|Studio album by|
|Recorded||September 1987—January 1988|
|Studio||Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin|
|Genre||Traditional Irish folk, folk rock|
|Producer||Van Morrison, Paddy Moloney|
|Van Morrison chronology|
|The Chieftains chronology|
|Singles from Irish Heartbeat|
Irish Heartbeat is the eighteenth studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and is a collaboration with the traditional Irish musical group the Chieftains, released in 1988. It was recorded at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, Ireland, and reached number 18 in the UK album charts.
The album was recorded on dates from September to December 1987 and in January 1988. The Chieftains and Van Morrison had met years before at the Edinburgh rock festival. They joined up in Belfast during Morrison's No Guru tour and afterwards, Morrison and Paddy Moloney discussed recording an album together during a walk. They each had a list of songs and reached a consensus to cover two of Morrison's previously released tracks (the title track was one) and the rest from traditional Irish songs.
I think at that time Van was searching for his Irish roots. It was this man of blues, of rock ‘n’ roll, jazz and more importantly soul, coming home to his Irishness with The Chieftains and the music we’d been playing for so many years. Musically we were going to meet each other half way.
The album consists of eight traditional Irish songs, plus re-workings of the Morrison songs "Celtic Ray" (which first appeared on 1982's Beautiful Vision) and the title track "Irish Heartbeat" (which first appeared on 1983's Inarticulate Speech of the Heart). "Carrickfergus" is described as "a melancholic air worthy of Otis Redding" by critic Denis Campbell. "on Raglan Road" was adapted from a poem by Patrick Kavanagh and is the story of "a man ensnared by a beautiful revenant whom he had mistaken for 'a creature made of clay'."  In 1994, Billy Connolly recorded a live cover of the song "Irish Heartbeat" during his World Tour of Scotland. The performance was used as the closing theme to the BBC series.
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|The Village Voice||C+|
Irish Heartbeat received positive reviews from most critics, one of whom called it "some of the most haunting, rousing, downright friendly music of the year". Rolling Stone magazine's David Browne said it has "splendor and intense beauty", while John Wilde from Melody Maker hailed it as "a bloody considerable marvel", having "awakened [Morrison's] roisterous spirit". In The Village Voice, Robert Christgau was more critical and believed that Morrison, suffering a creative block, is "misguided" in his attempt to reconnect with his traditional Irish music roots.
In the annual Pazz & Jop critics poll, Irish Heartbeat was voted the 29th best album of 1988. The NME named it the second greatest album of the year. In The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Rob Sheffield said it showed Morrison in a livelier, more enthusiastic state than on his previous records during the 1980s.
Album – Billboard (North America)
|1988||The Billboard 200||102|
Album – UK Albums Chart
|1988||UK Albums Chart||18|
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