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Van Morrison: The Healing Game (1997)

Greil Marcus, 'When That Rough God Goes Riding' , June 2010

THE BLACK-AND-WHITE photo that appears on the face of The Healing Game–and on the disc itself, and on the back of the CD box, insisting that you look at it again and again, that you think about it–shows a short, very stocky middle-aged white man on the street, and a taller black man behind him. Both are well-dressed, in dark clothes, with dark hats. The short man, Van Morrison, is wearing blackout glasses and an expensive white shirt buttoned to the neck; the taller man, the saxophonist and one-time James Brown band director Pee Wee Ellis, who wears a white shirt and a striped tie, gazes over Morrison's left shoulder, as if on the lookout for trouble. It is, you can imagine without trying, a mob boss and his number one on their way to settle a score. The expression on Morrison's face, all stone, is appallingly determined and cold.

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