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The Healing Game


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Audio CD, March 4, 1997
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VAN MORRISON

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 4, 1997)
  • Original Release Date: March 4, 1997
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Polydor / Umgd
  • ASIN: B000005ILN
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,528 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Rough God Goes Riding
2. Fire In The Belly
3. This Weight
4. Waiting Game
5. Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
6. Burning Ground
7. It Once Was My Life
8. Sometimes We Cry
9. If You Love Me
10. The Healing Game

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Cranky, sly, dour, ecstatic, Van Morrison treads his own stubborn pilgrimage through blues, jazz, R&B, Celtic rays, and their ineffable junction in his own music. This 1997 album distills the renewed focus on blues and jazz sources that shaped much of his '90s work, noteworthy for its concision--this is one of his leanest, least expository sets in recent years, paring the arrangements down to the guts of the generally fine material. "Rough God Goes Riding" kicks off, an archetypal Morrison anthem that could have fit snugly on Moondance, no mean achievement after all these years, yet consistent with this marathon runner's ability to turn up vivid images and engaging grooves. There's a decided gospel fervor to the interplay of the frontman's salty vocals and his soulful choral partners, never more so than on the sublime title song. --Sam Sutherland

Customer Reviews

This is one of my favorite cd's by Van, so I will share my extra with someone else!
H. McBride
All the classic Van touches are there, the great songwriting, his soulful vocals, and saxophone and female backing vocals used to great effect.
Robert Orme
One need only listen to the title song, The Healing Game, to hear the magic of one of the all-time greats still on top of his game.
IJEFF

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Robert Orme on July 21, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I see I am the first to write a review of this Van Morrison record which was released way back in 1997, and it doesn't surprise me. Why? Because this record never gets mentioned along with the classic Van Morrison records, and it should. You may recognize the blistering hit, "The Burning Ground." But this record is good from start to finish, not a weak cut to be had. All the classic Van touches are there, the great songwriting, his soulful vocals, and saxophone and female backing vocals used to great effect. A GREAT, heartfelt, and largely overlooked Van Morrison record.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Steven Lyle on January 31, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is my favorite Van Morrison CD. The first time I heard the title cut, on San Francisco's KFOG in 1997, my stomach was jumping. The second time, under the headphones at Virgin Records, I started to cry. I defy you to find a better song, by anyone. By turns breezy, joyful, heart wrenching and soulful, it completely overshadows the rest of this very fine album, until you take time to listen to it carefully. Rough God Goes Riding, Burning Ground, Fire in the Belly, Sometimes We Cry, The Healing Game. Great, great songs. Sing it out loud.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By 33-year old wallflower on July 26, 2002
Format: Audio CD
It's no secret that as prolific as Van Morrison has been throughout his career, occasionally, he's created music that just isn't up to his best work. The 1980s saw him on a spiritual journey that often lead to music that was the definition of pretentious. 1989's AVALON SUNSET saw him easing up on the religion & returning to earth, even though the most famous song "Have I Told You Lately" (no matter what the sales say, Rod's version is not better than Van's) had a slight religious bent. But the 1990s had Van continuing to operate on autopilot for the most part with some albums it seemed were recorded just for the sake of getting another one out. However, there were times when it looked like Van was getting back to greatness again. One of them was 1997's THE HEALING GAME.
The blues & jazz that Van grew up with had made a resurgence in his '90s music, his 1993 album TOO LONG IN EXILE being the most obvious example. But where as that album was rather misguided & overlong, THE HEALING GAME remains close to that album's style, only shorter & less complex. Also, contrary to what most people have said, the use of background singers on the album actually enhances it, not hinders it. Van after all is one of the more soulful White singers in the business, so he can easily get up & sing next to the greats.
The opening "Rough God Goes Riding" would seem like another experiment into religious territory, but from what I read about it at the time, Van was commenting on the war in Bosnia & I can certainly see where he was going with this song. Right from the beginning, it's plain to see surrounding himself with crack R&B-jazz musicians has given Van a little shot in the arm.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ron Radish on May 27, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I bought this CD when it first came out in 1997. I'd been listening to Van Morrison since 1970, and had many favorite, life-changing songs from all through his wonderful career. The title track of this album ("The Healing Game") became one of these --and I was particularly floored by the last section of the song in which a glorious horn section rises up and Van sings almost in counterpart to it for nearly two minutes. Magnificent.
However, I recently downloaded the remastered "Healing Game" on my ITUNES and discovered that -- in remastering -- somebody had buried those glorious horns in the mix. They're still there, but without the prominence and majesty of the original. I can't speak for what the rest of the album sounds like remastered but hear this -- the last two minutes of "The Healing Game" have been dramatically altered -- and in my mind, not for the better. Fortunately I still have my original CD and so can listen to the original version. I realize this probably sounds like nitpicking but if you imagine any single component that makes a favorite record of yours special --a guitar solo or a particular harmony -- and then imagine the frustration you'd feel in hearing that part diminished -- you will know what I'm talking about.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Capt. Freaky on December 14, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I have almost every Van Morrison CD....but this is the clearest recording of them all. Add to that pleasant surprise was of the 10 songs on this CD..all ten were fantastic and easy to listen to over and over....

A highly enjoyable listening experience....the best song in my opinion was "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn"...

WOW! If you like "Van the Man"...this is a must have for your collection!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By hermit the frog on April 8, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Van runs the musical gamut from A to Z (also, his output can run the gamut from A+ to F). The 90s for him have been like the 80s for Joni Mitchell--creatively uneven but still always worth a try. Morrison comes out ahead in this comparison by virtue of his eye-popping prolificness - with him, more sticks to the wall because he throws so much of it.
The Healing Game is a pivotal album in this cycle--it's tight, concise, with a crisp, understated sound. The songwriting is lean also--less visionary and more intimate. Most importantly, the album works as a whole, something that most of Van's more recent works have failed to do. This one's a keeper.
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