August 4, 2021 – 7:35 am

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Click on the panels for a better view or to download jpg artwork.

Irish Heartbeat Live! [no label, 1CD]

Fan compilation. Various dates and venues. Very good audio - mix of radio broadcasts and audience recordings?

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David Browne, reviewing Van Morrison’s Irish Heartbeat [1988] at

It would be hard to imagine a more natural merger of pop and folk than this collaboration between Van Morrison and Ireland’s preeminent oldwave traditional band, the Chieftains. Yet even those expectations don’t prepare one for the splendor and intense beauty of Irish Heartbeat, a collection of ballads that finds both acts at the top of their form. It’s no coincidence that Morrison chose to re-record “Celtic Ray” (from 1982’s Beautiful Vision) for this album: after his recent series of frustratingly opaque records, which merged themes of spiritual yearning with music that meandered between jazz and New Age, the line “I’ve been away from the Ray too long” takes on a significance it never had before.

Never hokey and always affecting, Irish Heartbeat taps into the melancholy, deeply spiritual side of the Irish heritage, in which centuries-old music is more than a way of life; it is life. In “Carrickfergus,” a homesick old drifter prepares to die; in the Gaelic “Tá Mo Chleamhnas Déanta (My Match It Is Made),” a man searching for his true love learns she has “crossed the ocean.” Even brighter songs like “My Lagan Love” and the oft-recorded “She Moved Through the Fair” are as overcast as an Irish afternoon.

The collaboration benefits both parties. Whether buzzing like a bagpipe on “Celtic Ray” or singing a jaunty jig like “I’ll Tell Me Ma,” Morrison sounds more relaxed than usual; “Raglan Road” is a vocal tour de force that progresses from a hushed, urgent tone to a rush of melismatic phrasing. The Chieftains, who’ve approached parlor-music tedium on recent recordings, sound unusually frisky on “Marie’s Wedding” and “Star of the County Down.”

The album’s musical and lyrical themes converge in the title song, which originally appeared on Morrison’s 1983 album Inarticulate Speech of the Heart. What was once a minor track on a relatively minor album is given a new context, and the song, a meditation on the ties that bind, opens up and breathes for the first time. Toward the end, the placid arrangement builds to a swell of fiddles and tin whistles, and Morrison, lost in reverie, starts scatting. Rarely has such a small moment symbolized so much.

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Thanks to robbiem for sharing the tracks at Dime.

robbiem noted:

Many thanks and much appreciation for all the tapers, masterers and seeders for making this sort of thing possible. Special thanks to prb for being a font of knowledge and clarity.

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Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (320 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

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Kindly email us if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files. Also email us if you have any rarities you’d like to share with our readers.

Track 01. Star of the County Down 2:36
March 6, 1992; Colston Hall, Bristol, UK
Track 02. Irish Heartbeat 4:32
January 12, 2001; Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
Track 03. Ta Mo Chleamhnas Deanta - with The Chieftains 3:07
September 15, 1988; Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Track 04. Raglan Road 3:17
December 4, 1997; St David’s Hall, Cardiff, Wales
Track 05. She Moved Through The Fair 5:17
October 11, 1989; Royal Albert Hall, London, UK
Track 06. I’ll Tell Me Ma - with The Chieftains 2:28
October 9, 1988; The Kultis, Helsinki, Finland
Track 07. Carrickfergus 3:32
April 20, 1990; Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
Track 08. Celtic Ray 5:35
July 27, 1981; The Record Plant, Sausalito, CA
Track 09. My Lagan Love 2:40
April 21, 1992; Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA
Track 10. Marie’s Wedding - with The Chieftains 2:42
October 22, 1988; Royal Albert Hall, London, UK

36 mins

Click here to order Van Morrison releases.


  2. Van+The Chieftains=Great music, indeed!

    By Mark on Aug 4, 2021

  3. Rumor has it Van gots a Big Un

    By U L E on Aug 4, 2021

  4. Wonder if he has caught covid yet ?

    By HHH on Aug 4, 2021

  5. Moron meatbeat party at my place.

    All day, every day.

    By U L E on Aug 4, 2021

  6. Last one twernt me nuther fake

    By U L E on Aug 5, 2021

  7. Hey old grumpy guts. Read this and LEARN !!

    By Derrick & the Dominos on Aug 5, 2021

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