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47 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 19, 1990
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$23.65 $3.12
Vinyl, July 1, 1991
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Editorial Reviews

Its title seems squarely in the pilgrim's camp, where much of Van Morrison's '80s music dwells, but 1990's Enlightenment offsets new glimpses of Morrison's oft-sought Avalon ("Avalon of the Heart") with darker confessions of human frailty and challenged faith. The opening "Real Real Gone" belies its hard-charging R&B verve (a welcome return to high-octane soul after his relatively becalmed, then-recent work) with admissions of weakness, and even the lyrical title song reveals confusion more than salvation. A few years later, such defeats might have prompted one of his crankier outbursts, but this set is brightened by the joyful reminiscences of "Youth of 1,000 Summers" and the epic "In the Days Before Rock 'n' Roll," in which Morrison's declamatory fervor is matched by poet Paul Durcan. The latter song is a gloriously apt Morrison moment, exulting in Little Richard as though he walked the same astral plane as William Blake--which, in Morrison's world, is exactly the point. --Sam Sutherland

1. Real Real Gone
2. Enlightenment
3. So Quiet In Here
4. Avalon Of The Heart
5. See Me Through
6. Youth Of 1,000 Summers
7. In The Days Before Rock 'n' Roll
8. Start All Over Again
9. She's My Baby
10. Memories

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 19, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Polydor Records
  • ASIN: B000001FZ8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,420 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By D. Hawkins on January 4, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Most Van the Man albums have great examples of his spiritual side, but this one might have more SPIRIT than any of them. This is sadly not one of Van's most popular (based on the sales rank here), but it offers a great recipe for how to live one's life. Starting off with "Real Real Gone," he tells us "And Sam Cooke is on the radio/And the night is filled with space/And your fingertips touch my face/And I'm real real gone." This certainly illustrates the magical power that music has over us. The title track preaches for us to "Chop that wood/Carry water" since focusing on such mundance tasks is the key to being truly ALIVE. Following these two magnificent tracks, we have "So Quiet in Here" and "Avalon of the Heart." If Heaven has a waiting room, then these two songs are on constant rotation, as there is no other place these songs could have come from. Needless to say, Van's magical voice on these two songs can bring anyone with a soul to tears. Following this, there are many other wonderful songs to choose from, from "Start All Over Again" to "Memories" to the quaint song that grows on you, "In the Days Before Rock and Roll." My words have probably failed to explain exactly how transcendent this album is, but it's certainly the most undiscovered "gem" in Van's massive catalog. I am in the process of burning a CD of all my favorite Van songs. As any true fan knows, that's a pretty daunting task narrowing the best of Van down to 80 minutes, but I'm sure some songs from this CD will make the cut. To sum this album up using Van's own words from "So Quiet in Here": "This must be what paradise is like!!!"
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By John E on June 26, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This is a record I listen to from start to finish. No desire or need to mess with it all. Just put it on, and take the journey. Another thing about this wonderful cd-it never loses its juice. I've heard it literally dozens of times now, and it still shines as bright as it ever did. Great production, tight, polished musicianship, and terrific songwriting; you can't go wrong with this Morrison release. Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
"Enlightenment" is part of the 2nd wave of Van Morrison remastered reissues to hit the shops in 2008 (see full list below). Released Monday 30 June 2008 in the UK and 1 July 2008 in the USA, it also boasts an upgraded booklet and 2 bonus tracks for the first time.

Here's the layout (58:52 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 10 make up the original album - it was released in October 1990 on Polydor
Tracks 11 and 12 are previously unreleased bonus tracks - "Enlightenment (Alternate Take)" and "So Quiet In Here (Alternate Take)"

The upgraded booklet has the lyrics to the two Alternate Takes after the rest of the album, session notes and beneath the see-through inlay is a photo that matches the original artwork. Disappointingly, there's no new liner notes, no interview, no photos - but the really greats news is the remaster - the original analogue tapes have been 96K/24Bit Remastered for this release and the sound quality is superlative - much better than the very quiet sound that came off the original 1990 CD. I've waited 18 years to hear "See Me Through" in this sound quality - and it was worth the wait.

The bonus tracks are a mixed bag; the alternate version of "Enlightenment" is heavy on the vocals and the keyboards - while Georgie Fame's tinkering is lovely, Van's vocals are very forced and it sounds like what it is - a run-through - a take trying to find the true soul of the song. It's good, but nowhere near as good as the finished take. "So Quite In Here" fares better - it's delicate, lovely in places - and deserves the moniker of `bonus track'.

"Enlightenment is "Avalon Sunset" Part 2 and a firm fan favourite - this excellent remaster finally gives it the sonic muscle it's long deserved. Recommended.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on May 7, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For anyone who marveled at Van Morrison's amazing comeback album "Avalon Sunset" released in 1989, this follow up album working the same themes was a very satisfying demonstration of just how deep and strong Van Morrison's enduring talents seemed to be. Like the previous album, this one offers a startling range of styles, subject matter, and themes, but all the songs 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, like the one before it, cemented once again Morrison's reputation 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, listening to the radio as a boy, and reflecting about the meaning of enlightenment. From the wonderfully lyric and memorable title song of "enlightenment" to the final cut "Memories', Van shows why he is such an enduring presence in the contemporary pop music scene. Thoughtful, melodically unique, and yet still operating within the realm of pop standards, Morrison muses about his personal dilemma in "Quiet In Here", the satisfaction of the quiet life in an amazing "Avalon Of The Heart", and a live version of "Real, Real Gone". In fact, I really like all of the cuts here; this album is a keeper, and one you are sure to enjoy. I still do!
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