Down the Road

( 7 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
If you've been paying any attention at all to what Van Morrison has been doing over the past decade or so, you know exactly what road he's referring to in the title -- and you probably still look forward to each passing vista of bucolic pasture, each stop at a roadhouse along the way to that crossroads of blues, soul, folk, and poetry. Van the Man doesn't take any unexpected side trips here -- the album cover, which proudly appropriates sleeves from icons such as Leadbelly and Louis Armstrong -- sets the parameters pretty well. Then again, Morrison seldom missteps when he's traversing this territory. The gently loping blues of "Talk Is Cheap" has just enough growl to ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
If you've been paying any attention at all to what Van Morrison has been doing over the past decade or so, you know exactly what road he's referring to in the title -- and you probably still look forward to each passing vista of bucolic pasture, each stop at a roadhouse along the way to that crossroads of blues, soul, folk, and poetry. Van the Man doesn't take any unexpected side trips here -- the album cover, which proudly appropriates sleeves from icons such as Leadbelly and Louis Armstrong -- sets the parameters pretty well. Then again, Morrison seldom missteps when he's traversing this territory. The gently loping blues of "Talk Is Cheap" has just enough growl to give it heft -- and enough purr to show Van's pussycat side -- while "Hey, Mr. DJ" conjures visions of a smoky soul club, the likes of which Morrison no doubt frequented in his youth. Yes, there are elements of the Celtic music that anchor most of Morrison's discs -- the best here being the wistful "Only a Dreamer." Wistful is the operative word; the anger that occasionally peppers his discs is nowhere to be found, nor is the overt mysticism. The album's spirit is summed up most perfectly in his cover of "Georgia on my Mind," which is soulful, passionate, familiar -- and convincing. A lovely, soul-stirring set.
All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
After spending much of the 1990s expressing his bitterness with the modern world in albums like Hymns to the Silence and Days Like This, Van Morrison sought to overcome his bile toward the end of the decade, declaring himself Back on Top by 1999. His fans concurred; the album was his highest-charting effort in more than 20 years and earned a gold record. He then took an uncharacteristically long three years to make a new original album, though he produced two side projects, the live Skiffle Sessions: Live in Belfast 1998 and You Win Again, a duet record with Linda Gail Lewis, in between. Down the Road is not bitter, but it does look to the past continually and with longing. Musically, it mixes R&B and jazz with bits of country especially on "What Makes the Irish Heart Beat" and folk, all conjured from the singer's 1950s youth. Lyrically, it deliberately makes use of blues clich├ęs and catch phrases to tell its tales of struggle, recollection, and regret. The album cover depicts the front of a record store, Music and Memorabilia, with a window full of LP covers by blues, R&B, jazz, and old rock & roll artists, and the music inside corresponds to that picture, in spirit if not always in style. A key song, and a curious one, is "Whatever Happened to PJ Proby?," in which Morrison identifies himself with trendy British pop singers of the early '60s, including Scott Walker and Screaming Lord Sutch. It's hard to imagine that he really thinks he belongs in their company, but he seems both sincere and pained as he concludes, "And whatever happened to me?" If such humility is sincere, it may help explain why Morrison has rejected the trappings of fame all these years, and it makes him all the more endearing.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/14/2002
  • Label: Umvd Labels
  • UPC: 731458917724
  • Catalog Number: 589177

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Van Morrison Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Alto Saxophone, Vocals
David Hayes Bass
Acker Bilk Clarinet
John Allair Hammond Organ
Geraint Watkins Piano, Hammond Organ
Lee Goodall Flute, Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Background Vocals
Mick Green Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Colin Griffin Drums
Pete Hurley Bass
Bobby Irwin Drums
Bob Loveday Violin
Fiachra Trench Piano
Dick Dunn Piano, Hammond Organ
Rosie Wetters Leader
Martin Winning Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Aine Whelan Background Vocals
Matt Holland Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Background Vocals
John Scott Electric Guitar, Background Vocals
Karen Hamill Background Vocals
Crawford Bell Background Vocals
The Wired Strings Strings
Jake Walker Viola
Olwin Bell Background Vocals
Siobhan Pettit Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Hoagy Carmichael Composer
Van Morrison Producer
Walter Samuel Engineer
Ben Sidran Liner Notes
Fiachra Trench Arranger, String Arrangements, Musical Director
Stuart Bruce Engineer
Stuart Gorrell Composer
Aine Whelan Arranger, Vocal Arrangements
John Scott Arranger, Vocal Arrangements
Tim Cooper Mastering
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Van I love

    I've loved Van for over 25 years, and this CD reinforces my feelings. I can always forgive his little quirks (like singing with his mouth closed) but there is nothing to forgive on this one. It is a mixture of styles, but it's full of soul. It's pure Van and pure joy. Made me cry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Man is in conflict with his natural self

    It seems people want some sort of nostalgic regurgitation of things Van created thirty years ago. While this is an impossibility it would also be a crime. The scenery along the byways of Vans artistic journey remains as vibrant as anything he has created to date. From the very first listen I knew I was going to wear this one out. Im not a critic or a sales person, just a fan happy to have shelled out thirteen bucks for some of the most enjoyable music Van has ever created.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Yet Another Sure Hit From Van Morrison

    All I have to say is WOW. Van Morrison once again has come out with an album full of success. From the first single, ''Hey Mr. DJ'', to his captivating version of ''Georgia on My Mind,'' each song brings you back to those warm summer days on the porch with a glass of lemonade in your hand. And with reviews from Rolling Stone like ¿¿ a man in the prime of life ¿ and voice¿ and the Washington Post saying ¿Morrison captures the American spirit of freedom and abandon like few others¿¿ ''Down the Road'' is definitely worth checking out!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Van the Man

    I happen to really like Van Morrison, Days Like This is one of my all time favorite albums, and this new album fills the bill of more of the same great VM that I love....with a bit of a soulful touch that only adds to the pleasure

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Watered Down Morrison

    Van has simply not been at his best since his string of 70's albums. I appreciate the maturation of the artist and actually enjoyed Saturday Night in SF, but he has lost the focus I loved from early albums like Astral Weeks and TB Sheets. Covers of Georgia on my mind my satisfy momentarily, but they can't touch the power of Madam George or He Ain't Give You None.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Natural High

    An absolute natural high for me. The same Van Morrison that I have been listening to for 30 years - never ceases to amaze me. His lyrics and choice of instruments combined are nothing less than brilliant. He continues to provide the listener with soulful insight.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Van's Best Album Since Astral Weeks & Moondance

    'Down The Road' by Van Morrison is one of the most beautiful albums he has ever created. I have been a fanatic fan since I first heard the single, ''Gloria'' in 1965. My favorite albums are his 'Them' works, Blowin' Your Mind', Moondance, Astral Weeks and St. Dominic's Preview. But I have been able to find gems in almost all of his albums. I like all the songs on this album but my favorites are, 'Down The Road', Meet Me In The Indian Summer', 'Steal My Heart Away,' 'What Makes The Irish Heart Beat,' 'The Beauty Of The Days Gone By,' 'Only A Dream,' 'Man Has To Struggle,' 'Evening Shadows,' and 'Fast Train.' Nine favorites out of 15 songs! 'Man Has To Struggle,' is Van's wonderfully mature and comprehensive philosophy of life. I agree with everything he postulates in the song and, as usual, his music goes with his words like water flowing down a mountain stream bed. All my other favorite songs have that soulful alchemy of melody and words that only Van can do. How does he do it? Van is back with a beautiful roar. Thank you, O Muse of poetry and music.

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