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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 52 - Sunday Morning Favourites #6 Van Morrison

When Van Morrison's 19th Studio Album, Avalon Sunset was released in the summer of 1989 it became his best selling album to date. Others that would follow would rise to higher positions in the charts: 2005's Magic Time reached #3 in the UK Chart and his highest placed album in the USA is a tie between Keep It Simple (2008) and Born To Sing: No Plan B (2012) which both peaked at #10.

Whenever God Shines His Light (featuring Cliff Richard) became his first ever Top 20 single in the UK, can you believe that! Have I Told You Lately was not a hit for Van but Rod Stewart had a Top 5 hit with it both sides of the Atlantic in 1993. What's really interesting about this song is that it has generally been regarded as one of the great love ballads (and I'm pretty sure that's how Rod Stewart interpreted it) and the lyrics, with careful inspection, clearly show that it is a love song but a love song to God (who pops up here and there on this album).

There's always been a hint of spirituality about Van Morrison's work but on this album it is an overriding theme.

Georgie Fame appears on the album and this begun a collaboration that lasted for many albums throughout the nineties.

The album was recorded over a two day period (they had rehearsed the songs only two days prior to going to the studio) and guitarist Arty McGlynn has said they were not sure if it was a demo for an album or an actual album they had recorded!

My favourite track off the album is the one that closes it, These Are The Days. I've put the lyrics and singled out the song down at the bottom of the page. It has, I think, some of the most beautiful lyrics that Morrison has ever written.

 Avalon Sunset - Van Morrison
Mercury
Produced by Van Morrison
Released 5th June 1989
UK Charts #13
US Charts # 91


Personnel
    Van Morrison - vocal, guitar
    Alan Barnes - baritone saxophone
    Clive Culbertson - bass
    Neil Drinkwater - accordion, piano, synthesizer
    Dave Early - drums, percussion
    Cliff Hardie - trombone
    Roy Jones - drums, percussion
    Carol Kenyon - backing vocals
    Katie Kissoon - backing vocals
    Henry Lowther - trumpet
    Arty McGlynn - guitar
    Stan Sulzmann - alto saxophone
    Steve Pearce - bass guitar
    Cliff Richard - vocal on "Whenever God Shines His Light"
    Georgie Fame - Hammond organ



These Are The Days

These Are The Days
by Van Morrison
Oh your smiling face, your gracious presence
The fires of spring are kindling bright
Oh the radiant heart and the song of glory
Crying freedom in the night

These are the days by the sparkling river
His timely grace and our treasured find
This is the love of the one magician
Turned the water into wine

These are the days of the endless dancing and the
Long walks on the summer night
These are the days of the true romancing
When I'm holding you oh, so tight

These are the days by the sparkling river
His timely grace and our treasured find
This is the love of the one great magician
Turned the water into wine

These are the days now that we must savor
And we must enjoy as we can
These are the days that will last forever
You've got to hold them in your heart.
Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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