Van Morrison : Bright Side of the Road
In August of 1979, Van Morrison released the critically acclaimed Into The Music, an album that takes listeners "from the dark end of the street/To the bright side of the road". "I suspect it's Van's best album since Moondance", wrote Village Voice critic Robert Christgau. Recorded in the same Sausalito studio where Fleetwood Mac made Rumours, Into The Music sounds like a joyous, sunny somewhat Christian celebration on Side One. Side Two is more ambitious, intimate and romantic and works as a four song cycle. Side One revisits the moods of Moondance. Side Two, those of Astral Weeks.
The album as a whole reminds me of what Morrison told Cameron Crowe in 1977:
The rockers are a little lightweight, the final cut drags halfway through, and that's all that's wrong with this record, including its tributes to "the Lord." You might get religion yourself if all of your old powers returned after years of failed experiments, half-assed compromises, and onstage crack-ups. Like that other godfearing singer-songwriter, Morrison has abandoned metaphorical pretensions, but only because he loves the world. His straightforward celebrations of town and country are colored and deepened by his musicians--especially sprightly violinist Toni Marcus (feh on Scarlet Rivera)--and by his own excursions into a vocalise that has never been more various or apt. The only great song on this record is "It's All in the Game," written by Calvin Coolidge's future vice-president in 1912. But I suspect it's Van's best album since Moondance.
And from Jay Cocks of Rolling Stone: