Into the Music
|Into the Music|
|Studio album by Van Morrison|
|Studio||Record Plant, Sausalito|
|Genre||Rhythm and blues, rock and roll, Gaelic music|
|Label||Mercury (UK), Warner Bros. (US)|
|Producer||Van Morrison, Mick Glossop|
|Van Morrison chronology|
|Singles from Into the Music|
Into the Music is the 11th studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released in August 1979 and titled after Ritchie Yorke's 1975 biography of the same name on Morrison; the book had been titled in reference to his song "Into the Mystic" (1970). The record received widespread acclaim in 1979 and was named by critics as one of the year's best albums.
During the recording of the album, one of the musicians, trumpet player Mark Isham referred Morrison to Pee Wee Ellis who lived nearby. Morrison brought him in to do the horn charts for "Troubadours" with Ellis remaining and working on the entire album. The band also included Toni Marcus on strings, Robin Williamson on penny whistle, and Ry Cooder playing slide guitar on "Full Force Gale".
Music and lyrics
Morrison wrote most of the songs while he was staying with Herbie Armstrong in the Cotswold village of Epwell, England, and the sense of place is reflected in the spirit of the music. During this time, he would often walk through the fields with his guitar composing the future album's songs.
Erik Hage commented that after the favourable commercial reception of Wavelength, Morrison was inspired to "return to something deeper, to once again take up the quest for music, that was spontaneous, meditative, and transcendent—music that satisfied the other side of his artistic nature." Morrison was quoted on his opinion of the album, "Into the Music was about the first album where I felt, I'm starting here...the Wavelength thing, I didn't really feel that was me." (1988) "That's when I got back into it. That's why I called it Into the Music." (1984)
The opening track, "Bright Side of the Road" was a successful single in the UK, charting at #63. The healing power of music would be subtly introduced on "And the Healing Has Begun" and would be a continuing theme in Morrison's music. Although a celebration of love and life was the predominant theme of the album: "Troubadours", "Steppin' Out Queen" and "You Make Me Feel So Free" were especially so. "Troubadours" is an uplifting celebration of the singer-songwriter from ancient days walking through towns "singin songs of love and chivalry". "Rolling Hills" is a joyful song in which the singer directly refers to Christianity and of living his life "in Him" and reading The Bible. The album is notable for its interpolation of an elegiac version of the fifties pop hit "It's All in the Game", that was voted #813 on Dave Marsh's list of 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. It was a B-side to the Morrison song "Cleaning Windows".
|The Great Rock Discography||8/10|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|The Village Voice||A|
In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, Jay Cocks hailed Into the Music as a daring "record of splendid peace" and "vastly ambitious attempt to reconcile various states of grace: physical, spiritual and artistic". "That's what this album is about, proudly and stunningly and with no apologies", Cocks wrote. "Resurrection. Real Hope." Tom Bentkowski from New York found Morrison's spirituality casually but confidently expressed in songs that are "introspective, impressionistic", and "charged by the author's overwhelming belief in them". High Fidelity was impressed by Morrison's ability to explore a diversity of universal emotions and called the album "the full-circle complement to his most cosmic, allegorical work", veering from gospel-rooted R&B and Gaelic songs to rock and roll blended with "heartfelt religious fervor". "There's a general sense of happiness and clarity here", the magazine wrote, "as if Morrison has finally distilled his feelings down to their most essential musical level." In The Village Voice, Robert Christgau deemed Into the Music his best record since 1970's Moondance while writing that like Bob Dylan, Morrison had "abandoned metaphorical pretensions, but only because he loves the world". Morrison's simple odes to rural life, he believed, were made vivid and deeper by backing musicians such as Marcus and "by his own excursions into a vocalise that has never been more various or apt." Christgau viewed "It's All in the Game" as the album's only great song, however, and was somewhat critical of the "lightweight rockers" and "You Know What They're Writing About", which he felt sounded tedious halfway through.
Into the Music was voted the sixth best album of 1979 in the Pazz & Jop, an annual poll of American critics nationwide; Christgau, the poll's supervisor, ranked it fourth on his own year-end list. In The Rolling Stone Album Guide (1983), Dave Marsh later said the second half's suite of nocturnal ballads was "the greatest side of music Morrison has created since Astral Weeks". Morrison biographer Erik Hage called the record "a fully fleshed-out musical vision that often surrenders to rapturous moments of pure beauty".
After the release of Into the Music and before his next release, Common One, in 1980, Morrison appeared at the Montreux Jazz Festival with a fully fleshed-out big band. He performed two of the songs from the album, "Troubadours" and "Angeliou". These two songs featured Morrison interacting with the brass section composed of Pee Wee Ellis and Mark Isham. Erik Hage describes this musical relationship between Morrison and the two brass musicians as "simply stunning". Morrison's 2006-released DVD, Live at Montreux 1980/1974, contained these performances of the two songs.
The 29 January 2008 reissued and remastered version of Into the Music contains alternative takes of "Steppin' Out Queen" and "Troubadours".
All songs written by Van Morrison, unless noted.
- Side one
- "Bright Side of the Road" – 3:47
- "Full Force Gale" – 3:14
- "Steppin' Out Queen" – 5:28
- "Troubadours" – 4:41
- "Rolling Hills" – 2:53
- "You Make Me Feel So Free" – 4:09
- Side two
- "Angeliou" – 6:48
- "And the Healing Has Begun" – 7:59
- "It's All in the Game" (Charles Dawes, Carl Sigman) – 4:39
- "You Know What They're Writing About" – 6:10
- 2008 Compact Disc bonus tracks
- "Steppin' Out Queen" (Alternative take) – 7:00
- "Troubadours" (Alternative take) – 5:30
- Van Morrison – vocals, guitar, harmonica
- Herbie Armstrong – guitar, backing vocals
- Pee Wee Ellis – tenor saxophone
- David Hayes – bass
- Mark Isham – trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet
- Mark Jordan – piano
- Katie Kissoon – backing vocals
- Toni Marcus – mandolin, violin, viola, stroviola
- Peter Van Hooke – drums
- John Allair – organ on "And the Healing Has Begun"
- Ry Cooder – slide guitar on "Full Force Gale"
- Zakir Hussain – tabla on "Bright Side of the Road" and "Steppin' Out Queen"
- Robin Williamson – penny whistle on "Troubadours" and "Rolling Hills"
- Kurt Wortman – drums on "Troubadours"
- Producer: Van Morrison
- Assistant Producer: Mick Glossop
- Recorded & Mixed by: Mick Glossop
- Assistant Engineers: Alex Kash (recording), Leslie Ann Jones (mixing)
- Horn Arrangements: Pee Wee Ellis, Mark Isham
- Coordination: Richard Freeman, Ed Fletcher
- Photography and design: Norman Seeff
|1979||Pop Albums||43 |
|1979||UK Album Chart||21|
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