From time to time, I just feel urged to leave my “traditional” track by track review format. For example, when Richie Kotzen released fifty songs in his 50 for 50 album,. I just felt it is too much to go through it song by song. On 7th May 2021, Van Morrison will release a double album (or three vinyls). 28 songs with more than two hours playtime. I hope it is fine to give you a condensed view.
Van Morrison – About The Artist
Sir George Ivan Morrison was born on 31st August 1945 in Bloomfield, Belfast, Northern Ireland. During his career he interpreted a couple of genres, from blues and folk to rock and Celtic music and jazz. His family background is a working class Protestant family, but his father was a great music lover, so that Van Morrison was exposed to his massive record collection. Van Morrison started to learn to play the guitar at the age of eleven and formed a first band the year thereafter. Later, he also learned to play the saxophone, which made him enter his first successful band, the Monarchs. Later, he joined a band called Them, which even made a placement in the British album charts.
The late 1960’s were the beginning of Van Morrison’s solo success. Already his second album, Astral Weeks (1968), made to the Top 60 of the UK, Ireland or the Netherlands. He grew his fan base in the 1970’s with numerous albums and a couple of silver and golden records. His first chart lead with an album, though, is dated as of 1989, when he headed the Irish charts with Avalon Sunset (interestingly, his first ever chart placement in Ireland that decade). From that time on, his albums regularly hit the Top 10 in multiple markets. Overall, Van Morrison has already released 41 studio albums, Three Chords & the Truth was the most recent one in October 2019. His most successful song is likely Have I Told You Lately from the Avalon Sunset album, which has been released in 1989. Later, Rod Steward turned the songs as a cover to a global success.
Van Morrison – Latest Record Project Volume 1 – The Album
The deluxe version of the album includes 28 tracks, 14 each per CD or split on three vinyls. The total playtime is 128 minutes.
With Latest Record Project, the album is not only opening with the title tracks, but with one of the most special songs of the whole set of songs. In a bit of a blues-ish atmosphere, he is asking the listener Have you got my latest record project? You got my latest record project. While Where Have All the Rebels Gone? comes with a very traditional early 1970’s rock style with distorted guitars, the sound in the Psychoanalysts’ Ball is much more gentle and softer – and the story is just a great listen.
The album feels to be full of surprises. At the songs The Long Con and Thank God for the Blues, the organ takes over the role of the key instrument. The latter song is a lovely blues track. One of the most special track on the first CD is A Few Bars Early, which again does a striking collaboration between the piano and the organ for a nice groove. Only a Song creates a lot of energy in the last third of that first half of songs, before Diabolic Pressure adds a touch of R&B and gospel. For country and funk lovers, the first part of the album closes with two songs touching these genres, Deadbeat Saturday Night and Blue Funk.
The organ is one of the key instruments of this album, for sure – and in the second CD opener Double Agent, it adds a nice background music line with a lovely Americana touch. After the blues track Double Bird, the powerful backing vocals and organ melodies form the lovely sound of one of the single releases, Love Should Come with a Warning. The uptempo Breaking The Spell and Up Country Down, which comes with strong stomping rhythm and the energy of soul music just make you want to move. Right after that energetic movement, Van Morrison presents the longest and most epic song of the double album Duper’s Delight, which is slow in the verses, but the chorus is simply catching you.
The next remarkable song is He’s Not The Kingpin, which comes with a nice touch of Rock’n’Roll. The album is just touching so many genres, but of course, blues is the key influence, which is blended with other styles of music during the 28 tracks. Mistaken Identity comes with a lovely groove again, but also impresses with a catchy melody. Pop and funk elements as well as brass sounds give a very special touch at Stop Bitching, Do Something. After Western Man gives another country reference, songs like They Own the Media and Why Are You on Facebook? give a clear idea that Van Morrison is dealing with a wide range of topics in this album as well. The album finishes with Jealousy, which is one of the best blues pop tracks on the album.
Van Morrison – Latest Record Project Volume 1 – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Van Morrison – Latest Record Project Volume 1 – My View
Van Morrison is definitely not outdated. Great songs and a wide variety of sounds lead to very entertaining two hours. Not just the sheer mass of music makes you discover new favorite songs and parts. The album is likely not a masterpiece, though – but blues and Americana lovers will find a lot of songs which lead to an enjoyable listen.
Van Morrison – Latest Record Project Volume 1 – The Tracklist
1. Latest Record Project
2. Where Have All The Rebels Gone
3. Psychoanalysts’ Ball
4. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
5. Tried To Do The Right Thing
6. The Long Con
7. Thank God For The Blues
8. Big Lie
9. A Few Bars Early
10. It Hurts Me Too
11. Only A Song
12. Diabolic Pressure
13. Deadbeat Saturday Night
14. Blue Funk
15. Double Agent
16. Double Bind
17. Love Should Come With A Warning
18. Breaking The Spell
19. Up County Down
20. Duper’s Delight
21. My Time After A While
22. He’s Not The Kingpin
23. Mistaken Identity
24. Stop Bitching, Do Something
25. Western Man
26. They Own The Media
27. Why Are You On Facebook
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