All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Van Morrison: Keep Me Singing

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Van Morrison remains a beautifully mercurial creative force. Thirty-six discreet recordings into a 52-year career, Morrison has only Ray Charles and Willie Nelson, as poly-genre conquering peers, each of whose reach has proven to be expansive and penetrating. This is a rarified trio, to be sure, a very selective club that needs be no larger. Morrison's last recording of new material, Born to Sing: No Plan B (Blue Note Records, 2012), was an upbeat effort that was, or course all Van Morrison.

In his Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD Richard Cook posited that the late pianist Gene Harris always ended up making the same record...but that was all right, because of the elevated quality of the recordings. If imagination and ingenuity are the measures, Morrison does the same thing. While each of his recordings will have its own personality, they will still be undeniably Van Morrison. Which raised the question, "What is a bad Van Morrison records anyway. Whether listening to his seminal recordings from the 1970s, his Celtic hallucinations of the 1980s, or his idea of jazz in the 1990s, the listener always knew who was in the driver's seat. That blonde Irish honey-and-Quaaludes slur stirred into rock, country, R&B, blues just as well be a part of the grand unified theory of everything.

On his current recording, Keep Me Singing, Morrison turns on the air conditioning and relaxes. There are no hard R&B edges to be found on the baker's dozen of songs here. The singer resurrects Nelson Riddle in Fiachra Tench, who provides lush strings throughout. These strings, along with a copious dose of Hammond B3 seasoned throughout, cushion Morrison's stream-of-conscious lyrics among soft tones and well-behaved melodies. Clever are his lyrics on "Let it Rhyme,"

"Put another coin in the wishing well / Tell everybody just to go to hell / let it rhyme / in time / you'll be mine..."

"The Pen is Mightier than the Sword" is the closest thing to the blues here, with sharper electric guitar and percussion. But it is still tame when compared to "Gloria." Morrison tries to include a "Cyprus Avenue" and "Rough God Goes Riding" on every recording and he has representatives here: "In Tiburon" is a muse on the Bay Area and all of the music made there, while the gospel tinged "Holy Guardian Angel" reminds us that there is something out there bigger than we are. Morrison continues to wind is way down that Gaelic road toward eternity, rarely looking back. He ends things magically with the tuneful and sincere "Caldonia Swing." How Wonderful!

Track Listing: Let It Rhyme; Every Time I See a River; Keep Me Singing; Out in the Cold Again; Memory Lane; The Pen is Mightier than the Sword; Holy Guardian Angel; Share Your Love with Me; In Tiburon; Look Behind the Hill; Going Down to Bangor; Too Late; Caledonia Swing.

Personnel: Van Morrison: vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano, alto saxophone; Liam Bradley: drums; Jez Brown: bass; Laurence Cottle: bass, trombone, Lance Ellington: background vocals; Tony Fiztgibbon: violin; Ange Grant: background vocals; Dave Keary: guitars; Anthony Kerr: vibraphone; Paul Moore: bass, Hammond organ, trumpet; Paul Moran: bass, Hammond organ, piano, trumpet; Nigel Price: guitars; John Platania: guitar; Paul Robinson: drums; Robbie Ruggiero: drums; Nicky Scott: bass; Fiachra Tench: Hammond organ, piano, string arrangements; Neal Wilkinson: Drums.

Title: Keep Me Singing | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Caroline International


comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

DVD/Film Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Book Reviews
DVD/Film Reviews
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
You're Driving Me Crazy

You're Driving Me...

Sony BMG Legacy

The Authorized Bang Collection

The Authorized Bang...

Legacy Recordings

Van Morrison: It's Too Late to Stop Now - Volumes II, III, IV & DVD

Van Morrison: It's...

Legacy Recordings

Keep Me Singing

Keep Me Singing

Caroline International

The Essential Van Morrison

The Essential Van...

Legacy Recordings

Moondance Expanded

Moondance Expanded



Related Articles

Read Fearless And Kind CD/LP/Track Review
Fearless And Kind
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read 25th Anniversary Project CD/LP/Track Review
25th Anniversary Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Any Day Now CD/LP/Track Review
Any Day Now
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Adrift CD/LP/Track Review
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Folkjazz from Finland CD/LP/Track Review
Folkjazz from Finland
by Anthony Shaw
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Circulate Susanna CD/LP/Track Review
Circulate Susanna
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "Code Girl" CD/LP/Track Review Code Girl
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "Jazzamenco" CD/LP/Track Review Jazzamenco
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "Shamat" CD/LP/Track Review Shamat
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "Globe Unity - 50 Years" CD/LP/Track Review Globe Unity - 50 Years
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2018
Read "Peter and the Wolf" CD/LP/Track Review Peter and the Wolf
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 8, 2018
Read "Awase" CD/LP/Track Review Awase
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 26, 2018