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Avalon Sunset

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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 ... Read more in Amazon's Van Morrison Store

Visit Amazon's Van Morrison Store
for 185 albums, 15 photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Avalon Sunset + Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart
Price For Both: £45.94

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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Jun 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Polydor
  • ASIN: B000001FQV
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,886 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Whenever God Shines His Light
2. Contacting My Angel
3. I'd Love To Write Another Song
4. Have I Told You Lately
5. Coney Island
6. I'm Tired Joey Boy
7. When Will I Ever Learn To Live In God
8. Orangefield
9. Daring Night
10. These Are The Days

Product Description


When REM's Michael Stipe wrote "That's me in the spotlight / Losing my religion", he could have been singing about Van Morrison, the man who lost his three times within a decade. In the end though, Van returned to God and found himself rewarded with his first Top 20 hit. With its sparse piano hook and Cliff Richard vocals, "Whenever God Shines His Light" is a misleading advert for an album awash in the kind of sentimental orchestration that might hurt one's teeth were it not for their perpetrator's almost childlike wonder. Cynics, then, needn't concern themselves with love songs like "Have I Told You Lately" and "Orangefield"--both of which suggest that, despite the renewal of faith, this artist's muse isn't purely metaphysical. Even better is the spoken word reverie of "Coney Island" in which a grown man can be heard extolling the virtues of potted herrings. Naturally, it's the best thing on here. --Peter Paphides

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. Boland on 11 April 2008
Format: Audio CD
In some ways "Avalon Sunset" is an odd album.This might have to something to do with the thread of religiosity which runs through it. There is also the variety of styles - New Age sound washes, Irish whimsy, the soppy and sentimental, and straight down-to-earth blues and soul.
The first song "Whenever God Shines His Light" is a duet with Cliff Richard. An out-and-out pop song, OK but slightly out of place. From this to "Contacting My Angel". I'm not so keen on this. It seems to have strayed in from "Inarticulate Speech of the Heart", without doubt the direst album Van Morrison ever made. "I'd Like to Write Another Song" is a spirited blues number, sung against blustering saxes and Georgie Fame's Hammond organ. Van sings like Joe Turner. No higher praise. The words were clearly barrel scraped - but it shows how to write a song when there is nothing to write about.
"Have I Told You Lately" is a very effective soppy number - much loved by, and played for, newlyweds at their wedding dance. "Coney Island" is spoken. In simple language he describes his experience and feelings on a day out in Ireland. It works. "I'm Tired Joey Boy" is out of the same mould. Simple, Irish folk song feel.
It's the last four songs that, for me, bring this album to near classic status. They all have their faults. Van was clearly metaphysical at the time he wrote the lyrics. But he is back into soul mood, and with the grain of his talent.
"When Will I Ever Learn to Live in God" opens up on bass and primitive acoustic guitar over piano chords. It's simple straight declamation from Van Morrison, but, in the same way as you hear the gospel choir in Aretha Franklin, you can hear the Irish preacher in him. In "Orangefield" we are still in Ireland.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By martinross@martinross.freeserve.co.uk on 28 Nov 2000
Format: Audio CD
Being a recent convert to the musical mastery (or should that be mystery?)of Van the Man I have to say that this is one of the best Van albums I have purchased so far.Opening with the well known duet with Cliff Richard "Whenever god shines his light" right through to "These are the days" there is'nt one bad song on the album.The pure quality of the songs such as "Have I told you lately" and "Daring night" make this one of those albums in your collection that definitely won't lie there gathering dust!If you haven't heard any VM other than the usual juke box favourites then this album is a great place to start.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By P. Clack on 24 Jan 2008
Format: Audio CD
This album is one of the greatest popular music albums of all time,and it includes a track that would certainly be on my list of Desert Island Discs,that's Coney Island.A trip on the coastline of Belfast,so well written you feel your being personally escorted by Van himself around his hometown.
Then theres the beautiful songs that have become Van classics,Have I Told You Lately That I Love You (still by far the best ever recording of this song)and These Are The Days (remember it in the Hugh Grant movie Nine Months,when he's walking around the room with his baby).This album still gets better everytime I put it on and should be in every collection.I'm still amazed by the structure and majasty of songs like When Will I Ever Learn To Live In God,just listen to the power of his lyrics here.Then theres the big hit he had with Cliff Richard, Wherever God Shines His Light.Oh I could go on and on but it really comes down to one thing this is an absolutely fabulous release and should not be missed by anyone this time around.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Guardian TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Dec 2010
Format: Audio CD
Van Morrison's long and somewhat uneven musical career is punctuated by changes in direction and musical emphasis: the best is sublime, and the worst - well, isn't. True to form, "Avalon Sunset" falls short of the all-time great status of its immediate predecessor "Poetic Champions Compose" and lacks the earlier album's complex musical arrangements. It's very different.

Often regarded as one of Van's more "spiritual" offerings, the album's name comes from being in part recorded near the "Avalon" country of Glastonbury Tor and Avebury Circle. At least three of the songs have undisguised religious/spiritual themes, including the album's opener - a catchy duet with Britain's own vintage Christian rocker Cliff Richard. The songs are mostly mellow in style and supported by classy production, the competent backing vocals of Katie Kissoon and Carol Kenyan and fulsome string arrangements. Highlights include "Have I told you lately..." (forget the appalling massacre of this song by Rod Stewart); the poetic spoken-not-sung "Coney Island" (an experimental stylistic device perfected in the later "Hyndford Street" on "Hymns to the Silence"); "I'm Tired, Joey Boy" with its simplistic but memorable melody line and, most especially "Daring Night" with its lyrical theme of covert sexual passion woven into a cosmic star-crossed tapestry and radically different in tone to almost everything else on the album.

A lot of people really like this album but overall, "Avalon Sunset" has a populist, accessible feel and is not usually considered to be a career-milestone like "Astral Weeks", "Moondance" or the sublime "Hymns to the Silence.
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