When I say `with Van Morrison you pretty much know what you’re getting,’ I say it with the highest compliments possible. The near sixty year-old troubador somehow manages to put out consistently good album after consistently good album. Sure, the progression has been slow, looking at the difference between now and `Them.’ (Sorry, had to do it). But in actuality, Morrison has continued to delve the depths of rock, soul, rhythm and blues and jazz. What’s most amazing about Van Morrison, then and now, is his soulful voice, having changed very little in the passing years. Magic Time showcases just who Van Morrison is, putting up for aural display a varied platter of various genres and styles with one consistent and legendary voice.
Magic Time is like comfort food. It may not be daring, like sushi when being tried for the first time, or bland and sensible, like rice crackers. Instead it is like macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. You know what it tastes like every time, even before you’ve had a bite, but you know you like it and that the taste will never suddenly change on you. My wife and I have been known to sit at our kitchen table on a drizzly Sunday morning, reading the paper and listening to Astral Weeks or The Best of Van Morrison. Rather than invade the air around us, it blankets us, slowly creeping its way around our forms, kept at bay by the sound of the rain against the window.
Songs on Magic Time vary between the R&B magic found on Moondance (“Stranded”), and a fifties doo-wop rock and roll style that spawned his original band (covers of “This Love of Mine” and “I’m Confessin'”). This is the picture of a man continuing to do what he loves, sing rock and roll songs. Morrison is one of those rare artists who had hit singles that were wildly popular at the time, then to become perennial classic rock favorites. Longevity is not common in popular music. For him to still be putting out such timeless work is simply…well, magic.
When some artists show consistency, it can become tiresome. You’ve heard one Sting of Bryan Adams album, you’ve kind of heard them all. But when consistency mixes with quality, it becomes a winning combination that cannot be denied. Van Morrison has found the balance of the two for over forty years and Magic Time is no exception. Putting it on your car stereo, iPod, or home system will bring to mind warm thoughts, vivid memories and a sense of blissful calm that can only come with the froggy voice that is the Celtic bard, Van Morrison.
Van Morrison- Moondance
Elvis Costello & the Attractions- Get Happy!!
Otis Redding- The Dock of the Bay