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Van Morrison / The Healing Game / triple-disc deluxe edition

3CD set • 24 unreleased performances • Live at Montreux ’97


Sony’s Legacy Recordings will issue a three-disc deluxe edition of Van Morrison‘s 1997 album The Healing Game which features unreleased session tracks, collaborations and live performances.

The first CD features the 10 album tracks with five bonus tracks including single versions and songs from compilations.

Sessions & Collaborations‘ are the focus of the second disc, and amongst the offering are  early versions of ‘The Healing Game’ and ‘Fire in the Belly’ and various previously unreleased recordings including a jazz version of ‘The Healing Game,’ the full length version of ‘Sometimes We Cry’, several previously unissued collaborations with Carl Perkins and a couple of tracks recorded with John Lee Hooker.

The final CD features Van Morrison’s Live at Montreux concert from 17 July 1997. This is available officially for the first time and includes songs from The Healing Game as well as some favourites from his back catalogue and some well chosen covers (such as Ray Charles, Antony Newley and Sly Stone).

As well as the triple-disc deluxe, the album will be reissued on vinyl LP featuring just the 10 album tracks.

The Healing Game is reissued on 22 March 2019. I have no idea why it’s so expensive in the UK, but presumably that price will come down. If not, you always have Italy.

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Morrison, Van

The Healing Game - 3CD deluxe edition

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Morrison, Van

The Healing Game - vinyl LP

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Disc 1 – (The Original Album…Plus)


  1. Rough God Goes Riding
  2. Fire in the Belly
  3. This Weight
  4. Waiting Game
  5. Piper at the Gates of Dawn
  6. Burning Ground
  7. It Once Was My Life
  8. Sometimes We Cry
  9. If You Love Me
  10. The Healing Game

Bonus tracks


  1. Look What the Good People Done
  2. At the End of the Day
  3. The Healing Game (single version)
  4. Full Force Gale ’96 (single version)
  5. St. Dominic’s Preview

Disc 2 – Sessions & Collaborations


  1. The Healing Game (alternate version) (previously unissued)
  2. Fire in the Belly (alternate version) (previously unissued)
  3. Didn’t He Ramble (previously unissued)
  4. The Healing Game (jazz version) (previously unissued)
  5. Sometimes We Cry (full length version) (previously unissued)
  6. Mule Skinner Blues
  7. A Kiss to Build a Dream On (previously unissued)
  8. Don’t Look Back – John Lee Hooker
  9. The Healing Game – John Lee Hooker
  10. Boppin’ the Blues – Carl Perkins & Van Morrison (previously unissued)
  11. Matchbox – Carl Perkins & Van Morrison (previously unissued)
  12. Sittin’ on Top of the World – Carl Perkins & Van Morrison (arranged by Van Morrison)
  13. My Angel – Carl Perkins & Van Morrison (previously unissued)
  14. All By Myself – Carl Perkins & Van Morrison (previously unissued)
  15. Mule Skinner Blues – Lonnie Donegan & Van Morrison

Disc 3 – Live at Montreux 17 July 1997 (all tracks previously unreleased)


  1. Rough God Goes Riding
  2. Foreign Window
  3. Tore Down A La Rimbaud
  4. Vanlose Stairway/Trans-Euro Train
  5. Fool For You
  6. Sometimes We Cry
  7. It Once Was My Life
  8. I’m Not Feeling It Anymore
  9. This Weight
  10. Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)
  11. Fire in the Belly
  12. Tupelo Honey/Why Must I Always Explain
  13. The Healing Game
  14. See Me Through/Soldier of Fortune/Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)/Burning Ground

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46 Comments

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Geoffrey

There seems to be some delay in the release date in Canada. Let’s hope it actually does come out this time!

Uwe

Music reaches everyone on different levels. The Healing Game is my favorite VM album, my favorite album of all albums, and a kind of religion for me. One day, the title track will be played on my funeral.

Mister Stick

This is one of the great Van records, passionately written about Greil Marcus in “When That Rough God Goes Riding”, if you need a third-party endorsement. But your own ears count most, of course.

No matter, other articles on this release state that the original album has not been remastered for this reissue. If that’s true, it’s surprising, especially for a 20+ year old album. Remastering seems to be nominal for deluxe versions. Can anyone confirm whether or not the original album is appearing in new sonics here?

Gerbrand

@Mister Stick : Glad you like it. But to call it one of the great Van records is a bit much. It doesn’t appear in the top 15-20 of any Van album ranking.

The album was remastered in 2008. I assume that version is used for this release.

SimonH

No this is anew remaster by Vic Anesini. Which is close to having a sticker on the front saying, ‘don’t worry, this will sound great’.
Great value all round!

Horslips

Thanks for the correction on St. Dominic’s, Gerbrand.

That sounds more correct now that I think of it because the station started sometime around the mid-90s when our current President was Minister for Arts.

horslips

I thought it odd to put “St. Dominic’s Preview” (which is fantastic) at the end of disc 1 since it comes from about 4 years’ later.

Recorded in Dublin for a music programme called “Sult” on our then new Irish language TV station.

For those speaking of it being around for a year, it was originally intended to be a 20th anniversary edition (though I think was going to be a year late anyway). “22nd anniversary edition” does not have the same ring to it.

Ian

Fantastic. I bought a Sult compilation CD back in the day, just to get that track. It is awesome.

Gerbrand

The acoustic live remake of “St. Dominic’s Preview” was recorded and filmed in early April 1996 at the Temple Bar Music Centre in Dublin. With a new arrangement, featuring Mary Black (backing vocals), Nollaig Casey (fiddle) and Donal Lunny (bazouki).

The soundtrack album “Sult – Spirit Of The Music” was released in August/September 1997.

Tim O.

The bonus tracks seem not to be complete. I bought the CD Singles at the time and beside the “Alternate Version” of The Healing Game with Paddy Maloney and Phil Coulter) the box set seems not to include the beautiful and catchy “Celtic Spring” (again with Maloney and Coulter) which was a b-side to Rough God if I recall correctly. So why no complete sessions and b-sides?
In addition, the box is on offer for over one year at JPC in Germany and has been postpond ever since. Great to see ist release coming soon now.

Gerbrand

The simple reason is all three discs are 79+ minutes in length, so no room for all b-sides (“Celtic Spring” missing on disc 1), collaborations (“Travellin’ Blues” & “Rainy Day” with John Lee Hooker; “If You Love Me” with B.B. King; “Shenandoah” with The Chieftains missing on disc 2) and live tracks (“Satisfied” missing on disc 3).

I would have preferred “Celtic Spring” over the remake “Full Force Gale ’96”, though.

Regarding “The Healing Game (Alternative Version)”, it’s on disc 1, see my comment below.

Ian

Hello! I don’t know if anyone can help me out? I bought a fair few CD singles at the time the album was released.
One was the “Rough God Goes Riding” CD single.
Track two was “At the end of the day”.
Track three is “The healing game alternative version”. It says that Paddy Maloney and Phil Coulter are on it.
The alternate versions on the forthcoming deluxe edition are marked as unreleased. Do you think this is wrong?
Thanks for your help.

Gerbrand

The b-sides are on disc 1 here, with that 4:28 alternative version of The Healing Game now called (single version). The 7:41 alternate version on disc 2 is previously unreleased.

Ian

Thanks Gerbrand

Ian Rose

Hi. I have had a listen now it’s released. The alternative version isn’t the one with Paddy Maloney and Phil Coulter. I think that version has been missed off. Shame.

Gerbrand

@Ian Rose: I’m awaiting my copy. It should be track 13 on disc 1.

The differences between album and “single” version are very obvious :

– On the album version you hear the Hammond organ played by Georgie Fame at the start, on the single version you hear a piano (Phil Coulter).
– On the album version a sax solo at 1:50, missing from the single version which has a guitar solo at 2:00.
– On the single version a flute (Paddy Maloney) starts at 2:19 until the end, beautiful. The album has the drums and trumpet dominating the (longer and repetitive) ending.

The single version is previously released on the Rough God Goes Riding single and the Still On Top compilation. On both releases it’s labelled as “alternative version”.

Ian

Many thanks @gerbrand. You are completely right. Have dug out my rough god goes riding cd single and you are spot on, and they are the same!
Thanks again
Ian

backwards7

Unusual choice of record to be given the 3 disc treatment. I bought it when it came out and don’t recall it being all that remarkable.

Michael H

Agreed, unusual choice of album to be afforded the 3 disc treatment. I too bought it when it was first released – on the day of release as I recall. It was one of a series of 3 albums Days Like this and Back On Top are the others, that were reasonably strong albums (but no more). Perhaps it’s just that there is more material available for the 2nd disc (1st cd is original album plus singles and 3rd cd is just a live gig) from in and around ‘the healing game sessions’ compared to other albums. Still, like any Van release it’s welcome. It will be good if available on vinyl as I understand it will be, in single LP format. Back in 1997 vinyl was not as popular as today (though it was released on vinyl then too).

Louis

since some time ago, on any new deluxe edition or similar, I expect HQ sound… let’s say quadraphonic, or 5.1.

pjm

I seem to recall that when this re-issue was first mooted it was supposed to be a double LP which considering the length makes sense. Fingers crossed it comes out as 2 LPs.

derosa

Wondering why they didn’t take the opportunity to split the vinyl over 2 Lp’s, this album clocks in at over 54 minutes.

Peter Berg

I see a lot of new re-releases getting fewer options, just the 3 CD deluxe and single album vinyl, whereas a lot of releases get single cd, deluxe cd, single vinyl, deluxe vinyl, single vinyl + single cd together, super deluxe vinyl + cd. It makes me worried if record companies are losing faith in their sales to people like us who love the options!

Dave Beaney

Two years late and still I’d rather have 10/12 other Van albums reissued before this one. On of the strangest drawn out reissue campaigns in history!

peace and love✌Dave

AndyB

Agreed. But I’ll buy anything Van. I would absolutely love to see a ‘Veedon Fleece’ SDE.

David

Pre-ordered. I’ve always loved The Healing Game. I need all the bonus stuff in my collection.

Ben Williams

What a coincidence – I was listening to Van Live in Montreux 1997 just last night! Great news :-)

DaveM

Van-tastic news. Preordered (that UK price is surely gonna come down). Only said recently I had given up hope of any more Van reissues, then this:)

Scott

Is the live show missing the song “Satisfied?” It appears so…

Dave Simms

Satisfied removed so that the set will fit on a single CD.

Gerbrand

Correct. Due to time constraints. Disc 3 has a length of 79:55 minutes.

Paul Mortimer

Love Van the Man and have all his output – but why is the UK issue of this triple-set more than twice the price of an import order?

German & USA add-ons for carriage / duty makes it costlier…why should fans have to order from overseas to get best value?

We should lobby UK artists/labels for fair treatment – after all, aren’t we the fans who ‘made’ the artistes in the first place?

‘Have you ever heard about…the Great Deception?’ as Van sang on his classic Hard Nose The Highway album……different context, but apt!

I’m not ordering until it’s released, and I see future price-drop offers. Bleurrgh.

Steve Turner

It seems this is a new trend for Amazon UK. I have just ordered the new Hayes Carrl and Tom Russell albums both over £15.00.By week of release I expect them to be £9.99 and then Amazon can tell me how much I have saved on their price guarantee.
Psychological bullshit.

Steve Turner

Seems like a new Amazon trend. I just pre ordered the new Hayes Carrl and Tom Russell albums both over £15.00.
On release I expect them to be £9.99. Then I will get an email from Amazon telling me how much I have saved on their price guarantee. Do they think we are stupid?
Psychological bullshit.

Colin

With you Paul all the way on this. There may be some good reason, which totally escapes me; but I also fear UK customers are being taken for a ride.

Mark H.

Is the release date after Brexit?

Gerbrand

Finally, with exact track listing as announced two years ago. With intoxicating b-side Celtic Spring missing.

Btw, I would love to hear this album remixed without the irritating voice of human echo Brian Kennedy, but I guess that will never happen.

AndyB

Exactly how I feel about Brian Kennedy. I really don’t get why Van was so enamoured of him.

James Cunningham

I echo your comment about Brian Kennedy, without him this would be a stellar album!

Gerbrand

Cunningham: pun intended, I presume. HA HA HA

jon

that many tracks with Carl Perkins, clearly they enjoyed recording together
they almost could have recorded an entire album.

colm47

Been a Van the man fan for 40 years or so.
This LP had some good stuff on it so I’m happy to see this release.
It’s a pity that Van’s back catalogue is so badly handled.
I would love this kind of release for his 70s LPs such as St Dominic’s Preview or Veedon Fleece. And his early 80s classics like Common One and Beautiful Vison.

Hans lindskog

Agreed. His late 60s – 70´to early 80,s output are real Classic. The deserve reisues in the style of jethro tull (3-4 cds and dvd or bluray).Please also, compile a box set in the vein of the releases by john Martin and the moody blues.
Best regards, hans

MusicFan

If you want Veedon Fleece. It’s available for about $30

https://app.vinylmeplease.com/records_of_the_month?track=essentials

colm47

Have an original vinyl copy and on CD, thanks.

Other classic LPs that should be given the box set treatment :
Wavelength
Into The Music
Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart
A Sense Of Wonder
No Guru, No Method, No Teacher
Poetic Champions Compose

Tom

Not my favorite V.M. album but being a Van fan I’ll buy it for the 2nd and 3rd disc!