Van Morrison

Keep it Simple - Exile 2008

Tracks: 1. How Can a Poor Boy? / 2. School of Hard Knocks / 3. Thatís Entrainment / 4. Don't Go to Nightclubs Anymore / 5. Lover Come Back / 6. Keep It Simple / 7. End of the Land / 8. Song of Home / 9. No Thing / 10. Soul / 11. Behind the Ritual

Comments:

Van Morrison continues steadily to release new albums year after year. Even though there may not anything new and different to find by the now elderly and very experienced singer and songwriter, he is once again presenting an album with good and listenable songs.

Morrison draws a lot from his usual favorite genres, blues, soul and gospel - this not so much from the jazz , which he periodically has flirted with . A little pop and country also appear here and there. Morrison's vocals are still strong and musically the songs are backed solidly by the likes of Paul Moore, John Allair , Ned Edwards, Neil Williamson and not least the legendary guitarist Mike Green.

As mentioned, the songs are generally fine; a few perhaps a bit too predictable. A couple may lead your mind towards his classic " Brown Eyed Girl" , especially "That's Entrainment" . Also the melodic "School of Hard Knocks" has something very classical and comfortably familiar about it.

There are also a few very fine soul -inspired songs like the title track "Keep it Simple" and "End of the Land", the latter also incorporates some gospel, the same could be said about "Soul", which also is one of the less significant numbers of album.

The country genre is touched upon with the delicate ballad "Song of Home" and "No Thing" . The final track "Behind the Ritual", which is actually a fine song is for me partially destroyed by Morrisons apparently unengaged way of singing, band especially the annoying "Blah blah" verse. The blues based songs are okay, but really not much more.

Still all in all a satisfying album from Morrison, who offers his usual qualities in strong vocals, good songs and solid musicianship, but don't expect anything new and groundbreaking .


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