- Down the Road (Van Morrison album)
Down the Road Studio album by Van Morrison Released May 14, 2002 Recorded Spring 2000-September 2001
Wool Hall, Bath, Somerset, England
Genre Celtic rock, Blues, R&B Length 67:09 Label Universal Producer Van Morrison Van Morrison chronology You Win Again
Down the Road
What's Wrong with This Picture?
Singles from Down the Road
Down the Road is the twenty-ninth album by Northern Irish singer Van Morrison (see 2002 in music). The album has a nostalgic tone, lyrically and musically, and its arrangements mix R&B and blues with country and folk, and with a few exceptions, like "Georgia on My Mind," the music is most often rooted in 1950s and early 1960s popular music.
The album charted at #6 in the UK and #26 in the US, while consistently charting in the top 20 across Europe.
The album was originally recorded with singer and pianist Linda Gail Lewis within a month of the release of You Win Again. It was originally entitled Choppin' Wood, but Morrison re-recorded it, removing Linda Gail Lewis' contributions to the songs and deleting other songs from the album. Morrison recorded another nine songs to the album in late 2001 and retitled it, Down the Road. The songs that were included were increased from an original ten to fifteen tracks and a lengthly sixty-seven minutes. One of the original songs, "Just Like Greta", that was not included on the album would appear on Morrison's 2005 release Magic Time, without a rerecording. It was finished by year's end in 2001 and released after numerous delays.
The songs on the album lean towards the blues the singer listened to in his youth. The title track was originally entitled "Down the Road I Go" and was first recorded in 1981 with guitarist Mark Knopfler. The song was then re-recorded with Linda Gail Lewis in November 2000 with additional lyrics. "Choppin' Wood" is a tribute to the singer's father, George Morrison, who had died suddenly from a heart attack more than a decade earlier. In "The Beauty of the Days Gone By", Morrison attempts to come to terms with approaching old age. In the song "Whatever Happened to P.J. Proby?" Morrison refers to musicians P J Proby and Scott Walker and makes political references to Screaming Lord Sutch, the former leader of the British Monster Raving Loony Party, who died in 1999. In the second verse of the song Morrison claims that he
- Don't have no frame of reference no more
- Not even Screaming Lord Sutch
- Without him now there's no Raving Loony Party
- Nowadays I guess there's not much
Professional ratings Review scores Source Rating Allmusic  The Music Box  Pop Matters (favorable) Rolling Stone  ShakingThrough.net 
John Metzger of The Music Box wrote, "every few years, Morrison manages to tap into some magical space that sums up both his career and his influence in one fell swoop ... not that they're all that groundbreaking, they're just penultimate pieces of perfection. Such is the case with his latest near-masterpiece Down the Road, which finds him fondly recalling the folk, blues, and jazz to which he grew up listening."
Pop Matters critic John Kriecbergs stated in his review: "Bolstered by yet another outstanding collection of backing musicians, ... Down the Road rivals some of Morrison's strongest work."
The album cover depicts the front of a record store with a window full of LP covers by blues, R&B, jazz, and old rock & roll artists, a deliberate blueprint of the album's influences. The shop pictured was actually a real record store, Nashers Music Store in Walcot Street, Bath, UK, specially dressed for the photo-shoot.
All songs by Van Morrison except as indicated.
- "Down the Road" – 4:15
- "Meet Me in the Indian Summer" – 3:57
- "Steal My Heart Away" – 4:20
- "Hey Mr. DJ" – 3:45
- "Talk Is Cheap" – 4:19
- "Choppin' Wood" – 3:26
- "What Makes the Irish Heart Beat" – 3:47
- "All Work and No Play" – 4:51
- "Whatever Happened to P.J. Proby?" – 3:13
- "The Beauty of the Days Gone By" – 5:45
- "Georgia on My Mind" (Hoagy Carmichael, Stuart Gorrell) – 5:35
- "Only a Dream" – 4:57
- "Man Has to Struggle" – 5:07
- "Evening Shadows" (Acker Bilk, Morrison) – 4:01
- "Fast Train" – 5:01
- Van Morrison - acoustic guitar, harmonica, alto saxophone, vocals
- John Allair - Hammond organ
- Crawford Bell - background vocals
- Olwin Bell - background vocals
- Acker Bilk - clarinet
- Richard Dunn - piano, Hammond organ
- Lee Goodall - tenor, alto and baritone saxophones, flute, background vocals
- Mick Green - acoustic and electric guitars
- Colin Griffin - drums
- Karen Hamill - background vocals
- David Hayes - bass guitar, double bass
- Matt Holland - trumpet, flugelhorn, background vocals
- Pete Hurley - bass guitar
- Bobby Irwin - drums
- Bob Loveday - violin
- Siobhan Pettit - background vocals
- Johnny Scott - electric guitar, background vocals
- Fiachra Trench - piano
- Jake Walker - viola
- Geraint Watkins - piano, Hammond organ
- Rosie Wetters - cello, string section leader
- Aine Whelan - background vocals
- Martin Winning - clarinet, tenor saxophone
- Van Morrison - Producer
- Stuart Bruce - Engineer
- Tim Cooper - Mastering
- Walter Samuel - Engineer, Mixing
- Ben Sidran - Liner Notes
- Peter Thorpe - Photography
- Johnny Scott, Aine Whelan - Vocal Arrangement
- Fiachra Trench - String Arrangement
UK Album Chart (United Kingdom)
Year Chart Position 2002 UK Album Chart 6
Billboard (North America)
Year Chart Position 2002 The Billboard 200 25 Chart (2002) Peak
Norway 5 Sweden 10 Italy 20 Australia 7 Netherlands 13
Year Single Position 2002 "Hey Mr. DJ" 58 2002 "Meet Me in the Indian Summer" 116
- ^ a b Heylin. Can You Feel the Silence? p493
- ^ Heylin. Can You Feel the Silence? p529
- ^ Heylin. Can You Feel the Silence? p523
- ^ Rogan. No Surrender. p21
- ^ Ruhlmann, William. "allmusic review". allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r589019. Retrieved 2010-05-19.
- ^ Metzger, John. "The Music Box review". musicbox-online.com. http://www.musicbox-online.com/vm-down.html. Retrieved 2010-05-19.
- ^ Kreicbergs, John (2002-06-12). "Pop Matters review". popmatters.com. http://www.popmatters.com/music/reviews/m/morrisonvan-down.shtml. Retrieved 2010-05-19.
- ^ Fricke, David (2002-05-09). "Rolling Stone review". rollingstone.com. Archived from the original on 2007-11-23. http://web.archive.org/web/20071123204610/http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/88805/review/5940501/downtheroad. Retrieved 2010-05-19.
- ^ Station, Laurence (2002-05-27). "ShakingThrough.net review". shakingthrough.net. http://www.shakingthrough.net/music/reviews/2002/van_morrison_down_the_road_2002.html. Retrieved 2010-05-19.
- ^ "Van Morrison:Down the Road". musicbox-online.com. http://www.musicbox-online.com/vm-down.html. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
- ^ "Van Morrison:Down the Road". popmatters.com. http://www.popmatters.com/music/reviews/m/morrisonvan-down.shtml. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
- ^ Australian charts
- Heylin, Clinton (2003). Can You Feel the Silence? Van Morrison: A New Biography, Chicago Review Press, ISBN 1-55652-542-7
- Rogan, Johnny (2006). Van Morrison: No Surrender, London: Vintage Books ISBN 9780099431831
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