Van Morrison – Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart (1983)

LPFrontCover1.jpgInarticulate Speech of the Heart is the fourteenth studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1983. Morrison said he arrived at the title from a Shavian saying: “that idea of communicating with as little articulation as possible, at the same time being emotionally articulate”. As his last album for Warner Bros. Records, he decided to do an album of mostly instrumentals. As he explained in 1984, “Sometimes when I’m playing something, I’m just sort of humming along with it, and that’s got a different vibration than an actual song. So the instrumentals just come from trying to get that form of expression, which is not the same as writing a song.” Although not expanded upon, of note is that a special thanks is given to L. Ron Hubbard in the liner notes. The reissued and remastered version of the album contains alternative takes of “Cry for Home” and “Inarticulate Speech of the Heart No. 2”.

The recording sessions took place in California, Dublin, and a series of marathon sessions at the Town House in London. Morrison played piano, guitar and saxophone on these sessions. Two Irish musicians played on the album (Arty McGlynn and Davy Spillane) and overall the music had a strong Celtic colouring. Four of the songs were instrumentals. (by wikipedia)


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. “The Street Only Knew Your Name” is the only piece that could be classified as a rocker, tempered even here by the synthesizer overlays. The record sold poorly, but many of those who bought it consider it one of the most cherished items in their Van Morrison collections. (by Richard S. Ginell)


John Allair (keyboards)
Tom Donlinger (percussion, drums, percussion)
Pee Wee Ellis (saxophone, flute)
David Hayes (bass)
Peter van Hooke (drums, tambourine)
Mark Isham (synthesizer, trumpet)
Arty McGlynn (guitar)
Chris Michie (guitar)
Van Morrison (guitar, piano, saxophone, vocals)
Davy Spillane (uilleann pipes, flute)
background vocals:
Annie Stocking –Bianca Thornton – Mihr Un Nisa Douglass – Stephanie Douglass – Pauline Lozana


01. Higher Than The World 3.39
02. Connswater 4.08
03. River Of Time 3.00
04. Celtic Swing 5.03
05. Rave On, John Donne 5.15
06. Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart No. 1 4.52
07. Irish Heartbeat 4.38
08. The Street Only Knew Your Name 3.36
09. Cry For Home 3.42
10. Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart No. 2 3.53
11. September Night 5.14

All songs written by Van Morrison



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