart Beat
8. All work and No Play
9. Whatever Happened to PJ Proby ?
10. The Beauty of the Days Gone BY
11. Georgia on my Mind
12. Only a Dream
13. Man Has to Struggle

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2002 album with 2 UK bonus tracks added 'Evening Shadows' & 'Fast Train'.


Van Morrison's childhood was steeped in American music, in part because he grew up the son of a rabid collector of classic jazz and R&B records. Morrison's infatuation with the music understandably led to the raucous, blues-rooted performances of Them and his early solo records, but it also inspired his long, oft-misunderstood journey to find music more spiritually and geocentrically rooted. This inviting, if typically restive, collection brings the singer full circle, suggesting you can indeed go home again--and that your life's journey just might make you appreciate it with new eyes. Thirteen of these tracks are Morrison originals, though they have a warm, almost subliminal familiarity. Good-natured shuffles like the title track, "Choppin' Wood," and "Hey Mr. DJ" have a nostalgic edge that sharpens considerably on the jaunty "Whatever Happened to PJ Proby?," where Morrison grouses, "Nothin' much to relate to anymore / 'less you wanna be mediocre." But there's considerably more than simple blues redux on Morrison's agenda, as his graceful ballad "Steal My Heart Away" and sublime covers of Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia" and Acker Bilk's "Evening Shadows" (originally an instrumental but now with lyrics by Morrison and an evocative, signature clarinet solo from Bilk himself) prove. A return to the classic Morrison sound, perhaps, but one gratifyingly informed by three decades of musical and spiritual pondering. --Jerry McCulley

Customer Reviews

You must also be somewhat of a Van fan to even get this far, so my advice to you is to buy it and you will eventually love it.
Tim Hastings
If you are a fan of Van Morrison, and have followed him "Down the Road", then this is another great album to add to you collection.
Highlights of this CD are Down the Road, What Makes the Irish Heart Beat, Beauty of the Days Gone By, Only a Dream, and Fast Train.
Leslie Berg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Nowhere Man VINE VOICE on May 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The last time Van Morrison cut an album of original material, "Back on Top" (1999), he appeared to be letting the production overwhelm the songs. Moving (once again) away from the soulful R&B inspired music that he'd rediscovered on 1997's "The Healing Game", it appeared that Van was drifting back into soft (and soft-headed) overly-lush musical arrangements more appropriate for lite-jazz stations or retirement parties.
This new compilation shows Van back in stride - "Down the Road" is perhaps his best return to form since "Hymns to the Silence" (1991). As on that great double album, Van taps into and invokes the musical hertiage that has powered his finest efforts over the past 30 years - the title track, a mid-tempo re-write of "Real Real Gone", "Hey Mr. DJ" which evokes the best of Sam Cooke, "PJ Proby", "The Beauty of the Days Gone By" and the final track "Fast Train" all reflect his continuing fascination with the soulful side of R&B and demonstrate his ability to construct tight compelling arrangements that add depth to traditional bluesy melodic structures. His rendition of Carmichel's "Georgia on My Mind" recalls his "Just a Close Walk with Thee" on "Silence" - Van wraps his growling voice around this standard and brings out all the yearning he can muster. It's an amazing performance.
The high points on "Down the Road" probably aren't as high as those on "The Healing Game": three tracks off that album - "Rough God Goes Riding", "Piper At the Gates of Dawn", and the title track stand as three of the finest songs he's ever done.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful By David Kinney on May 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Ya'll know how there are people called Deadheads? Well, I am a Van Man. I'm just about as obsessive about Van Morrison as those Deadheads are about whatever the name of that group is.So I hold Van Morrison's recorded output to a higher standard than the casual fan would or should. They're probably not many casual Van fans anyway so I'll cut to the quick here and just say that it's Mr. Morrison's best offering since "Hymns For The Silence".I played it the first time and dug the obvious Van fan stuff like "Hey Mr. DJ",and "Choppin' Wood" (a lovely tribute to his hard working dad), but as usual with Van ,it's the oddball,slightly skewed stuff that sticks. On this CD the standout cuts all share the same iconaclastic terrain that Van has been mining throughout his career, whenever, seemingly , he feels like it. "Whatever Happened To P.J. Proby", "Fast Train","Down The Road", and a stone knockout version of "Georgia On My Mind" are just a sampling of some of the best stuff this reluctant master has released in a decade. Yeah, I'm excited. I'm A Van Man ya'll!Oh and P.S all you other Van trainspotters out there. This one has the great, 70's, Marin County, Van Morrison Band alumni David Hayes on bass, and John Allair on Hammond B-3 on half the tracks. Ruff! Go fetch it!
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Harding VINE VOICE on October 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've read about half of the reviews of this CD that are posted here and I have listened to the CD at least 50 times. I don't understand those who dismiss Down the Road because it is not Moondance or Astral Weeks. Of course it isn't, but can't those critics hear that the spirit of those long ago days still haunts Van Morrison's soul?
Personally, I think that this is Van's best, most well-rounded album since Too Long In Exile. It has all the joyful bounce of Street Choir and Moondance as well as a taste of his introspective mid-period moods.
My favorites are Talk is Cheap, Choppin' Wood (OK, the background vocals are obnoxious but its still a great song), the maligned All Work and No Play (its those background vocals again), the soulful Whatever Happened To PJ Proby, Only A Dream, and Evening Shadows.
That last merits special mention. Originally written as an instrumental by 50s soft-jazz pioneer Acker Bilk, Van adds lyrics to Evening Shadows which really fit the music then brings Bilk aboard to do a clarinet solo on his own music brought to life! Tremendous!
About the only song I don't care for is Van's rendition of Georgia On My Mind, but then that song has never been a favorite anyhow.
I'm with the reviewer who said he did not care if Van broke no new ground. He has given the world forty years of wonderful music and its hard to see what new ground he could possibly break. I highly recommend Down the Road to one and all.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "scotlandforever" on May 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Van continues to amaze after all these years! This album compares favorably with the great Healing Game and the superb
Back On Top of recent years. In fact, this album arguably has some of Van's best songs of the past decade. Note the title track, "Choppin' Wood", "Steal My Heart Away", "Only A Dream",
and the amazing "Fast Train", which reminds one of the classic
"The Waiting Game", especially the harmonica intro. If that were not enough, listen to the exquisite rendition of "Georgia On My Mind".
Some of the tracks here evoke some of Van's earlier 80's and 90's work, especially "Only A Dream", a gem in itself. The
beautiful piano and sax work here is welcome return to the jazzier side of Morrison. And the lilting "That's What Makes the Irish Heart Beat" is evocative of the early 70's Tupelo Honey and Hard Nose the Highway, with a country and western feel. Beautiful!
In "The Beauty of the Days Gone By", Van sings, "...lift your glass and raise it high/to the beauty of the days gone by".
Amen! But Van is creating beauty still, to "keep me young as I
grow old". This is a great hymn led by acoustic guitar with a wonderful organ part. It sends me back to Avalon Sunset and even Saint Dominic's Preview. To keep me young, indeed!
With his triumphant trio of The Healing Game, Back On Top, and now Down the Road, Van has once again proven, along with Neil Young, and even Bob Dylan, that age is no barrier to true genius. I'm already looking forward to his next classic!
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