June 5: Van Morrison released “Days Like This” in 1995

“Days Like This” was a delight, Van´s best album in years. Perhaps reflecting his romantic hook-up with Irish beauty-queen Michelle Rocca (his companion walking the dogs in the cover photo). Van sounded happier here than he´d been for decade..
-Andy Gill (The Ultimate Music Guide – Van Morrison)

Days Like This is the twenty-third studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1995. It is a diverse group of songs offering a variety of moods and styles. It ranked No. 5 on the UK album charts and was nominated for the Mercury Prize.

Days Like This:

His daughter, singer-songwriter Shana Morrison performed duets with her father on two tracks, “You Don’t Know Me” and “I’ll Never Be Free”. “Ancient Highway” was nine minutes long and contained the words “praying to my higher self/Don’t let me down”. It is said to be the one song on the album where he comes closest to following his muse. The title track has continued to be a popular song in concert to the present day. Most of the songs are reflective and seem to come during a time of self-examination. “No Religion” came about Morrison explained when he was thinking: “Wouldn’t it be great just to be born and nobody told you there was such a thing as religion? Say it didn’t exist and you were just told that all you’ve got is this life and that’s it…and there’s no heaven, no hell.” The song, “Songwriter” spoke of his songwriting techniques as a practical application instead of inspired as in the past. “Melancholia” and “Underlying Depression” continue the theme of soul searching.

..and then I began listening carefully to “Ancient Highway”, a nine minute evocation of pagan streams, autumn days, and a town called paradise, Van´s world in a nutshell, an all set to a Spanish tune. That old black magic seeping through, an Astral Week strum, and you´re enraptured all over again.
– Brian Hinton (Celtic Crossroads – The Art of Van Morrison)

Ancient Highway

This could very well be, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, sung and recorded.
Jason Scarabin (youtube comment)

Track listing

  1. “Perfect Fit” — 4:33
  2. “Russian Roulette” — 3:56
  3. “Raincheck” — 5:53
  4. “You Don’t Know Me” (Eddy Arnold, Cindy Walker) – 4:32
  5. “No Religion” — 5:14
  6. “Underlying Depression” — 4:35
  7. “Songwriter” — 2:50
  8. “Days Like This” — 3:13
  9. “I’ll Never Be Free” (Bennie Benjamin, George David Weiss) — 3:37
  10. “Melancholia” — 3:56
  11. “Ancient Highway” — 8:53
  12. “In the Afternoon” — 6:21

Musicians

  • Van Morrison — vocal, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica, alto saxophone, Hammond organ
  • Liam Bradley — drums on “Raincheck” and “You Don’t Know Me”
  • Phil Coulter — piano on “Raincheck”, “You Don’t Know Me” and “I’ll Never Be Free”
  • Geoff Dunn — drums, tambourine
  • Noel Eccles — drums on “I’ll Never Be Free”
  • Pee Wee Ellis — tenor and alto saxophones
  • Leo Green — tenor saxophone
  • Matthew Holland — trumpet, flugelhorn
  • James Hunter — electric guitar, background vocals on “Meloncholia” and “In the Afternoon”
  • Ronnie Johnson — electric guitar
  • Brian Kennedy — background vocals
  • Teena Lyle — recorder, piano, vibraphone, congas, background vocals
  • Foggy Lyttle — electric guitar on “Raincheck”, “You Don’t Know Me” and “I’ll Never Be Free”
  • Arty McGlynn — acoustic guitar on “Raincheck”
  • James McMillan — trumpet, flugelhorn on “Raincheck”, “You Don’t Know Me” and “Ancient Highway”
  • Shana Morrison — vocal, background vocals on “Raincheck”, “You Don’t Know Me”, “I’ll Never Be Free” and “Meloncholia”
  • Jonn Savannah — Hammond organ on “No Religion”
  • Nicky Scott — bass guitar
  • Kate St. John — alto saxophone, oboe

Production

  • Production: Van Morrison and Phil Coulter
  • Recording: Mick Glossop, Walter Samuel and Brian Masterson
  • Assistant engineers: Matthew Lawrence, Greig Sangster, Avril Mackintosh, Jamie Cullum, Alastair McMillan and Meabh Flynn
  • Mixing: Walter Samuel and Mick Glossop
  • Mastering: Ian Cooper and Tim Young
  • Horn arrangements: Pee Wee Ellis and James McMillan

No Religion

Raincheck (live @ RockPalast Germany)

Spotify

Sources:

-Egil

 

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