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Born to Sing/No Plan B, by Van Morrison

Way back in ancient history — the ’60s — I was living in San Francisco, and one of my favorite ways to spend a sunny day was driving the winding road to Stinson Beach. I had the top of my VW bug down and was tripping to Astral Weeks, the essential second album by Irish troubadour Van Morrison. Here it is more than four decades later, and listening to Van Morrison's latest — his 35th(!) solo album — I declare the artist has still got the magic and the music in him.

VM's vocal style mesmerizes, as it swings and plays the lyrics around the instruments accompanying him. Born to Sing/No Plan B features ten original tracks on which the Grammy-winning songsmith plays the piano, guitar, and alto sax.

The album kicks off with one of its strongest songs, "Open the Door," a breezy soul strut that says all you need to know about the icon’s ’60s roots: "Money doesn't make you fulfilled/ money is just to pay the bills.” My favorite take, however, is "Going Down to Monte Carlo," a traveling song, with an "Astral Weeks" vibe and contempo-jazz background sound.

The title track is a retro, almost doo-wop-sounding song, and "End of the Rainbow" kicks off with a catching, swing-jazz instrumental. The biggest surprise on the album, though, is the last song, "Educating Archie," which I suspect refers to the old TV character Archie Bunker, and his conservative politics: "You're a slave to the capitalist system/ You're controlled by the media/ What happened to the individual?/ Tell me, what happened to you"?

  • Album: Born to Sing/No Plan B
  • Artist: Van Morrison
  • Label: Blue Note
  • Songs: (1) Open the door (to your heart) (2) Going Down to Monte Carlo (3) Born to sing (4) End of the Rainbow (5) Close enough for Jazz (6) Mystic of the East (7) Retreat and View (8) If in the money we trust (9) Pagan Heart (10) Educating Archie
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Way back in ancient history — the ’60s — I was living in San Francisco, and one of my favorite ways to spend a sunny day was driving the winding road to Stinson Beach. I had the top of my VW bug down and was tripping to Astral Weeks, the essential second album by Irish troubadour Van Morrison. Here it is more than four decades later, and listening to Van Morrison's latest — his 35th(!) solo album — I declare the artist has still got the magic and the music in him.

VM's vocal style mesmerizes, as it swings and plays the lyrics around the instruments accompanying him. Born to Sing/No Plan B features ten original tracks on which the Grammy-winning songsmith plays the piano, guitar, and alto sax.

The album kicks off with one of its strongest songs, "Open the Door," a breezy soul strut that says all you need to know about the icon’s ’60s roots: "Money doesn't make you fulfilled/ money is just to pay the bills.” My favorite take, however, is "Going Down to Monte Carlo," a traveling song, with an "Astral Weeks" vibe and contempo-jazz background sound.

The title track is a retro, almost doo-wop-sounding song, and "End of the Rainbow" kicks off with a catching, swing-jazz instrumental. The biggest surprise on the album, though, is the last song, "Educating Archie," which I suspect refers to the old TV character Archie Bunker, and his conservative politics: "You're a slave to the capitalist system/ You're controlled by the media/ What happened to the individual?/ Tell me, what happened to you"?

  • Album: Born to Sing/No Plan B
  • Artist: Van Morrison
  • Label: Blue Note
  • Songs: (1) Open the door (to your heart) (2) Going Down to Monte Carlo (3) Born to sing (4) End of the Rainbow (5) Close enough for Jazz (6) Mystic of the East (7) Retreat and View (8) If in the money we trust (9) Pagan Heart (10) Educating Archie
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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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