Ireland's greatest pop singer/songwriter is back in action with his latest self-produced album, `Magic Time,' featuring ten new Van Morrison songs as well as interpretations of three jazz classics 'This Love Of Mine', 'I'm Confessin', and 'Lonely And Blue'. Magic Time' is Van's first new album of originals since 2003's Grammy nominated `What's Wrong With This Picture?' and is the 38th solo release of his illustrious career. Geffen. 2005.
Like a human infusion of chamomile tea, hearing Van Morrison's voice has the effect of instantly soothing even the most stressed listener. That said, some of his releases have been so mellow that they muted the '60s soul influences that had been a part of Van's appeal. Not so with Magic Time
, a wonderful balance of groove and smoothness, with a "live off the floor" feel evident throughout the disc. Right from the start "Stranded" shows Van at his crooner best--relaxed, present, and joyful. "Celtic New Year" comes next with a very Astral Weeks
feel, leading one to believe that this disc might be sedentary through and through
until "Keep Mediocrity at Bay" kicks in, a feisty blues romp proving that though in his sixties, Morrison still has the sass of his best previous days. Morrison's cover of Sinatra
's brassy "This Love of Mine" and Perry Como
's "I'm Confessin'" are full of cheek and charm. Morrison-as-producer has chosen stellar horn sections that elevate the music from good to great and come from an obvious deep love of classic blues and soul. He's a lover and a fighter (the disc has two references to his disdain of the music industry: "They Sold Me Out" and "Carry On Regardless"), but ultimately true to his own musical vision. This destined-to-be-classic release will please a wide variety of his fans. --Denise Sheppard
Essential Van Morrison