Magic Time (Van Morrison album)

Magic Time (Van Morrison album)
Magic Time
Studio album by Van Morrison
Released May 17, 2005
Recorded November 2000 and 2003 at The Wool Hall and Windmill Lane
Genre Celtic rock, Blues, R&B
Length 58:45
Label Geffen
Producer Van Morrison for Exile Productions
Van Morrison chronology
What's Wrong with This Picture?
Magic Time
Pay the Devil
Singles from Magic Time
  1. "Celtic New Year"
    Released: 2005

Magic Time is the thirty-first album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released on May 17, 2005 (see 2005 in music). It debuted at #25 on the US Billboard charts and #3 on the UK charts—his best ever showing on a studio[1] album. By the end of 2005, Magic Time had sold 252,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Rolling Stone Magazine listed it as #17 on their list of The Top 50 Records of 2005.[2]



The album covers a variety of styles ranging from Celtic rock to R&B and the blues. "Just Like Greta" was recorded in 2000 and originally intended for 2002's Down the Road (when the album was tentatively titled Choppin' Wood), but it was ultimately dropped and used for this album.[3] The rest of the songs were recorded in 2003.


The title song is about a nostalgic searching of the past in order to capture a magic moment almost lost in memory. "The Lion This Time" is a continuation over thirty years later of "Listen to the Lion" that first appeared on his album Saint Dominic's Preview. There is a nursery rhyme quality to it as with its predecessor and a delicate use of a classical string arrangement. Thom Jurek with Allmusic says: "The acoustic 'The Lion This Time' is one of the finest ballads Morrison has cut in decades. Period."[4] "Gypsy In My Soul" is also reminiscent of a song "Gypsy" from Saint Dominic's Preview. "Just Like Greta" and "Stranded" have similar themes of being lost in an alien world with only oneself to rely on. "Celtic New Year" is reminiscent of Irish Heartbeat, an album with The Chieftains. An Allmusic review calls it "trademark Morrison; the long, loping, repetitive line that is his trademark fuels this one. It's carried by the interplay between Morrison's acoustic and Foggy Lyttle's electric guitar fills, and aided by Chieftain Paddy Moloney's whistle."[5] "Carry On Regardless" is a singing list of "Carry On Films" that Morrison seemed to have a special fondness for.[6] The title track, "Magic Time", uses the peculiar time signature 9/8, not used often in popular music.[citation needed]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[7]
BC Music (unrated)[8]
Entertainment Weekly (A-)[9]
Music Box 4/5 stars[10]
Paste (unrated)[11]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[12]

A Paste reviewer on Magic Time says: "You expect to encounter a tired legend, a once-mighty king becalmed and tamed by the miles and years. You find instead an echo of a full-throated roar hanging in the air, the telltale signs of a bloody struggle, and an empty cage. The lion in winter is on the loose." (Andy Whitman)[13]

The Music Box rated Magic Time the number seven album of the year in May 2005.[14]

Liner notes

On the first page of the liner notes is the notation: "This album is dedicated to the memory of Foggy Lyttle who played on most of the tracks."

Track listing

All songs by Van Morrison (unless noted otherwise)

  1. "Stranded" – 5:34
  2. "Celtic New Year" – 6:10
  3. "Keep Mediocrity at Bay" – 3:44
  4. "Evening Train" – 2:48
  5. "This Love of Mine" (Sol Parker, Henry W. Sanicola, Frank Sinatra) – 2:42
  6. "I'm Confessin'" (Doc Daughtery, Al Neiburg, Ellis Reynolds) – 4:29
  7. "Just Like Greta" – 6:25
  8. "Gypsy in My Soul" – 4:04
  9. "Lonely and Blue" ("Black and Blue" with altered lyrics) (Harry Brooks, Andy Razaf, Fats Waller) – 3:41
  10. "The Lion This Time" – 4:56
  11. "Magic Time" – 5:06
  12. "They Sold Me Out" – 3:11
  13. "Carry On Regardless" – 5:54

(The UK (Polydor) release has only 12 tracks (same listing order), omitting "I'm Confessin'".)




  • Richard Evans - Design and Art Direction, sleeve photographs
  • Tim Young at Metropolis Mastering, London - mastering
  • Javier Pierini / Getty images - front cover photograph


Album - UK Album Chart

Year Chart Position
2005 UK Album Chart 3

Album - Billboard

Year Chart Position
2005 The Billboard 200 25
2005 Top Internet Albums 25
Chart (2005) Peak
Norway 6
Australia 15
Denmark 4
Spain 5
Italy 10
Netherlands 10



  1. ^ His compilation album Still on Top - The Greatest Hits debuted at #2 on the UK charts in 2007.
  2. ^ "The Top 50 Records of 2005". rolling stone magazine. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  3. ^ Heylin. Can You Feel the Silence? p.529
  4. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Magic Time>Overview". Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  5. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Magic Time>Overview". Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  6. ^ Rogan, No Surrender, p. 488-492
  7. ^ Allmusic review
  8. ^ BC Music review
  9. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  10. ^ Music Box review
  11. ^ Paste review
  12. ^ Rolling Stone review
  13. ^ Whitman, Andy (2005-11-14). "Van Morrison:The Lion in Winter". Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  14. ^ "Van Morrison - Magic Time (album review)". 2005-05-01. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  15. ^ Australian charts
  16. ^ Dutch charts


External links

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