What's Wrong with This Picture?

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Over the course of the past four decades, Van Morrison has cast himself as a hard-drinking brawler, an astral-projecting mystic, a smooth-as-silk jazzbo, and a Celtic shaman. What's Wrong with This Picture? is something of a smorgasbord of those elements, held together by the immutable force of Morrison's voice and his iconoclastic, instantly recognizable songwriting style. The disc-opening title track may be the gentlest of Van's career, with his quizzically slurred vocal tones bundled up in a cloak of simple-yet-elegant strings and brass -- an ambience that takes a sharp turn on "Whinin' Boy Moan," a guttural blues that finds Morrison tapping into his darkest back ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Over the course of the past four decades, Van Morrison has cast himself as a hard-drinking brawler, an astral-projecting mystic, a smooth-as-silk jazzbo, and a Celtic shaman. What's Wrong with This Picture? is something of a smorgasbord of those elements, held together by the immutable force of Morrison's voice and his iconoclastic, instantly recognizable songwriting style. The disc-opening title track may be the gentlest of Van's career, with his quizzically slurred vocal tones bundled up in a cloak of simple-yet-elegant strings and brass -- an ambience that takes a sharp turn on "Whinin' Boy Moan," a guttural blues that finds Morrison tapping into his darkest back pages. He stops to muse about the blues here and there -- most notably on a cover of "Saint James Infirmary" -- but the bulk of the disc is painted in brighter hues. On "Once in a Blue Moon," Morrison breathlessly chases, catches, and endeavors to hold on to a wisp of romance, his inimitable phrasing matched by vivid splashes of horns supplied in part by legendary British jazz clarinetist Acker Bilk, who helps shape "Somerset," which he also co-wrote. Morrison also gets in touch with his celebrated cerebral side on a brace of tracks, pondering the deep mysteries of Mother Earth on "Little Village," which chugs along stealthily on well-worn rails of supple rhythm. While not exactly a new chapter in the story of Van Morrison, What's Wrong with This Picture? is peppered with enough well-spun yarns to merit turning its pages again and again.
All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
While 2002's Down the Road was the best Van Morrison release in ages -- with its autobiographical allusions, cultural critiques, and new band -- it could not have prepared listeners for the jolt of this, his Blue Note Records debut What's Wrong With This Picture? While the album is hardly a straight jazz record, it does take the territory he explored on Down the Road another step further into the classic pop music of the 20th century filtered through his own Celtic swing, R&B, vocal jazz, and blue-eyed soul. The title track that opens the album is as close to an anthem as Morrison's ever written; he states with an easy, swinging, jazzy soul groove that he is not the same person he once was and wonders why that was so difficult for others to accept. There is no bitterness or bite in his assertions. If anything, the question is asked with warm humor and amusement as if it is indeed the listener's hangup if he/she can't accept Morrison "living in the present time." He asks, "Why don't we take it down and forget about it/'Cause that ain't me at all," as the song whispers to a close. Morrison's employment of a large horn section -- actually a pair of them as the disc was recorded in different sessions -- is full of teeth and big, bad soul. "Whinin Boy Moan" is a direct cue from Mose Allison as read by Big Joe Turner. Hard-swinging R&B horn lines including his own alto saxophone combine with killer solos by tenorman Martin Winning and trumpet boss Matt Holland as Morrison does his most inspired blues shouting since Wavelength. Celtic soul is never far behind, either, as it displays itself on the stunningly beautiful "Evening in June." The way Morrison employs brass, woodwind, and reed textures is unique for him as clarinets, alto and bass, flügelhorns, and loads of saxophones gradually build as the emotion in a tune imparts itself. Acker Bilk makes a return appearance here co-writing and performing on the elegant, bluesy swing of "Somerset." Other than this collaboration and stellar covers of "St James Infirmary" and Lightnin' Hopkins' "Stop Drinking" -- the most unique and timely interpretation of the nugget since Louis Armstrong's, and it contains the greatest horn solo interplay on any Morrison record ever -- Morrison's songwriting is more expansive, more intricate, and more luxuriant in its use of grooves, vamps, and riffs as they intertwine with beautiful horn charts, sophisticated melodies ,and the always-present blues feel. There are 13 tracks here, and virtually all of them would be standouts on any of his other records. But the aforementioned tracks, along with "Meaning of Loneliness" and "Once in a Blue Moon," are among the finest tunes he's ever written, let alone recorded. This is the sound of an artist who is comfortable making a break with his past because it is not a break; he understands it as the next part of a continuum that goes deeper and wider than anyone else ever expected. This is the sound of self-assurance as it articulates itself with grace and aplomb.
Rolling Stone - Richard Abowitz
There is no filler or slackness here.... In fact, there is nothing wrong with this picture.

There is no filler or slackness here.... In fact, there is nothing wrong with this picture.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/21/2003
  • Label: Emi Europe Generic
  • UPC: 724359016726
  • Catalog Number: 5901672

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Van Morrison Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Alto Saxophone, Vocals
David Hayes Bass, Background Vocals
Acker Bilk Clarinet
Liam Bradley Drums, Background Vocals
Keith Donald Bass Clarinet
Lee Goodall Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Background Vocals
Mick Green Electric Guitar
Pete Hurley Bass
Bobby Irwin Drums
Gavin Povey Piano
Nicky Scott Bass
Fiachra Trench Piano
Alan Wickett Conga, Washboard
Foggy Lyttle Electric Guitar, Background Vocals
Martin Winning Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Alan Smale Leader
The Irish Film Orchestra Strings
Matt Holland Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Background Vocals
John Scott Mandolin, Electric Guitar
Richard Dunn Piano, Hammond Organ
Technical Credits
Acker Bilk Composer
Tony Cousins Mastering
Lee Goodall Horn Arrangements
Lightnin' Hopkins Composer
Brian Masterson Engineer
Van Morrison Arranger, Composer, Producer, Horn Arrangements
Walter Samuel Engineer
Fiachra Trench String Arrangements
Ian Cooper Mastering
Patrick Roques Art Direction
Alastair McMillan Engineer
Matt Holland Horn Arrangements
Traditional Composer
David Collett Composer
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    One of Van's Very Finest

    As I write this in retrospect (I've already purchased and thoroughly listened to Magic Time as well), this is still a wonderful Van Morrison album (4.5 stars) but sounds just a little weak compared to Magic Time which, in my opinion is his finest recording ever (even better than the early classics). Nevertheless, this record (CD) sings (and rocks and moans and dances lyrically across the eardrums). "What's Wrong With This Picture" maybe the sweetest song he's written since "Tupelo Honey." "Meaning of Loneliness" and "Once in a Blue Moon" aren't far behind. Put this one on, sit back, and just groove to Van the Man. This guy can surely write and perform with the best of 'em!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Whinin Boy Moan is Correct!

    Once again, Van moans and groans about everything under the sun. Same things he has been griping about for the many years of his career. I guess if I could stay in the same rut and write songs about wanting to be left alone and how much I have been misunderstood and still make millions, I'd do the same thing but for God's sake Van, give us something uplifting , mystical or at least tone done your negative rants! Most of us would love to have your vocal talent as well as your song writing abilities so if you've had enough and you can't do anything new, do us a favor and retire permanently. That way you can be assured you will have the solitude you obviously desire and only yourself to annoy. Worst VM record to date but don't give up hope, I have a feeling he's got something worse coming along shortly.....and it is called "Magic Time".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Excellent!

    I've always liked Van Morrison and with this album he takes his music in a different direction but with the same great voice. I don't necessarily like jazz or the blues but this album is definitely an exception. I've thoroughly enjoyed it and would welcome more of the same from one of the best! This album definitely deserves to be ranked higher!

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