Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Van Morrison 38: Keep It Simple

It’s highly unlikely that the grumpiest man in rock ‘n roll takes anybody’s opinion under serious consultation, but with Keep It Simple he seems to be sticking to a well-worn philosophy. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, no catering to any genre, just Van singing and playing Van music. British legends Mick Green and Geraint Watkins add to the blend, and even ‘70s band members John Platania and David Hayes are on board.
Beginning with “How Can A Poor Boy?”, the music is understated rhythm & blues via guitar and organ, with some country & western touches in the harmonica and accordion, and gospel in the backing vocals. “Lover Come Back” is simple yet moving, while the unlikely banjo makes “Song Of Home” a grower. He’s not above regurgitating clichés, such as “School Of Hard Knocks” (a much better song than the title) and “Don’t Go To Nightclubs Anymore”. “That’s Entrainment” is a little too close to another phrase that the emotion he’s trying to convey doesn’t really come through. At this point in his career he’s gotta end with an epic of sorts, and “Behind The Ritual” combines the good and bad of Van, from a decent sax solo to two entire verses sung repeating the words “blah” and “blah”.
Keep It Simple is mostly harmless, and almost inviting. One might even presume he’s enjoying himself. And we can finally give this one the edge over its recent brothers. In the context of his post-Avalon Sunset work, the rating stands.

Van Morrison Keep It Simple (2008)—

No comments:

Post a Comment