Keep It Simple (Remastered) Van Morrison
Label: Legacy Recordings
Subgenre: Blues Rock
Artist: Van Morrison
Album including Album cover
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- 1How Can a Poor Boy?05:43
- 2School of Hard Knocks03:44
- 3That's Entrainment04:32
- 4Don't Go to Nightclubs Anymore04:31
- 5Lover Come Back05:15
- 6Keep It Simple03:34
- 7End of the Land03:16
- 8Song of Home04:13
- 9No Thing04:31
- 11Behind the Ritual06:59
Info for Keep It Simple (Remastered)
Keep It Simple is the thirty-third solo studio album recorded by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison. It was released on 17 March 2008 (see 2008 in music) by Exile Productions Ltd./Polydor in the UK and on the Lost Highway Records label on 1 April 2008, in the U.S.. His previous studio album Pay the Devil was also released on the Lost Highway label, in March 2006. The album debuted at No. 10 on the US, UK and Canada charts and No. 7 on European Top 100 Albums. This album achieved Morrison's highest ranking in US charts.
This is the first studio album of all new original material since his 1999 album Back on Top. Other albums released since then have contained some cover songs. The May 2005 album, Magic Time, was composed of ten originals and three cover songs.
The album features most of the various genres that Morrison has been influenced by such as jazz, folk, blues, celtic, country, soul and gospel.
"Keep It Simple is a mantra for Van Morrison, as he stripped his music down to the bare basics years ago and then comfortably rode that groove, comprised in equal parts of blues, soul, jazz, and country. Van has been riding this groove so long that it's hard to pinpoint exactly when he settled into it, but looking back, things started to shift in the mid-'90s, as understated R&B rhythms took precedence and he started to punctuate them with country songs (or in the case of Pay the Devil, an entire LP of country tunes). Despite his new label Lost Highway's insistence that the fact this is his first album of all-original material since 1999's Back on Top, Keep It Simple doesn't feel all that different than the records since 1999, either in its feel or in structure, nor does it help that Van's songs play with older tunes, both in their lyrics and their very titles ("That's Entrainment," of course, but "Don't Go to Nightclubs" is a winning spin on "Don't Get Around Much Anymore"). Familiarity can breed contempt -- and there's no denying that there is no figure as stubborn in popular music than Van Morrison, so it'd be easy for the cynical to assume that his refusal to change is a mere spiteful act, just as it would be easy for some listeners to think all his albums sound the same, because they kind of do -- but familiarity can also deepen the music, which is the case with Morrison. This is lived-in, soulful music, the kind that can only be made after years of playing the classics, and if that doesn't quite make for a compelling album, it does make for a comforting one. It's as easy to slip into this album as it is a warm bath, as Van's cantankerous rumblings only surface (quite slyly) on the closing "Behind the Ritual," where he scats "blah blah blah" on the corner, suggesting that whatever he's singing doesn't really matter -- and, in a way, he may be right, as the lyrics, the songs even, don't matter as much as the overall sound on Keep It Simple, which is as pure a groove album as he's ever made. There are no surprises, but when you do something this well, there doesn't need to be." (Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG)
One of music’s true originals Van Morrison’s unique and inspirational musical legacy is rooted in postwar Belfast.
Born in 1945 Van heard his Shipyard worker father’s collection of blues, country and gospel early in life.
Feeding off musical greats such as Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Muddy Waters, Mahalia Jackson and Leadbelly he was a travelling musician at 13 and singing, playing guitar and sax, in several bands, before forming Them in 1964.
Making their name at Belfast’s Maritime Club Them soon established Van as a major force in the British R&B scene. Morrison’s matchless vocal and songwriting talents produced instant classics such as the much covered ‘Gloria’ and ‘Here Comes The Night’.
Those talents found full astonishing range in Van’s solo career.
After working with Them’s New York producer Bert Berns on beautiful Top 40 pop hit ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ (1967), Morrison moved to another realm.
Recorded over 3 days with legendary jazz musicians Astral Weeks (1968) is a still singular album combining street poetry, jazz improvisation, Celtic invocation and Afro Celtic Blues wailing.
Morrison would weave these and myriad other influences into the albums that followed in quick succession.
Reflecting on new life in America on the joyous Sinatra soul of Moondance (1970) and the country inflected Tupelo Honey (1971) he summoned old spiritual and ancestral life in the epic St Dominic’s Preview (1972) closer track Listen To The Lion.
Double live album Too Late To Stop Now (1973) highlighted Morrison’s superlative performing and bandleader skills. Mapping out a richly varied musical course throughout the 70s he shone among an all-star cast including Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters on The Band’s Last Waltz.
Indeed, borne of his Irish Showband instincts, the magic of the live performance has been a consistent feature of Morrison’s career.
Settling back into life in the UK in 1980 he released Common One an album centring on Summertime In England an extraordinary invocation of literary, sensual and spiritual pleasure the song would often become a thrilling improvised centrepiece to his live shows.
Steering his own course throughout the 80s on albums such as No Guru, No Method, No Teacher he claimed Celtic roots with The Chieftains on Irish Heartbeat. Teaming with Georgie Fame brought new impetus to his live show while Avalon Sunset saw him back in the album and single charts by the decades end.
Van Morrison continued to advance on his status as a game- changing artist through the 90s and into the 21st century.
Awards and accolades - a Brit, an OBE, an Ivor Novello, 6 Grammys, honourary doctorates from Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, entry into The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and the French Ordres Des Artes Et Des Lettres - attested to the international reach of Van’s musical art.
Yet there was never any suggestion that Morrison, one of the most prolific recording artists and hardest working live performers of his era, would ever rest on his laurels.
Collaborations with, among others, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, Lonnie Donegan, Mose Allison and Tom Jones confirmed the breadth of his musical reach.
Morrison’s visionary songwriting and mastery of many genres continued to shine on albums celebrating and re-exploring his blues, jazz, skiffle and country roots.
The influence of the musical journey that began back in Post War Belfast stretches across the generations, and Morrison’s questing hunger insures that the journey itself continues.
Constantly reshaping his musical history in live performance, Morrison reclaimed Astral Weeks on 2009’s album Live At The Hollywood Bowl.
The subtitle of Van Morrison's latest 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."
With one of the most revered catalogues in music history and his unparalleled talents as composer, singer and performer Morrison’s past achievements loom large. But, as throughout his extraordinary career, how that past informs his future achievements and still stirs excitement and keen anticipation.
This album contains no booklet.