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PROPHET SPEAKS

Prophet Speaks


Instead of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the classic Astral Weeks, Van Morrison continues to deliver new work at an enviable pace. He's long sought to release more than a recording a year in order to keep pace with his intense work ethic. In 2016 he finagled a strategy to accomplish this when he signed separate yet simultaneous label deals allowing him that freedom. The Prophet Speaks is Morrison's fourth outing in 18 months. It follows the same musical template begun with 2017's Roll with the Punches and Versatile in juxtaposing originals with vintage blues, R&B, and jazz covers. This particular set also continues the association he developed with organist and trumpeter Joey DeFrancesco's fine quartet -- illustrated so ably on the jazz-heavy You're Driving Me Crazy. The Prophet Speaks digs deeper into blues and R&B than its predecessor, but sounds equally loose, joyous, and spontaneous. Its 14 tracks contain six new originals sequenced among eight skillfully performed standards. The fingerpopping opener is Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson's "Gonna Send You Back to Where I Got You From," with Morrison delivering a shouted jump-blues vocal as DeFrancesco doubles on Hammond B-3 and trumpet. Bassist Troy Roberts also holds down tenor and soprano saxophones, creating the effect of a whole horn-section, as guitarist Dan Wilson delivers jazzy vamps around Michael Ode's swinging drums. Morrison's voice in John Lee Hooker's "Dimples" rumbles with the sensual feel of the original, though its chart is a polished groover as DeFrancesco and Wilson offer brief, killer solos. Introduced by a righteous electric piano buoyed by upright bass, the original "Got to Go Where the Love Is" is a soul-gospel tune that would have fit nicely on 2016's Keep Me Singing. Sandwiched between wonderfully intuitive readings of Sam Cooke's deep soul blues "Laughin' and Clownin'" and the slippery, gutbucket soul of Solomon Burke's "Gotta Get You Off My Mind" (with daughter Shana Morrison on backing vocals) is Van's jump-blues "5 A.M. Greenwich Mean Time." DeFrancesco's B-3 fills underscore the resonance in Morrison's voice. This version of Willie Dixon's "I Love the Life I Live" is a fantastic update and tribute to Morrison's influence and hero Mose Allison's take on it. In another fine sequential juxtaposition, the singer's name-dropping grievance blues "Ain't Gonna Moan No More" lands between a revisioned take on J.D Harris' "Worried Blues/Rollin' and Tumblin'" and Gene Barge's "Love Is a Five Letter Word" ("spelled M-O-N-E-Y!"); an elegant B-3 and tenor add textural contrast to Morrison's savvy vocal. Three originals close the set. "Love Is Hard Work" soulfully and bitterly takes on the troublesome topic of love, while "Spirit Will Provide" comes straight out of the singer's Celtic soul book. The moody title track, drenched in prophetic post-midnight exhortation, recalls his reading of "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" on Poetic Champions Compose, with DeFrancesco adding muted trumpet fills and a solo. Clocking in at over an hour, The Prophet Speaks breezes through its run-time with memorable performances and joyous vibes. This is a late-career surge that is all the more remarkable because Morrison really seems to be enjoying himself -- he continues to hunger after the music that inspired his vocation in the first place. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi

  • Condition: New
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
    • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
    • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
    • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
    • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
    • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Compact Disc
  • Sold by: HPB.com
  • Seller rating:
  • Label: UMGD
  • UPC: 602577071867


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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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