Behind the Ritual
|"Behind the Ritual"|
|Song by Van Morrison|
|from the album Keep It Simple|
|Released||March 17, 2008 UK
April 1, 2008 U.S.
Exile/Lost Highway Records
|Keep It Simple track listing|
"Behind the Ritual" is a song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and included as the ending track on his 2008 album, Keep It Simple. In concerts previewing the album, Morrison used this song as a closer and continued to include it on the set lists of his concerts in 2008.
In the opening lines of the song, the singer is reminiscing of the youthful days in his career as when he fronted the band, Them.
- Drinking wine in the alley, drinking wine in the alley
- Making time, drinking that wine
- Out of my mind in the days gone by
The song's meaning and title are contained in the lines:
- Behind the ritual, Behind the ritual
- You'll find the spiritual
This song is often the favourite of reviewers and critics of all the songs from Keep it Simple.
Reviewer Jeffrey Lee Puckett calls it "one of his trademark long and winding odes" and comments, "He's never messed with us more than he does on 'Behind the Ritual'. At the point when Morrison would normally start improvising a key word or phrase, we get this: blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah repeated around 60 times."
In a review in the Buffalo News, Jeff Miers writes: "'Behind the Ritual' stands out as one of Morrison's finest. Over a poised, shuffle groove the singer slurs, intones, dances around the edges of the meaning, his activity serving to shine a light on what is unstated much in the manner that the timeless 'Madame George' said so much with so little."
Scott Foundas of LA Weekly writes that "it is not the least of Keep it Simple's accomplishments that it adds one trancelike classic in the making to the Morrison repertoire....it's fittingly the album closer...the song is called "Behind the Ritual" and like many of Morrison's best songs, this one points toward a destination.
On a poll conducted on the fansite Van Morrison News, to determine Van Morrison's fans' favourite song from the album Keep It Simple, the song "Behind the Ritual" received 465 votes, placing first ahead of "Keep It Simple" which had 324 votes.
- Van Morrison - vocals, alto saxophone, ukulele
- Mick Green - guitar
- John Allair - organ
- Paul Moore - bass
- Neil Wilkinson - drums
- Liam Bradley - percussion
- Crawford Bell - backing vocals
- Karen Hamill - backing vocals
- Jerome Rimson - backing vocals
- courier- journal.com Review
- Review Buffalo News
- Van Morrison Keep it Simple
- "Van Morrison once again ventures in the slipstream". laweekly.com. 2008-05-21. Archived from the original on 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2008-08-03.
- Marcus (2010) p. 146
- "Keep It Simple poll". vanmorrisonnews.blogspot.com. Archived from the original on 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- Marcus, Greil (2010). When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison, Public Affairs, ISBN 978-1-58648-821-5