At the Movies: Soundtrack Hits (2007) is a 19-track compilation of Van Morrison songs featured in a film at one time or another. Rather than play like an odds-and-ends compilation of soundtrack rarities as one might expect, Soundtrack Hits plays like a best-of collection, including many of Morrison's greatest solo hits along with a couple Them songs ("Gloria," "Baby Please Don't Go"). There are several live versions in place of the studio cuts. The live versions of "Moondance" and "Brown Eyed Girl" are previously unreleased.
Almost a forgotten album, Inarticulate Speech of the Heart takes listeners to the deepest, most inward areas of Van Morrison's renegade Irish soul, the culmination of his spiritual jazz period and also – perhaps not coincidentally – the last record he made for Warner Bros. Four of the 11 tracks are moody instrumentals, which might partly explain the indifference of many rock critics toward the album, although the album's very title gives a clue to their presence. The mood is predominantly mellow but never flaccid or complacent; there is a radiance that glows throughout. "Higher Than the World" is simply one of the most beautiful recordings Morrison ever made, with Mark Isham's choir-like synthesizer laying down the lovely backdrop. The instrumental "Connswater" is the most Irish-flavored piece that Morrison had made up to that point, and would continue to be until he recorded with the Chieftains in 1988. "Rave on, John Donne" – in part a recitation invoking a roster of writers over a supple two-chord vamp – seems to have had the longest afterlife, reappearing in Morrison's live shows and greatest-hits compilations.
A live performance from Van Morrison, recorded at LSO St. Luke's, London February 10, 2008. Features English musical legend Georgie Fame. The set list includes tracks from his new album as well as old favourites, including Magic Time, One Irish Rover and That's Entrainment.
Van Morrison does exactly what he wants, when he wants, and continually mines the past no matter the cost. It's been four years since the Celtic soulman issued a collection of new, original studio material (Born to Sing: No Plan B), but given the music, it could have been yesterday. Morrison has no interest in innovation, he's already done that. The pace here is (mostly) laid-back, the music drenched in jazz, R&B, blues, and classy pop. He revels throughout in an elegant slow burn; his lyric themes are bittersweet, melancholic, filled with emotional and symbolic memory; his longing for the previous prevalent. The first line on album-opener "Let It Rhyme" is: "Throw another coin in the wishing well/Tell everybody to go to hell…" atop skeins of country and R&B as he reveals his recalcitrance…
When Van Morrison's double-length It's Too Late to Stop Now was released in 1974, it was an anomaly. Compiled from eight nights on his 1973 tour with his 11-piece Caledonia Soul Orchestra, it appeared months prior to Hard Nose the Highway. Contrary to standard industry practice of the time, its contents weren't doctored in the studio afterwards: There were no added overdubs or masked flubs. Some critics took issue with its sound – claiming the band, particularly the horns, were too thin – but there was no debate about the performances. It remains revered as one of the greatest concert recordings ever.
While Van Morrison is, to be kind, an erratic and temperamental live performer, he's in stellar form throughout the double album It's Too Late to Stop Now, a superb concert set that neatly summarizes his career from his days with Them (represented by scorching renditions of "Gloria" and "Here Comes the Night") through 1973's Hard Nose the Highway ("Warm Love," "Wild Children"). In addition to the hits, including "Caravan," "Domino," and "Into the Mystic" (the final line of which gives the album its title), Morrison even pulls out a handful of R&B chestnuts ("Bring It on Home to Me," "Ain't Nothin' You Can Do") before capping off the collection with a show-stopping rendition of Astral Weeks' "Cyprus Avenue." An engaging, warm portrait of the man at the peak of his powers. [This double-live set was re-released on CD in 2016.]