Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Feb 4th, 2019

Van Morrison: The Prophet Speaks

Van Morrison
The Prophet Speaks
(Exile Productions Ltd.)

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Opening with a swinging cover of “Gonna Send You Back to Where I Got You From,” it’s obvious that Van and his band are on top of their game on The Prophet Speaks. As the man himself said of this 14-song collection: “It was important for me to get back to recording new music as well as doing some of the blues material that has inspired me from the beginning. Writing songs and making music is what I do, and working with great musicians makes it all the more enjoyable.”
Those musicians include multi-instrumentalist Joey DeFrancesco, Dan Wilson playing on guitar, Michael Ode on drums, and Troy Roberts on tenor saxophone. They are the perfect combo behind Mr. Morrison for this, his 40th studio album.

The cover of “Dimples” is all wailing organ, growling Morrison and slippery electric lead. Upright bass gets us into the slower (and first original) tune here, “Got to Go Where the Love is” with real strong horn hits in the chorus, while “5 Am Greenwich Mean Time,” another Morrison original begins with organ and scat singing and keeps up a jumpy jive.

The piano-led “Teardrops” is pure slow plopping upright bass torchy jazz. While “Love is Hard Work,” is a blues piece featuring Morrison’s harmonica and again that cool slipping organ. The piano-gospel of “Spirit Will Provide,” the most commercial tune here, and the title track end the album, and all are killer Morrison-penned songs.
Van Morrison surely is one of our more modern pop prophets, and this album makes clear that we should all certainly listen to him speak.

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Van Morrison: The Prophet Speaks