Jul 152011

It’s been an intense week, no? Why don’t we bring things down a notch with a sober, mature discussion of our favorite late-period Van Morrison albums? By “late-period” I am referring only to releases post-1978’s Wavelength. It goes without saying that reissues of albums originally released from (or recorded prior to) 1978 or earlier do no count.

I look forward to your responses.


  13 Responses to “What’s Your Favorite Late-Period Van Morrison Album?”

  1. tonyola

    Hm. I enjoy Van’s albums from Astral Weeks through Saint Dominic’s Preview, but to me his work began to slip afterwards as the fun, energy, and looseness began to fade away. I never got to see him live during his best years because he never played in Florida. I can’t say that I’ve ever felt compelled to investigate his later catalog so I really have no answer to this question. I will say that, despite his undoubted qualities, he was the wrong choice to sing “Comfortably Numb” in Roger Water’s 1990 Wall concert.

  2. In my youth, I enjoyed my parents’ copy of his album with the Chieftains, Irish Heartbeat. I also once had a promo copy of his album with Jerry Lee Lewis’ daughter, and that was kinda neat.

  3. Oops, Jerry Lee Lewis’ sister, I mean.

  4. tonyola

    It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference down in Lewis’ country – daughter, sister, cousin, wife? Who knows? Yes, I went there.

  5. alexmagic

    I’m sure someone has produced a Van Morrison Interview Disc where the CD is shaped like Van’s be-hatted head and his responses for all 30+ minutes of the recording are variations of “Mm” and “Yeh”, so that one.

  6. misterioso

    I have them all up to and including Too Long in Exile, I think. The weird thing is that while on the one hand there is a sameness to them on the other hand there is also wide range of quality. I won’t bore everyone by going through them all. But Into the Music (1979) is a great record, no question. If you can roll with some of the “lite jazz” stylings of the band, No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (1986) is a very strong record with some fine songs. Irish Heartbeat (1988) is very nice. The double cd Hymns to the Silence (1991) has at least one cd’s worth of very good material. Avoid Inarticulate Speech of the Heart and Poetic Champions Compose. I would add that for casual fans, every album has at least 2 or 3 terrific songs, and of the albums after Too Long in Exile (which is fair to middling itself) the only one I know much of is Days Like This which is ok; also that in many cases he is better served by some of the good concert recordings (sanctioned and unsanctioned) where some songs that are blah on record come to life.

  7. 2000 Man

    He made albums after Wavelength? Why?

  8. That’s like asking me “What’s my favorite late period Anne Murray” LP.

  9. misterioso

    Which is?

  10. There are no Anne Murray covers on his mostly country covers album Pay The Devil from 2006, but it’s a good listen. The songs suit his voice these days. I have Back on Top and that CD he did with George Fame, but I haven’t played them in awhile.

  11. I have a sampler CD for “Hymns to the Silence” that’s pretty good….I’m more of a “Mystic Eyes” man.

  12. No Guru No Method No Teacher. Only because as a self-styled “hard guy” in ’86, I went to a Van concert at the Mann and the soft jazz intensity of Van singing “In the Garden” kinda shook me up since I would have written off any “soft” rock at the time. I had to seriously re-evaluate what was good after that.

  13. I was at that show. It was transcendent.

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