Van Morrison - Moondance

If "Astral Weeks" was the best surprise of 1969, then Van Morrison’s new album is very probably the solidest rock achievement thus far in 1970. Gone is the Gypsy-like untogetherness of the rhythm section, which gave the earlier album so much of its charm and uniqueness, and in its place is a rather more solid band, borrowing from jazz and (especially) soul sources without being in any way unpleasantly eclectic. Morrison is now without the need to strive, he simply does, and what he does is precious without price. His voice now has the flexibility and variety
of an Aretha Franklin, rather like Georgie Fame with the fat stripped away, and on the title track particularly he uses his voice with such rhythmic beauty and exactness that it flickers to and fro like a steel spring. All the tracks are superb, and some (‘Glad Tidings’, ‘Brand New Day’, ‘Into The Mystic’, and ‘Moondance’) are considerably more than that. ‘...New Day’, for instance, uses the throaty humming of a black back-up choir in a completely un-clichĂ©d way, and the alto sax solo by Jack Schrorer on ‘Moondance’ is something else, like a flashback to a Harlem ‘jump’ band of the ’40s. The beauty of Van Morrison is that he takes his influences and sublimates them so completely that the end product is entirely unique. He’s a rare talent, and this album will awaken a lot of people to him. review by Richard Williams
mp3: Van Morrison - Into The Mystic

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