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Keep It Simple

Van Morrison, Bryan Adams Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
Price: 18.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (17 Mar 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Polydor Group
  • ASIN: B0012RCXA0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,859 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. How Can A Poor Boy?
2. School Of Hard Knocks
3. That's Entrainment
4. Don't Go To Nightclubs Anymore
5. Lover Come Back
6. Keep It Simple
7. End Of The Land
8. Song Of Home
9. No Thing
10. Soul
11. Behind The Ritual

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

Keep It Simple is Van Morrison's 35th album. Representing his first new material since 2005, it’s also the first Van LP in a while for which he has acted as composer, arranger, lyricist and multi-instrumentalist (sax, harmonica, ukelele) as well as specifically composing all 11 songs for the one project. The album wears its title well as the blues number "How Can a Poor Boy" kicks things off in sparse but compelling style. The arrangements stay elegant and subtle throughout, leaving space for Morisson’s chief weapon--his voice. At 63 he sounds as peerless as ever, even if his lyrical outlook is less mystical and more sober than before (see songs like "Don't Go to Nightclubs Anymore"). But when you least expect it, hints of his former lyrical powers return. "Into the Mystic" and the denouement "Behind the Ritual" are reminiscent of some of his best work, and while Keep It Simple cannot be compared to the visceral majesty and fanciful meanderings of Astral Weeks, it’s one of his most enjoyable outings for a while. --Danny McKenna

Product Description

The 2008 release of Keep It Simple is Van Morrison's 35th album. It is his first album of new material since 2005, and the first in several years in which he Composed all 11 songs specifically for one album.

On Keep It Simple , Morrison wears all the "hats" as Composer, Arranger, Lyricist and proves himself once again an astute and accomplished Producer, artfully choosing in this recording to keep all the vocals and instruments on this album in their organic form/ first takes.

Keep It Simple features Morrison on the Sax, Harmonica and a special highlight throughout is his integration of uniquely composed arrangements on the Ukelele.

Accordingly, Keep It Simple honors All of Morrison's varied influences as it is packed full of "Ulster-Scots Celtic" melodies mixed with Soul, Jazz, Blues, Folk, Country, and Gospel - most times melding them all together once again establishing his unmistakable signature sound.

This record does not boast the big horns of some of Morrison's previous work. But, don't let the title fool you. Keep it Simple is Everything but Simple - it is a Multi-faceted record filled with mystical layers of sound -start to finish -with Songs from the Soul and gorgeous melodies, rich with emotion, depth and beauty. -truly a record that has something for everyone.

Lost Highway will proudly release Keep It Simple, the new album from Van Morrison. Keep It Simple is Morrison's first album of new material since 2005, and the first in several years in which he composed all 11 songs specifically for one album.

In the interim the legendary artist had a year that may be unprecedented for any living artist, having released three separate collections of his hits, with the latest, Still On Top entering the UK charts at #2 and selling platinum, proving the ongoing appetite for his unrivalled work.

His music has always incorporated the widely varied influences he heard and absorbed since his childhood days on the streets of Belfast- long before the bands of his youth and his initial breakthrough with the band he started early on- called "Them."

On Keep It Simple, Morrison honors all those varied influences - Ulster-Scots Celtic, Jazz, Folk, Blues, Country, Soul and Gospel - and an added surprise of a mighty Ukelele -most times melding them all together at once creating his unmistakable signature sound.

In some of these songs Morrison addresses the propaganda of the myth perpetrating rock music world. There is a definite theme that recurs throughout the album, especially in the title track.

In keeping with that idea, Keep It Simple does not boast the big horns or expected string arrangements of some of Morrison's previous work. What it does feature are gorgeous songs rich with emotion, depth and beauty.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That's more like it! 8 April 2008
By wabrit
Format:Audio CD
I've been listening to Van Morrison's music for nearly 30 years, and with heavy heart passed on his last two albums ("Magic Time", and "Pay the Devil") because his recent music no longer connected with me the way it had in the past; after all no-one yet has made great music out of whingeing about the record industry and the price of fame. Somehow the bar-room blues, skiffle and jazz just didn't do it for me, at least not the way the incomparable, transcendental music on say "Veedon Fleece", "Into the Music" or "St. Dominic's Preview" had done.

So it's with great pleasure that I turned to "Keep it Simple"; it's not up there with his greatest work, but for me it's the best thing he's done since "Too Long in Exile". There are still a few forgettable pieces (the opening track "How Can a Poor Boy" for example), but there are some solid-gold gems here - "That's Entrainment", "Lover Come Back", "Keep it Simple", "End of the Land".

The final two tracks deserve to stand with anything he's done before - "Soul" and "Behind the Ritual"; the latter in particular is superb, and my only disappointment was that it finished a mere six minutes in just when I thought it was getting really interesting.

So thanks Van for a splendid album :-)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creeps Up Rather Than Jumps Out 4 April 2008
Format:Audio CD
The joys of this latest Van the Man album creep up on you. It was on the fourth listening that the pleasing melodies and catchy phrasings took root. It is a typically Van Morrison eclectic mix of tunes. The songs hang together beautifully and there are echoes throughout of previous recordings. The intros are particularly clear and crisp. I look forward to many more playings of this finely crafted album.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Simple Delight 18 Mar 2008
By Angel Delta TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
After 41 years in the music business, 32 studio albums and just over two years short of drawing his pension, Van Morrison continues to delight with his music.

Of course, there's nothing new here and neither should you expect there to be. The fact that Van produced the album means no change. He has been ploughing his own unique, visionary furrow for so long now he's hardly likely to employ Rick Rubin!

His familiar mix of blues, country, jazz and Celtic Soul has served Van and his fans well over the decades and Keep It Simple doesn't disappoint. His voice is in good shape as he takes us through 12 original songs which seem to be about life in late middle age tinged with nostalgia and even sentimentality. There are some gems in this collection, "End Of The Land" and "Song Of Home" and the exquisite "Lover Come Back" with a swirling organ and atmospheric steel guitar is worth the price of the album on its own.

There are no horns or strings in this production, just guitar, banjo, drums, piano, organ and the occasional sax, mandolin and fiddle. Keeping it simple?

No, there's nothing new. Just Van in top form delighting this fan once again.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER GREAT MORRISON 27 Mar 2008
Format:Audio CD
I am sure the same people who say here this cd is not as good as Common one or Poetic champion, or other cd's will say in three years that the new cd is not as good as KEEP IS SIMPLE. It's because it takes a year or two to really appreciate a new Van Morrison cd and to see it in perspective to his other records. Van Keeps doing his thing without trying to sound modern or deal with the sound when the record is released. He is his own parameter. This is definitely not Astral Weeks or Veendon Fleece, but it's the best cd I have heard in a year or two and it is a great addition to an impresive body of music made by Van Morrison. Morrison's fans wont be disappointed at all.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good solid vanmanship 21 Mar 2008
Format:Audio CD
If you aren't expecting the man to come up with another Astral Weeks/Veedon Fleece then you won't be disappointed with this album.Needs three or four listens to get into the songs but most are a worthy addition to a massive catalogue. It's a great sounding record, beautifully produced and the spare, stripped back musical approach suits Van's weathered but still soulful vocals.Sure he will never recapture the glory days but it's great to have him still around and in good form as best demonstrated by the closing track "Behind the Ritual" where the old magic slowly seeps through and he's back again in that Belfast alley.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very listenable 12 April 2008
By lmhh VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
I don't really have a history with Van Morrison. I know a few of his hits but have not been a huge fan so I don't know how this compares with his earlier material. What I can say though is that this is a very easy album to listen to and one which is growing on me each time I play it. It's mellow,laid back grown up music and I like it a lot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return to form 25 Mar 2008
By APB64
Format:Audio CD
A welcome batch of NEW songs. I think Van has made a return to form with this album... a collection of good, soulful songs. For those fans who like Van at his more contemplative and, at times, morose - as I do - you will most likely appreciate 'Keep It Simple'. Was happy to hear Van, in a recent interview on Radio 2 & 4, saying he was only interested in the new, and had been obliged to release a batch of Best Ofs CDs (3 in the last year or two) in order to get this new music out there.Out with the old and in with the new.. keep them coming Van Morrison.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Of The Same From Van 14 Mar 2009
By SMc
Format:Audio CD
I have many (but not EVERY) Van Morrison album and he has written and produced many a stunning album which I don't need to list within this review. Even on a poor and mediocre album from Morrison there is always one, two or three excellent songs. This is a mediocre album by Morrison's unique long-term standards - but not by his standards over the last ten years.

Since "Astral Weeks" Morrison has continued to plough his own furrow, doing what he wants to do (and isn't that why we all love him or loathe him?), to write and produce songs and albums that he personally sees fit to produce. He has always insisted that he has total control over the artistic content of his albums and has ALWAYS maintained that he is a songwriter first and foremost, a musician second and a performer third.

However, since 1993's "Too Long In Exile" he has settled into some form of mediocrity and not since 1997's "The Healing Game" or 1999's "Back On Top" has he come up with an album that is really, really good.

That notwithstanding, Morrison won't care, he will continue to do what he sees fit and please himself. After all, from "Astral Weeks" onwards, he has left an incredible legacy and a canon of work that any songwriter, musician or performer would give their right arm to have produced.

I will add that Morrison is an extremely under-rated alto saxophone player - very melodic. Listen to "Celtic Excavation" and "Allow Me" from 1987's "Poetic Champions Compose" and you might get some idea to which I allude. He should play more alto saxophone.

This album, in my opinion, is fine and will grow on me but, cannot compare with earlier successes, however, Van Morrison has absolutely nothing left to prove. His past record (no pun intended!) speaks for itself. This album is only really for avid Morrison listeners.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Super speedy delivery and goods received in excellent condition.
Goods were received well before expected delivery date. Goods were in excellent condition as described in the sale description. Would definitely purchase from this seller again.
Published 7 months ago by Janice Roseingrave
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Can't say enough about this man his music is so good. Every album is a winner and every song is melodic.
Published 14 months ago by Polly
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Van
I bought this as a present for the other half, she's a huge fan and loves it plays it a lot in the car
Published 16 months ago by Snibbo
4.0 out of 5 stars Kept Simple
Does take a few listens to really appreciate it. The songs, on the whole are ok.but I suspect, as with other VM records this will grow on me. Read more
Published on 28 Nov 2010 by Bendy
3.0 out of 5 stars not up there with the best
The production is a bit sparse on this and to be honest Van the man has written better stuff before. Hope he hasn't settled for mediocrity. Read more
Published on 22 Oct 2010 by Terry Bee
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but...
Now for an artist who's been releasing records since the sixties and who many would say has past his peak some thirty years ago this isn't too bad an album. Read more
Published on 15 July 2009 by daniel gutt
4.0 out of 5 stars Still The Man
Some Van Morrison albums take some time to get into but this one hits the spot straight from the off. Read more
Published on 6 Sep 2008 by Tommy Pynchon
5.0 out of 5 stars VAN THE MAN STILL PRODUCING TIMELESS MUSIC
Very simple review this..absolutely fantastic set from a legend,one of the best singer-songwriters in the history of popular music,jazz and blues. Read more
Published on 23 Jun 2008 by P. Clack
5.0 out of 5 stars "ALMOST VANTASTIC"
THIS ALBUM IS BACK TO THE VAN MORRISON I LIKE. THE VOCALS ARE GREAT
YES HE MOANS AND GROANS, HOWEVER, I PAY FOR THE MUSIC AND THE LYRICS ARE
FIRST CLASS. Read more
Published on 18 Jun 2008 by R. G. Philpott
2.0 out of 5 stars Where's The Muse?
Oh dear. Another mediocre album. Van can knock album's like this out with his eyes closed. What happened to the creative muse? The lyrics are banal and it's a real plodder. Read more
Published on 7 May 2008 by Linden Arden
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