Van Morrison – Born to Sing: No Plan B (Remastered) (2012/2020) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Van Morrison – Born to Sing: No Plan B (Remastered) (2012/2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 59:51 minutes | 1,14 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Legacy Recordings

For his return to Blue Note Records after a several year hiatus, Van Morrison is back to his soulful mix of rhythm and blues, jazz supplemented by horns, with a bit of rock, blues, and Celtic swing. Never an artist easy to pin down, Van continues to satisfy with a mix of his curmudgeonly (fully appropriate to me) lyrics about the money-hungry, greedy recording business, and his feeling of wanting to be left alone with the guarding of his privacy (“If In Money We Trust” “End of the Rainbow“ and “Educating Archie“) balanced by a sweet sentimentality for the early days of Rock and Roll, the 1950s, with a healthy dose of spirituality (“Pagan Heart,” “Retreat and View” and “Open the Door to Your Heart.”) Van is like your cool uncle, whose taste you respect, but you know you have to give him “his distance.”

“Open the Door to Your Heart” has the winning combination of a warm, appealing mix of R&B with horns and an upbeat message that could lead to much airplay on the radio. Alistair’s gut bucket trombone adds to the soulfulness. “Goin’ Down to Monte Carlo” features the Van vamp where he repeats the vocal refrain often. It deals with “getting his head together and getting some peace.” Born to Sing has a winning shuffle beat that brings to mind Van’s favorite aforementioned decade.

“Born to Sing: No Plan B is Van Morrison’s first studio offering in four years and his second for Blue Note. It is the longest span of studio silence in his career. Uncharacteristically, he recorded the set in his hometown of Belfast with a crack sextet that includes a three-piece horn section with an alto saxophone. Trombonist Alistair White also features prominently; his warm timbres, muted colors, and delightful solos are centerpieces in many songs. Born to Sing: No Plan B is more jazz-centric, but not at the expense of his trademark Celtic swing, blues, and soul. Morrison’s singing is unfettered, relaxed, and unguarded. His charts are simultaneously more sophisticated and organic. “Open the Door (To Your Heart)” opens with a souled-out guitar atop a laid-back B-3 and Memphis-styled bassline. The horns groove underneath Morrison’s vocal, which is underscored by piano vamps. Lyrically, he states one of the album’s primary themes: the real cost of materialism and greed. The soul-drenched “End of the Rainbow” and the old-school R&B set closer, “Educating Archie,” also address the theme directly and tastefully. But it’s “If in Money We Trust” – the set’s finest moment – where he gets down inside it and lays out his truth with some of the finest low-end singing of his career in a brooding jazz-blues with meaty piano, canny interwoven dialogue between the horns, and taut bass and hand percussion that bubble in the pocket. That theme aside, this isn’t a political record; it’s not preachy, angry, or even disillusioned. It’s Morrison merely laying down his own analytic reportage from the headlines. The title cut is a strolling R&B arrangement that certainly evokes those he heard from bar bands as a kid in Belfast. In it one can hear everyone from Fats Domino to Belfast’s Bluebeats Show Band in the arrangement – check the muted trombone break answered by clarinet. The breezy, ironic “Goin Down to Monte Carlo” bemusedly contains John Paul Sartre’s infamous “Hell is other people.” The tune suggests that the most vapid place on earth is perhaps the best place to “get some peace.” It contains an upright bass solo, a gorgeous muted trumpet break, and fine, laid-back scat singing from Morrison. Likewise, “Close Enough for Jazz” (an older instrumental with lyrics) is a perfect meld of swinging R&B and post-swing jazz. “Mystic from the East” and “Retreat and View” are spiritual in nature; they connect directly to a constant theme in Morrison’s oeuvre. The darker side of spirituality is evoked in “Pagan Heart,” with Morrison paying tribute to John Lee Hooker via snarling electric guitar playing, as well as Robert Johnson in the lyric. Morrison sounds fully engaged, revitalized, even ambitious. On Born to Sing: No Plan B he’s compiled the various elements of his musical oeuvre and assembled them into a seamless, glorious whole.” (Thom Jurek, AMG)

1. Open the Door (To Your Heart) (5:20)
2. Goin Down to Monte Carlo (8:12)
3. Born to Sing (4:39)
4. End of the Rainbow (4:36)
5. Close Enough for Jazz (3:46)
6. Mystic of the East (4:56)
7. Retreat and View (6:51)
8. If in Money We Trust (8:02)
9. Pagan Heart (7:52)
10. Educating Archie (5:42)

Van Morrison, electric guitar, piano, saxophone, vocals
Dave Keary, guitar
Chris White, clarinet, tenor saxophone
Alistair White, trombone
Paul Moran, keyboards, trumpet
Paul Moore, bass
Jeff Lardner, drums

Digitally remastered



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