Carrying a Torch is the second song to feature from Van Morrison in this music library project, but it is my favourite song I’ve heard from him. It’s one for the ages at least as far as I would rate it because it is an epic and anthemic track. The slow build up and climatic closing and its strong emotive tune and serious feeling floors me every-time I hear it. I regret I don’t know how I came across it, and I came to it late as a listener probably from hearing it featured from one of you good folks I follow here.
Carrying a Torch is from Morrison’s Hymns to the Silence album as captured above. Rolling Stone magazine reviewer Elysa Gardner thought similarly to me; praising the song, describing it better than I ever could: “has the makings of a classic, with a stately chorus and shining verses that tie the flesh to the spirit”:
‘You’re the keeper of the flame
And you burn so bright
Baby why don’t we re-connect
Move into the light’.
The song didn’t feature on the charts except as a duet with Tom Jones. Their version of the song was released as a single and charted at No. 57 in 1991 in the UK. This collaboration came about when Morrison showed his newly written song “Carrying a Torch” to Jones, who was “so impressed that he invited Morrison to play on his new record”.
I’m afraid I am unfamiliar with a lot of Morrison’s catalogue of music but I can’t help but admire his talent especially as a somewhat ‘Born to Kill’ singer. You can’t teach what he has. Much of his music is structured around the conventions of soul music and R&B. He was knighted in Northern Ireland for his services to the music industry. The young Morrison grew up listening to artists such as Jelly Roll Morton, Ray Charles, Lead Belly, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Solomon Burke; of whom he later said, “If it weren’t for guys like Ray and Solomon, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Those guys were the inspiration that got me going. If it wasn’t for that kind of music, I couldn’t do what I’m doing now.”
I always liked watching Morrison and Bob Dylan jamming on their acoustics looking over famous Greek monuments in Athens where the ancients believed the muses lived. Also his inclusion on The Band’s Last Waltz was a master-stroke decision and its great we have that live event of Morrison ‘killing it’ to cherish. Oh and by the way – how this song Carrying a Torch has just 500k clicks below is anyone’s guess: