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Pay the Devil

Van MorrisonAudio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)

Price: $33.49 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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The subtitle of Van Morrison's new album, Born to Sing: No Plan B, indicates the power that music still holds for this living legend. "No Plan B means this is not a rehearsal," says Morrison. "That’s the main thing—it’s not a hobby, it’s real, happening now, in real time."

This sense of absolute conviction, which has ... Read more in Amazon's Van Morrison Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 7, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: 2006
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Lost Highway
  • ASIN: B000E6EIT4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,139 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. There Stands The Glass
2. Half As Much
3. Things Have Gone To Pieces
4. Big Blue Diamonds
5. Playhouse
6. Your Cheatin' Heart
7. Don't You Make Me High
8. My Buckets Got A Hole In It
9. Back Street Affair
10. Pay The Devil
11. What Am I Living For
12. This Has Got To Stop
13. Once A Day
14. More and More
15. Till I Gain Control Again

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Pay The Devil is comprised of 15 tracks; three of these are originals and 12 are covers of some of Van Morrison's favorite classic country songs, including 'Your Cheatin Heart', 'Things Have Gone To Pieces' and 'Big Blue Diamonds'. Lost Highway. 2006.

With stunning album-length explorations of jazz and 1950s acoustic skiffle and a country-rockabilly collaboration with Linda Gail Lewis behind him, Van Morrison continues exploring classic country with compelling reinterpretations of standards from the 1950s to the 1970s. He reaches back over half a century for Hank Williams Sr.'s "Half As Much," "Your Cheatin' Heart," and "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It" and Webb Pierce's landmark honky-tonk hits "Back Street Affair," "There Stands the Glass," and "More and More." Moving to the mid-'60s, he capably explores George Jones's "Things Have Gone to Pieces" and Connie Smith's "Once a Day." The 1970s are his limit, however, as he probes Rodney Crowell's "'Til I Gain Control Again." Three Morrison originals blend nicely into this mix, as do two non-country favorites: Chuck Willis's "What Am I Living For" and a gleeful spin on Blue Lu Barker's 1938 jazzy, single-entendre favorite "Don't You Make Me High." Recorded in Ireland with uncluttered hard-country backing, Pay the Devil reiterates Morrison's own musical diversity and flair for making any song his own. --Rich Kienzle

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Belfast Cowboy Rides May 6, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Full spectrum "country", from the humorous ("Don't You Feel My Leg") to the heart-rending ("Till I Gain Control Again") to parody of country music heartache lists ("Things Have Gone to Pieces") to anger with a backbeat ("This Has Got To Stop") to Hank Williams ("Half as Much") to rockabilly ("My Bucket's Got a Hole in It"). Like a lot of Van's albums, this music gets in your head and grows with time. The voice-as-instrument sounds like blasts from a well-payed horn. And speaking of playing, one of the benefits of being a Van Morrison fan is the perfection he demands of his backing musicians. This excellent band has more of a Bob Wills "roots" country feel, with some killer fiddle. I usually play my CD's on random play in a 200 disk changer, but this one I play front to back frequently since I bought it. Probably too subtle in its musical merits for the average country fan.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Second Time's the Charm April 18, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Van Morrison has been one of my favorites for nearly forty years as I have followed the highs and lows of his storied career. I can find something to like in almost anything he's done even when he departs far from his usual range of styles.

Several years ago, he took a detour into country and rockabilly with Linda Gail Lewis. In my opinion, that effort came up short. This time is different, it seems as though the second time's the charm. Though Van Morrison will likely never be the toast of Nashville, Pay the Devil rates much higher in listenability than his last country outing. The superb musicianship here more than makes up for any lack of country twang in Morrison's voice.

If you don't like country music, you probably won't like this CD even if you are a confirmed Van fan. On this CD, Van harks back to the country sounds of a half-century ago. No smarmy pop infusions here, the music is as authentic and sometimes as corny as he can possibly make it.

My favorites are Half As Much, My Bucket's Got A Hole In It, Back Street Affair, the title cut, What Am I Living For?, Once A Day, and More and More.

There are also a couple of songs I don't really care for. Things Have Gone To Pieces is beyond corny with its litany of complaints, large and small. Then, although it is amusing, Don't You Make Me High doesn't really fit the country mood. I heard it years ago by Maria Muldaur and I hear it more as a lounge song than a country one.

Is there any song that is quintessentially Van Morrison? Well, yes. Even though it is steeped in country instumentation, This Has Got To Stop has Morrison's stamp all over it.

So, if you are a Van Morrison fan who also happens to like a touch of country, then you will likely enjoy this CD. I like it, and although its not my favorite, there is enough here to give it a solid four star rating. Listen and hear what I mean!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The True King of the Road April 22, 2006
Format:Audio CD
It is Friday night April 21st, 2006 in my part of the world. Just after midnight on a star-filled night. I know it was star-filled because I was fortunate enough to witness Van Morrison live in concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Van was in peak form. His band consisted of the most astonishing musicians in music today. I wish every young musician within a ten billion mile radius could have been there. Van played guitar, harmonica, saxophone and sang with more soul than any performer this side of Aretha or Ray. He smoked. And he performed half the songs on this CD. And he smoked. Don't pay attention to the carping blah, blah, blah in many of the reviews below. Van is and always will be the Man. Along with Aretha and Dylan, he only gets better with time. I raise my glass to you, Mr. Morrison.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it's country, but it's still Van March 9, 2006
By twohoos
Format:Audio CD
Van has always considered himself a working-class musician, so to speak. Though his current wealth means he never needs to take the stage again, he nevertheless plays over 100 live dates a year, encompassing an astonishing variety of supporting musicians and musical styles. In that sense, his records are only half the story (if that). The real truth is that he plays music that's compelling to him, whatever the genre, and doesn't care what anyone else thinks.

People who "hate country music" often don't realize that they just hate "pop" country, the over-twanged, rock-ified, glammed-up junk of CMT. Van reminds us there's a very real, vital connection between C&W's roots and modern blues, jazz and rock; and moreover, that ANY genre's music is good if it communicates with the listener.

It's true there's not much "new" here, but there's no denying that the musical execution is superb. Van's recent U.S. shows revealed him in better spirits than any time in recent memory; he played over half the tracks on this disc during his sets, and enjoyed every minute. So will you.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet and Sharp - Deceptively Well Crafted October 9, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This album is deceptive - on first hearing in a setting with lots of distractions, it actually sounded unremarkeable, as if the songs were done almost casually, one or 2 takes each. But as I listened again, I was stopped when I heared that familiar sharp, plangent, emphatic and superbly modulated voice reaching for real feeling in "What Am I Living For?" - "hey, he cares about this stuff!" I said to myself. At the end of that song someone (Van?) says "hey, that was worth it." Indeed it was! - great country soul singing of a not-normally-country tune. The next tune, a Van original, "This Has Got To Stop," knocked me out - uncompromising deeply felt lyrics, rolling beat, syncopated shouts - a real Van Morrison song, country style. Then the rest of the record came clear to me. There are some great renditions of songs that should sound completely hackneyed, a la Ray Charles' "Modern Sounds," which may well have been the starting place for this record. And - the crucial test - his Hank songs add to the vocabulary. Van doesn't give anything away to any country singer, or even Ray. He channels that feisty, angry, hurt, caring persona into some great country music - this said by a guy (me) who owns 20+ each of Hank Williams and George Jones records, 30+ Ralph Stanley/Stanley Bros. records, and everything Merle Haggard, ever did, etc.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
High quality item and fast delivery
Published 8 days ago by John Carbonell
5.0 out of 5 stars Good country . . .
The purest country you will ever find outside of Nashville. Van could sing the phonebook and do it great.
Published 2 months ago by Dagny
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Van Morrison!
Published 2 months ago by Teri
4.0 out of 5 stars THE DEVIL MADE HIM DO IT
VAN MORRISON-PAY THE DEVIL: Throughout the decades, a number of pop stars, from JERRY LEE LEWIS to B. J. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jukebox Dave
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
Great music from Van the Man. A sense of play, life love and loss. It's all there and more! Love it
Published 13 months ago by Andy Mac
5.0 out of 5 stars Truckstop Mystic
I didn't know about this cd.
Having been a big fan of Van and just discovering Roseanne Cash this is an exciting find for me because it really is pure country, recorded in... Read more
Published 16 months ago by rastaman
5.0 out of 5 stars Van does Country
Van Morrison can sing ANYTHING, but this collection of country songs is great, even if you don't like country music!
Published 17 months ago by Fritzi Wellman
5.0 out of 5 stars Always Morrison
Van Morrison has once again proven you can't peg him. He has taken country songs and put his twist on them so that you are reminded of greats like Hank Williams Sr. Read more
Published on January 7, 2012 by Bill Mosca
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, The Belfast Cowboy Rides Again
Apparently just now, although this time rather accidentally, I am on something of an outlaw country moment tear, again. Read more
Published on June 5, 2011 by Alfred Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Morrison's Pay the Devil
What a gem this cd the entire package, with a special fondness for "There Stands A Glass", recorded by others such as (the original) Web Pierce, Loretta Lynn and George... Read more
Published on May 13, 2011 by Rhonda Markham
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