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Van Morrison – Pay The Devil


Pay the Devil is a new country set from the legenday Van Morrison. It is comprised of 15 tracks; three of these are originals and 12 are covers of some of Morrison’s favourite classic country songs, including “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Things Have Gone to Pieces” and “Big Blue Diamonds.” In 1962, Ray Charles, one of Morrison’s biggest influences recorded the monumental Modern Sounds In country & Western Music. At the time the genre jump seemed risky, but Charles proved that a great artist could make it work if he worked with great songs. Morrison, who has successfully recorded jazz, rock, R&B, blues, Celtic, skiffle and more, proves that theory to be valid. His distinctive voice melds seamlessly with these classics written by songwriting masters such as Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, Merle Kilgore, Rodney Crowell and Leon Payne.

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SKU: Lost Highway B0005968-01 [5] Categories: , , , Tags: , ,


Recorded in Belfast with his own band, Pay the Devil flows seamlessly from start to finish over 15 cuts. It opens with a killer read of “There Stands the Glass,” which is brave considering it’s synonymous with Webb Pierce (one of two here — the other is “More and More”). It’s drenched in pedal steel, electric guitar, and a pair of basses. The fiddle floats just above the upright piano and a swell of strings in the bridge. It drips with a swaggering loneliness and gets the full weepy treatment with Geraint Watkins’ piano solo. “Things Have Gone to Pieces,” written by Leon Payne, is full of wasted self-pity and honky tonk desolation. Once more it’s a daring move given how closely associated the song is with George Jones. In the grain of his lionhearted voice, Morrison tears it back to its essence as a country-blues song. Morrison outdoes himself on Clarence Williams’ “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It,” turning it into a rockabilly shuffle. Billy Wallace’s “Back Street Affair” is full of barroom soul. Bill Anderson’s “Once a Day” is given the full ’60s countrypolitain treatment here, with strings and a full backing chorus that could almost be the Anita Kerr Singers. “What Am I Living For” is a tune closely associated with Conway Twitty in his prime. Morrison’s version touches on the original but brings it home to Belfast. (Partial AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek).


1. There Stands The Glass
2. Half As Much
3. Things Have Gone To Pieces
4. Big blue Diamonds
5. Playhouse
6. Your Cheatin’ Heart
7. My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It
8. Back Street Affair
1. Pay the Devil
2. What Am I Living For?
3. This Has Got To Stop
4. Once A Day
5. More and More
6. Till I Gain Control Again


Additional information

Weight 0.480 kg
Dimensions 32.0 × 32.0 × 2.0 cm