Sunday, March 30, 2008

Van Morrison Keep it Simple Behind the Ritual

Where to begin (it's too late to stop now).

At first, the song brings to mind many of those closing epics of Van Morrison albums.

There’s a soulful aspect, usually with some mantra-like quality.

Here, we’re talking about drinking the wine behind the alley with Sally

But we’re heading to places that Robert Palmer never went.

Behind the ritual is the spiritual.

And that, of course, could be said of most of Van’s epics. From Madame George to Listen to the Lion on to The Healing Game.

But on this one in particular, Van goes beyond the mantras of yesterday, to a new mantra.

The ultimate mantra.

Beyond any it ain’t why why why why why, it just is,

To this recognition of the wordlessness of it all (and the whirlig dervish of it as well)(and the sax oh the sax)(and the chorus oh that spirit chorus):

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Bring in the guitar,

And in those words, Van says it all.


Update 4/8/08
This is not a mediocre record. And it's deceivingly simple. In other words, it's not simple at all. It's a return to form in a major fashion from a major artist. Although, in some ways it touches all the bases that the man has touched in so many ways before, it touches them with a newfound clarity. That's the simplicity that it brings. And that's how the poor boy is delivering his message. Again. That's the simplicity of the blah blah. It's not a farce being played. It's not even some postmodern call to the meaningless of words. It's the wisdom knowing that words can only go so far. They can point the way. But they are not the way. Every song previous is pointing the way somewheres. To preaching. To love. To homeland. To soul itself. To the rituals of life itself. But behind the ritual (of song, of life) is the spiritual. And ultimately, there's no words for that at all.



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Hi Greg / Grapez,

On behalf of Lost Highway Records, many thanks for plugging Van Morrison's new album and, if your readers want good quality, non-pirated, preview tracks, full versions of "That's Entrainment" and "Behind The Ritual" (along with album track samplers) are available for fans and bloggers to listen to (and link to) on Lost Highway's web-site at .

Up-to-the-minute info on Keep It Simple and Van’s 2008 shows is, of course, also available on and and, for a limited period, your readers can hear Van's exclusive BBC sessions and interview at


Anonymous said...

I've been a Van fan for 36 years - love everything he has done - I adore the new CD - Behind the Ritual gives me goose bumps - saw him perform it in Boston before release of the Cd and it was absolutely incredible and mesmerizing. So worth the $250 I paid for my seat and would do it again and again. The CD is brilliant.

noguru said...

Robert Palmer went there.

as far as the new Van goes,
i think its great.

you have to listen 5 or 6 times.
but those are the best Van albums,
when your not sure if its any good.

best since "Down The Road",
which was under rated, as well.