|Studio album by Van Morrison and The Chieftains|
|Recorded||September 1987—January 1988, Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin|
|Genre||Traditional Irish folk, Folk-rock|
|Producer||Van Morrison, Paddy Moloney|
|Van Morrison chronology|
|The Chieftains chronology|
|Singles from Irish Heartbeat|
Irish Heartbeat is the eighteenth studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and is a collaboration with the traditional Irish musical group The Chieftains, released in 1988 (see 1988 in music). The album was recorded at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, Ireland and reached number 18 in the UK album charts.
The album was recorded on dates from September to December 1987 and in January 1988. The Chieftains and Van Morrison had met years before at the Edinburgh rock festival. They joined up in Belfast during Morrison's No Guru tour and afterwards, Morrison and Paddy Moloney discussed recording an album together during a walk. They each had a list of songs and reached a consensus to cover two of Morrison's previously released tracks (the title track was one) and the rest from traditional Irish songs.
I think at that time Van was searching for his Irish roots. It was this man of blues, of rock ‘n’ roll, jazz and more importantly soul, coming home to his Irishness with The Chieftains and the music we’d been playing for so many years. Musically we were going to meet each other half way.
The album consists of eight traditional Irish songs, plus re-workings of the Morrison songs "Celtic Ray" (which first appeared on 1982's Beautiful Vision) and the title track "Irish Heartbeat" (which first appeared on 1983's Inarticulate Speech of the Heart). "Carrickfergus" is described as "a melancholic air worthy of Otis Redding" by critic Denis Campbell. "on Raglan Road" was adapted from a poem by Patrick Kavanagh and is the story of "a man ensnared by a beautiful revenant whom he had mistaken for 'a creature made of clay'."  In 1994, Billy Connolly recorded a live cover of the song "Irish Heartbeat" during his World Tour of Scotland. The performance was used as the closing theme to the BBC series.
|Robert Christgau||C+ |
The album received mostly positive reviews upon its release. It was called "some of the most haunting, rousing, downright friendly music of the year". Rolling Stone gave the album four stars and remarked upon its "splendor and intense beauty". On the other hand, critic Robert Christgau gave the album a "C+" in his Consumer Guide and called Morrison's collaboration with the Chieftains "misguided." Nonetheless, it was voted one of the best albums of the year in the Village Voice's influential Pazz & Jop rock critics' poll.
- "Star of the County Down" – 2:41
- "Irish Heartbeat" (Morrison) – 3:52
- "Tá Mo Chleamhnas Déanta (My Match It Is Made)" – 3:31
- "Raglan Road" – (lyrics by Patrick Kavanagh) – 4:43
- "She Moved Through the Fair" – 4:44
- "I'll Tell Me Ma" – 2:29
- "Carrickfergus" – 4:23
- "Celtic Ray" (Morrison) – 3:47
- "My Lagan Love" – 5:19
- "Marie's Wedding" – 3:17
- Van Morrison – lead vocals, guitar, drums
- Paddy Moloney – uilleann pipes, tin whistle
- Martin Fay – fiddle, bones
- Derek Bell – harp, keyboards, tiompán
- Kevin Conneff – bodhran, co-lead vocals on "Star of the County Down", "Tá Mo Chleamhnas Déanta" and "I'll Tell Me Ma"
- Matt Molloy – flute
- Seán Keane – fiddle
- Ciarán Ó Braonáin – bass
- Mary Black – back-up vocals on "Marie's Wedding" and "Tá Mo Chleamhnas Déanta"
- Maura O'Connell – back-up vocals on "Marie's Wedding"
- June Boyce – back-up vocals on "Celtic Ray", "Irish Heartbeat" and "Marie's Wedding"
Album – Billboard (North America)
|1988||The Billboard 200||102|
Album – UK Albums Chart
|1988||UK Albums Chart||18|
- Glatt, The Chieftains, p. 217.
- Hinton, Celtic Crossroads, p. 266-267.
- Hinton. Celtic Crossroads. p.269.
- Heylin, Can You Feel the Silence? p. 418
- Ruhlmann, William. Irish Heartbeat at AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- Rolling Stone 11 August 1988
- Christgau, Robert. Irish Heartbeat. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- Heylin, Can You Feel the Silence?, p. 418
- Rolling Stone, Aug. 11, 1988
- Consumer Guide, Nov. 29, 1988
- The 1988 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll
- Glatt, John (1997). The Chieftains: The Authorized Biography, Da Capo Press, ISBN 0-31216-605-2
- Heylin, Clinton (2003). Can You Feel the Silence? Van Morrison: A New Biography, Chicago Review Press, ISBN 1-55652-542-7
- Hinton, Brian (2000) Celtic Crossroads: The Art of Van Morrison, Sanctuary, ISBN 1-86074-169-X