not a member? click here to sign up

Van Morrison: Born To Sing: No Plan B

Belfast legend storms back into the limelight

Rating: 8 / 10

Colm O'Hare, 05 Oct 2012



Recent Irish shows have seen Van the Man re-engergised and rejuvenated, enthusiastically revisiting his vast back catalogue and, at times, displaying some hitherto missing-in-action onstage humour! His 35th studio album, his first in four years, is chock-full of that newfound energy, lyrically and musically – and all the better for it. With its heart in the rhythm ‘n’ blues he grew up with, along with his trademark horn-driven, soulful arrangements and honey-coated melodies, Born To Sing: Plan B, harks back to his ‘70s heyday. “Feeling good, singing the blues,” he croons with a hint of ironic self deprecation on the title-track, adding that, “It ain’t easy to keep on paying the dues.”

Though he never released a sub-par album, at times he has appeared to coast on certain songs. Not so here. First track ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’ is classic Van: all stabbing brass, shimmering organ, jangling guitars, and that voice, as transcendent, mystical and powerful as ever. ‘Down To Monte Carlo’ recalls his mantra-like ‘The Days Before Rock & Roll’, while ‘Close Enough For Jazz’ is, not surprisingly, the jazziest track here, its creeping rhythm not a million miles away from ‘Moondance’. Elsewhere ‘Mystic Of The East’ revisits a theme he has often explored in the past while ‘Pagan Heart’ is a John Lee Hooker-style blues.

He takes more than one swipe at the current state of world affairs on the oddly-titled ‘Educating Archie’, which finds him firing off at those “controlled by the media who took away your constitution.” And on the sublime ‘End Of The Rainbow’ he muses “every penny has got to be earned, everybody’s got to be at the coalface.”

With superb accompaniment from a stellar band, the performances and arrangements on Born To Sing: Plan B are close to perfection. His best album since 1995’s Days Like This.


Rating: 8 / 10
Artist Related Content

Latest Related Articles For This Artist

Arise Sir Van! Morrison collects his knighthood

Jazz legend is honoured at Buckingham Palace


News: 04 Feb 2016

Van Morrison appears in Steve Van Zandt-narrated documentary

They're both celebrating the talent of 'Here Comes The Night' songwriter Bert Berns


News: 04 Feb 2016

Van Morrison distances himself from Kilross House case in statement

His estranged wife is taking a civil action against her neighbours.


News: 13 Oct 2015

Happy Birthday Van Morrison! Report from The Man's 70th birthday bash

P.J. Proby and Chris Farlowe are among the musical guests as east Belfast’s finest gets in festive mood on – guess where? – Cyprus Avenue...


News: 31 Aug 2015

Van Morrison back catalogue scooped by Legacy Recordings

Sony division's acquisition means 33 albums will be available digitally and from streaming sites from Friday


News: 25 Aug 2015

best of ireland

Contact Us

Hot Press,
13 Trinity Street,
Dublin 2.
Rep. Of Ireland
Tel: +353 (1) 241 1500

Email:info@hotpress.ie

Click here for more contact information.

Click here to find out more about Hot Press

Hot Press always welcomes feed back so if you've got something to tell us click here.

Advertise With Us

For more detail on how to advertise with Hot Press click here or call us on +353 (1) 241 1540