Van Morrison: "This guy has done 500 songs, maybe more"

Van Morrison: “This guy has done 500 songs, maybe more”

On May 7, 2021 Van Morrison released the album “Latest Record Project: Volume 1”, in the midst of a pandemic. The album's release states that it “deepens his ongoing love of blues, R&B, jazz and soul” and “demonstrates that he lives in the present and remains an artist of integrity and distinction.” The Belfast musician declared: “I'm moving away from the same songs, the same albums. This guy has done five hundred songs, maybe more. Why keep promoting the same ten? I'm trying to break the mold.” The following is our review of the album.

There are 75 springs on Van Morrison's shoulders, but the boy just doesn't seem to feel them. Turning 70 must have brought him the gift of an uncontrollable desire for the recording studio (and also for concerts), since then he has in fact published, one after the other, no fewer than seven albums. However, like a few billion people on our planet, the Irish musician also did not foresee that between the 1910s and 1920s a deadly virus would appear which has already earned itself some tragic lines in the history books, and probably a few more will conquer it in the time to come. The virus has forced a large part of the human race to have to resort to unthinkable measures, such as the constant use of a mask to cover the nose and mouth, social distancing between people, if not the ban on leaving one's homes because this cannot be spread.

The lion of Belfast, in full activity, did not appreciate at all the stop given by the various governments to concerts and other events, and expressed positions of pure skepticism with the abrupt ways of doing things and the sharp edges inherent in his character that distinguish him from always, perhaps further poisoned not only by the hardships of living in the time of the pandemic but also by the recent, in 2018, divorce from his wife.

Van the period of forced closure has committed him to writing new music and new songs (what else else!) and now he returns with his latest musical project, as the title of the album states, “Latest Record Project: Volume 1” . A project that consists of twenty-eight songs, as previously reported, Mr. Morrison has a certain facility in composing songs, and if the lockdown on the one hand denied him freedom of movement, on the other it gave him a lot of free time to get busy with his favorite pastime.

As we know, Van the Man, guided by talent, ranges perfectly at ease between musical genres such as blues, R&B, jazz and soul, using to intertwine the notes of the songs that miracle of voice with which Mother Nature endowed him, here exalted and further enhanced by the punctuality of the accompanying choirs and by the warmth fueled by Hammond and wind instruments that support it much more than admirably.

His music is truly great and will not disappoint his admirers. But the songs of ”Latest Record Project: Volume 1” if they are timeless on the musical side, they are lowered hand and foot into the reality of today as regards the lyrics, as in ”Dead Beat Saturday Night” ('No life , no gigs, no choice, no voice') on lockdown, or “Why Are You On Facebook?” on social networks, or the independence of thought “Where Have All The Rebels Gone”. These are just three examples, but others could be given. Van Morrison has something for everyone and anyone who wants to pay adequate attention to the words of the songs will be able to notice his certain exaggerated tenacity and his certain obsession which, precisely because they are carried repeatedly, end up weakening the message he wants to convey and risk painting it only as the old grouch of the town not to be taken too seriously.

“Latest Record Project: Volume 1” is album number forty-two of a long career that began in the mid-sixties with Them, if health has the honor of assisting him we can believe that in the future we will have the pleasure of listening to many other Van Morrison songs. Whether they are written to attack and harshly criticize the world around him or not.