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Magic Time

Price: £11.31
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Amazon's Van Morrison Store


Image of album by Van Morrison


Image of Van Morrison


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 189 albums, 15 photos, discussions, and more.

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Magic Time + What's Wrong With This Picture? + Down the Road
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Product details

  • Audio CD (16 May 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Polydor Group
  • ASIN: B0009298OI
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,188 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Stranded
2. Celtic New Year
3. Keep Mediocrity At Bay
4. Evening Train
5. This Love Of Mine
6. I'm Confessin
7. Just Like Greta
8. Gypsy In My Soul
9. Lonely And Blue
10. The Lion This Time
11. Magic Time
12. They Sold Me Out
13. Carry On Regardless

Product Description

Product Description

Four decades on from enjoying his first hits with Them, Van "The Man" Morrison returns to the fold with Magic Time, a brand-new studio album featuring thirteen songs - ten of them brand-new Van Morrison compositions and a further three, interpretations of classic jazz standards.


Gifted but apocryphally bereft of chuckles, Van Morrison tends not to conclude his albums with a list of "Carry On" film comedies, a whoops-a-daisy have-a-go yodel and a self-contented chortle of "I'm havin' too much fun". Until now. Magic Time has been touted as Van Morrison's best album in aeons. While this may be gilding the lily just a tad it's safe to assume - given the laughing-in-the-face-of adversity antics of "Carry On Regardless" and the jazz footsie of "I'm Confessin'" - that's he's mellowed to the point of miserable bliss. Every man's home is his castle and - as the passive blues solitude of "I'm Stranded" and the reclusive desires of "Just Like Greta Garbo" attest - Van pulled up the drawbridge some time ago. He sure aint working to anyone else's expectations (see the boogie of "Keep Mediocrity At Bay") but while Magic Time operates well within Van's comfort zone, tracks like "Celtic New Year" (imagine a folk soul "Midnight Train to Georgia") and the Latino cogitations of "Gypsy In My Soul" show that Van still has time for magic. -- Kevin Maidment

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Julian Middleton on 7 Jan. 2006
Format: Audio CD
How many Van the Man fans stuck this in their CD player, listened with joy and astonishment to the first two tracks and then groaned out loud when the third came on? My guess is quite a few. Including yours truly. After a decade stuck in a creative downward spiral, Morrison here pens some of his best songs since the eighties; indeed half a dozen could easily have come from the twin masterpieces 'No Guru No Method No Teacher' and 'Poetic Champions Compose'. Unfortunately, interspersing these jewels are another half dozen bog-standard jazz and blues tracks, one of which (yep, the dreaded track 3) is ironically entitled 'Keep Mediocrity At Bay'. The Master can pen such forgettable ditties with his ears closed, and they curdle with the older, 'Celtic' sound. Taking the best two or three tracks from his last few albums and adding them to the new gems would basically create one great record. Surely the days have passed when this particular artist needs to put out a record a year. If he took a leaf out of Dylan's book and just recorded when truly inspired, he might yet generate a bona fide classic. As it is, 'Magic Time' is a flawed jewel.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By fleet22 on 30 Jun. 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As with most of Van's output since the early 1990's this album contains a few gems - the two openers 'Stranded' and 'Celtic New Year' and the space-wishing ' Just like Greta' - I know what he means there. But as with recent offerings there is a lot of going through the motions. No one can doubt the quality of the musicianship on many of the tracks but somehow several seem to be lacking any real emotion. And surely emotion is what makes great music rise above the ordinary. I wish Van would lay off the obligatory - 'ripped off by the music business' tracks as after a while this just gets repetitive. Half the output but twice the quality would be nice. Don't get me wrong, Van is one of my all time music greats with much of his 70s and 80s output featuring in my top 50 list.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 April 2006
Format: Audio CD
Three and a half stars really. Magic Time opens with the mellow Stranded that sets the tone for the album. The next one, Celtic New Year is a meandering ballad with jazzy touches. The tempo changes for the rhythmic and lilting Keep Mediocrity At Bay, a powerful message song.

Evening Train is a mild uptempo rock number with a jerky beat and engaging saxophone flourishes, whilst both This Love Of Mine and Gypsy In My Soul are lounge jazzy excursions, as is his rendition of the standard Lonely And Blue. Just Like Greta is a soulful ballad that expresses the yearning for solitude and The Lion This Time is a sad slow song with a melancholy undertone.

The title track, a relaxed ballad, is a celebration of happy memories, simple but moving. There is a mood of resignation in the face of betrayal in the bluesy piece They Sold Me Out. The album concludes with Carry On Regardless, a tuneful and rhythmic attack on the music business and the media.

Measured against Van Morrison's own brilliance, I suppose this album deserves three stars. But compared to a lot of other music, it merits four. Overall, I would say it lacks real passion. But then again, the lyrics and the melodies are good. The songs just don't grab you like his best work does. Still, Magic Time is essential for fans.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 May 2005
Format: Audio CD
I put this CD on with some deal of trepidation as Van's most recent releases, particularly 2003's "What's wrong with this picture?" have fallen well below his admittedly very high standards.I need not have worried. The opening two tracks "Stranded" and especially "Celtic New Year" recapture the Morrison magic of yesteryear to great effect."Gypsy in my soul" "Just like Greta" and "the Lion this time" continue in similar vein.Even the usual quota of jazzy standards/complaining about the music biz songs sound fresher and as if Van is actually enjoying himself despite the ocassionally bitter lyrics.Overall a splendid return to form and that honey coated lion's roar of a voice sounds as good as ever.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Merry Terry on 18 Jun. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Herein lies the problem. If you can open an album with 2 of the finest tracks you have put out for a long time, tracks of such quality and class and then follow it up with "Keep Mediocrity At Bay" (which incidentally invites mediocrity in with an affirmative handshake), you have a quality control issue.

"Stranded" is a sublime peice of balladry where Van the Man delivers a vocal of such command and soul and the musical chops are there to back it up. It sounds like 1957 and being stranded has never sounded so sweet. It's follow up - "Celtic New Year" - is a career standout. It hangs around for a bit, but its quite welcome to and manages that tricky balance of romantic, soulful and classy at the same time. It beats the saccharine "Have I told you lately" hands down.

OK - lets keep with the positive. "The Lion This Time" is a decent folk-flavoured tune and the title track is wistful and works rather pleasantly. "They Sold Me Out" (Van doesn't have any sense of victimhood honestly) despite robbing the opening hook of "People Get Ready" also does ok. "Just Like Greta" is also a song of substance and class.

Now we run into some difficulty. Because with Van it's about the songs. "Keep Mediocrity At Bay" is poor and "Carry On Regardless" is a bit embarrassing.
A few standard covers and we're virtually there.

There's substantial class on this long player, but it's not across it's 13 tracks.
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