Monday, 4 June 2018

Van Morrison - Roll With The Punches (2017)

One thing I've learnt after all these years....

  

Released September 2017

Running time 63.15

Jeff Beck is here. Chris Farlowe. Georgie Fame. Paul Jones. And Van Morrison. Singing the blues. Enjoying it. Forget the Radio Two favourite of Transformation, which is the only "Van Morrison by numbers" track on here and seems to have attracted a lot of people expecting more of the same, the rest of the album is BLUES, pure and simple, and Van Morrison, a long time aficionado, plays them better than most.

This is not a nostalgia trip for Morrison, he plays the music with an enthusiasm and vitality that sounds forward-thinking as opposed to retrospective, if you get my drift. It is spontaneous and almost sounds "live", something Morrison has always been able to get from his musicians.

TRACK LISTING

1. Roll With The Punches

2. Transformation
3. I Can Tell
4. Stormy Monday/Lonely Avenue
5. Goin' To Chicago
6. Fame
7. Too Much Trouble
8. Bring It On Home To Me
9. Ordinary People
10. How Far From God
11. Teardrops From My Eyes
12. Automobile Blues
13. Benediction
14. Mean Old World
15. Ride On Josephine                                 

Roll With The Punches is a great opener, and Transformation has a great Jeff Beck guitar solo on it, although as I said before, the track sits at odds with the copper-bottomed blues on the rest of the album. It sits somewhat incongruously as the album's only commercial-sounding piece of Morrison radio fare. I Can Tell is a harmonica-driven blues and Van’s revisit to Stormy Monday/Lonely Avenue is just quality. 

Listen to that big, bluesy bass. Lord have mercy. Fame is another impressive bluesed-up revisit of a previously-recorded track. Too Much Trouble takes the tone upbeat with a faster blues. Check out the guitar on Ordinary People. Bring It On Home To Me, (which has a searing Jeff Beck guitar solo), Goin' To Chicago, the titles speak for themselves. I could list the whole lot. Great to hear Georgie Fame again, by the way. This is just such a great late night album at times.

No need for any of that old “return to form” guff. This is just a highly credible blues album by a highly credible artist, just like The Rolling StonesBlue And Lonesome. Both artists do this stuff effortlessly. The world is a better place for it. If you like the blues you will love this.

B

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