VAN MORRISON — Hymns To The Silence

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4.50 | 1 rating | 1 review
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Album · 1991

Filed under RnB


1-1 Professional Jealousy 3:42
1-2 I'm Not Feeling It Anymore 6:34
1-3 Ordinary Life 3:29
1-4 Some Peace Of Mind 6:24
1-5 So Complicated 3:18
1-6 I Can't Stop Loving You 3:54
1-7 Why Must I Always Explain? 3:50
1-8 Village Idiot 3:13
1-9 See Me Through Part II (Just A Closer Walk With Thee) 3:10
1-10 Take Me Back 9:11
2-1 By His Grace 2:34
2-2 All Saints Day 2:28
2-3 Hymns To The Silence 9:42
2-4 On Hyndford Street 5:17
2-5 Be Thou My Vision 3:49
2-6 Carrying A Torch 4:26
2-7 Green Mansions 3:38
2-8 Pagan Streams 3:38
2-9 Quality Street 3:57
2-10 It Must Be You 4:08
2-11 I Need Your Kind Of Loving 4:31


Acoustic Guitar, Alto Saxophone, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals – Van Morrison
Alto Saxophone – Candy Dulfer (tracks: 1-4, 1-5, 2-10)
Backing Vocals – Carol Kenyon, Katie Kissoon
Baritone Saxophone, Flute – Steve Gregory (tracks: 1-4, 1-5, 1-7, 2-11)
Bass – Nicky Scott, Steve Pearce (tracks: 1-10)
Cor Anglais – Kate St. John (tracks: 1-8, 2-7)
Drums – Paul Robinson
Drums, Percussion – Dave Early
Flugelhorn – Haji Ahkba (tracks: 1-5)
Organ, Piano, Backing Vocals – Georgie Fame
Piano – Eddie Friel (tracks: 1-2, 1-6, 2-3, 2-5, 2-7), Terry Disley (tracks: 1-10)
Piano, Synth, Accordion – Neil Drinkwater
Synth – Derek Bell (tracks: 1-2, 2-4, 2-7)
Violin, Highland Pipes, Whistle, Synth, Piano – The Chieftains (tracks: 1-6, 2-5)

About this release

Polydor ‎– 849 026-2 (Europe)

Track 1-10 recorded at The Wool Hall and Pavillion Studios, London

Thanks to snobb for the addition


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Released in 1991 being Van Morrison’s 21st studio album as well being a double containing quite a mix of styles covering Spiritual, Celtic, Narrative, Rock, Jazz and with a touch of Blues thrown in for good measure. Eclectic is one description but personally for me it’s just Van The Man doing what he has always done mixing it up but not just keeping various styles to predominately one album here we are getting them all. The Chieftains are back for two numbers, George Fame (Hammond organ , piano) , Terry Disley (piano), Candy Dulfer (alto sax), Dave Early (drums), Carol Kenyon, Katie Kissoon, (backing vocals) and the list goes on with two different bassists, flugelhorn, another pianist, accordion all employed for the various studio sessions recorded in London with Van himself inputting vocals, guitar, harmonica and alto sax within the album “Hymns To The Silence”

“Professional Jealousy’ gets it all going having a touch of resentment inserted into the lyrics over this mid tempo number with “I’m Not feeling It No Anymore” perhaps being a response for the prior number over a jaunty piano line throughout the song. Blues based “Ordinary Life” with Van on harmonica and a touch of Jazz follows with “Some Peace Of Mind” as the following “So Complicated” keeps that theme going.” Why Must I Always Explain” is often referred to the similarity with “Tupelo Honey” albeit at a slightly faster pace which seems to gel more with the song’s chorus. The Chieftains are the band for the Don Gibson classic country number “I Can’t Stop Loving You” with Van inserting guitar, Paddy Maloney with a Pipe solo and the two backing vocalists adding input for quite a nice take of the song. “Village Idiot” is one of the picks from the album which harkens back to “Crazy Face” from Van’s 1970 album “Van Morrison His Band And The Street Choir” with the odd one out being the topic but perhaps that is not the case at all for this lovely number. Spiritual is the base for the lovely “ See Me Through Part 11 (Just A Closer Walk With Thee)” containing a section of narrative with a later connection to his another narrative on the following disc “ On Hyndford St”. The last one is the slow Blues of “Take Me Back” with repetition a plenty within Van’s vocals in this stretched out delightful low key take.

The Spiritual comes to the fore within the second disc’s make up with the lively “By His Grace”, the Jazzed up “All Saints Day” following and the stunning title song “Hymns To The Silence”. Two narrations are included being “On Hyndford St” and “Pagan Streams” with the later being my pick. The Chieftains are back for another Spiritual “Be Thou My Vision” with the next “ Carrying A Torch” being the best ballad on the album with even Tom Jones using the number with three others contained within this album in his own 1991 release “Carrying A Torch”. The laid back “Green Mansions” and “Quality Street” follow with another nice ballad “It Must Be You” and the album finishing up with the love song “I Need Your Kind Of Loving”.

You won’t be rolling up the carpet or getting the dancing shoes on but this album is still one of Van Morrison’s best releases in the last thirty years containing a great mix of styles with plenty of great moments from Van’s vocals hitting the notes included. Needs a few plays and just have it on early morning, late at night or any quiet moments and just let it roll over and sing and dream along with all these beautiful hymns and narrations, to the silence.

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