In April of 1977 Van Morrison returned from a three year absence with A Period of Transition, an album that underwhelmed critics. He had spent the past three years, newly divorced from Janet Planet, in Belfast and California. Four times he tried to record an album, including one with the jazz-funk band the Crusaders. Late in 1976, he found his way to the stage for The Last Waltz before finally recording this album with Dr John playing piano and producing.
Asked by Cameron Crowe if the past three years has been his "period of transition", Morrison answered "All of that. It's been going on for about three years ...it's like, there's been lots of highs and there's been depressions... there's been starts and stops...it's just a period, you know."
The album lacks energy and spontaneity. Its best moment is "Flamingos Fly", a Morrison song Jackie DeShannon has recorded four years earlier. "Joyous Sound" is also classic Van. But if Morrison was expected to reply to the challenges from all the "new Vans" out there ( Springsteen, Graham Parker and a new kid named Elvis Costello), this can't be seen as anything less more than a disappointment.