Van Morrison – Keep It Simple

van-simple.jpgNot to say he’s phoning it in on this, his 34th studio album, but on the record’s final track, “Behind the Ritual,” Van Morrison simply sings five lines of “blah, blah, blah, blah” – quote unquote.

Van the Man has a reputation for stream-of-consciousness, but it’s a bit much.

“Keep It Simple” isn’t as lazy as all that, but it’s a pretty easygoing affair – and by no means unpleasant. Morrison has gone out of his way to challenge listeners in the past, so the loping blues of “How Can A Poor Boy?” is a welcome respite.

The many strands of influence that inform the Morrison muse are all present here. The gentle ballad “Lover Come Back” blends Celtic echoes with gospel soul. “No Thing,” sounds like it was lifted from a mid-1960’s Ray Charles album – no surprise considering his last disc, “Pay the Devil,” was a modern-day doppelganger for Charles’ two “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music” records.

“After many demands, I’ve destroyed all my plans,” he sings on “End of the Land,” and for much of “Keep it Simple” the finicky Irishman is playing to the mirror, fashion be damned. In anyone else’s hands, that would be a disaster, but he manages to pull it off.

Other highlights include the banjo-driven “Song of Home” – though the fiddle’s a bit too buried for these ears. The jazzy, go with the flow “That’s Entrainment” best sums up the record’s toss-it-all demeanor.

“Keep It Simple” is as fickle as Van Morrison’s mood; he’s not stretching out, breaking into a trot or even breaking a sweat. But it’s all quite enjoyable nonetheless.

2 thoughts on “Van Morrison – Keep It Simple

    Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
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    Hi Michael,

    On behalf of Lost Highway Records, many thanks for plugging Van Morrison’s new album and, if your readers want good quality, non-pirated, preview tracks, full versions of “That’s Entrainment” and “Behind The Ritual” (along with album track samplers) are available for fans and bloggers to listen to (and link to) on Lost Highway’s web-site at .

    Up-to-the-minute info on Keep It Simple and Van’s 2008 shows is, of course, also available on and and, for a limited period, you can still hear Van’s exclusive BBC sessions and interview at

    Thanks again for your support.



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