Engineers include: Mick Glossop, Walter Samuel, Brian Masterson.
Recorded at Windmill Lane Recording, Dublin, Ireland; The Wool Hall and Real World Studios, Bath, England.
DAYS LIKE THIS continues in the vein of `90s-era Van Morrison albums: covers of slightly obscure nuggets that reflect Morrison's love of classic rhythm and blues, an appreciation for the human condition in the throes of love, and a voice that has ripened with age.
Many of the fine musicians who've worked with Van on his past releases reappear with exemplary results. Over half of the tracks are arranged by former James Brown cohort Pee Wee Ellis, whose charts punch up songs like "Perfect Fit" and the title tune. Brian Kennedy's pure falsetto is a gossamer veil that contrasts Morrison's gruff vocals--particularly on "In The Afternoon," Van's wistful ode to late-in-the-day love-making. Daughter Shana Morrison sings back-up on most tracks, and duets with her father on the two covers--Ray Charles' "You Don't Know Me," which gets a smoky reading with Shana playing Linda Ronstadt to Van's Brother Ray, and the countryish "I'll Never Be Free," originally done by Tennessee Ernie Ford and Kay Starr.
DAYS LIKE THIS also maintains Morrison's ability to delve into the mysticism of his heritage and turn out reams of lyrical intrigue. The complex imagery of "Ancient Highway" refutes Van's claim that he is a simple tunesmith--made on the self-descriptive "Songwriter." The interior conflict of past wrongs and a shot at redemption is what fuels the twists and turns that "Highway" takes. On it, the Belfast Cowboy invokes Hank Williams, a Biblical parable and a town that skips in and out of reality as part of the metaphysical journey; and follows it up by playing acoustic guitar, harmonica and a soulful Hammond organ throughout this eight minutes-plus opus.
What the critics say...
Entertainment Weekly (6/23/95, p.54) - "...too perfunctory to call it a return to form. But...there is a real spark....He'll probably never rescale the heights of old. Then again, this is a guy who could take out a listener with just one punch."
Q (2/96, p.66) - Included in Q's 50 Best Albums of 1995.
Q (7/95, p.118) - 5 Stars - Indispensable - "...a glorious return to form....a collection of songs in his classical Celtic-soul vein, suffused, for the most part, with a spirit of romantic optimism....this is Van Morrison in relaxed and rejuvenated form..."
Musician (9/95, p.93) - "There are moments here when Morrison's interplay with the band verges on the telepathic, mixing jazz, blues and soul better than anyone in contemporary music. There are great songs...that address complex topics with clarity and wit..."
- Perfect Fit
- Russian Roulette
- You Don't Know Me
- No Religion
- Underlying Depression
- Days Like This
- I'll Never Be Free
- Ancient Highway
- In The Afternoon
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