Van Morrison – Duets: Re-Working The Catalogue (2015) [FLAC 24bit/44.1kHz]

Van Morrison – Duets: Re-Working The Catalogue (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44.1kHz  | Time – 01:16:22 minutes | 878 MB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: WEB | © RCA Records

On DUETS: RE-WORKING THE CATALOGUE, Van Morrison and the guests selected and recorded some of his songs from the catalogue of 360 songs across his career. Deliberately steering away from his more well-known classics, Van enlisted some of the artists he most respects to perform these songs with him to re-craft and re-imagine them. The album was recorded in his home town of Belfast and London in the United Kingdom over the last year, using a variety of musicians and fresh arrangements. The album was produced by Van Morrison along with Don Was and Bob Rock.

The album features duet performances with Bobby Womack, Steve Winwood, Mark Knopfler, Taj Mahal, Mavis Staples, Michael Bublé, Natalie Cole, George Benson, Gregory Porter, Clare Teal, P.J. Proby, Joss Stone, Georgie Fame, Mick Hucknall, Chris Farlowe, and Van’s daughter Shana Morrison. (Find complete track listing below).
Van Morrison is considered one of the most prolific recording artists and extraordinary live performers of our time. He has received a multitude of awards and accolades including 6 Grammy Awards, a Brit Award, an OBE, an Ivor Novello, has been inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and possesses honorary doctorates from Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, as well as entry into the French Ordres Des Artes Et Des Lettres, all illustrating the international reach of Van’s musical art. Van Morrison has collaborated with, among others, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, Lonnie Donegan, Mose Allison and Tom Jones, all confirming the breadth of his musical reach. His visionary songwriting and mastery of many genres continues to shine on albums celebrating and re-exploring his blues, jazz, skiffle and country roots. With one of the most revered catalogues in music history, his talents as a composer, singer and performer are unmatched.

It’s not hard to wonder if Van Morrison was trying to drive away listeners by titling this album Duets: Re-Working the Catalogue, a name that practically howls this is a work defined by a lack of ambition and a desire to rest on his laurels. The clumsy title is especially strange because this an honestly good album that doesn’t fit those negative expectations. Even though Re-Working the Catalogue finds Morrison reviving songs from his extensive repertoire, he wisely focuses on lesser-known tunes rather than compete with his best-known work, and Morrison is able to generate a genuine enthusiasm for this music, which might not be the case if he tried to record “Moondance” or “Brown Eyed Girl” one more time. And the Belfast Soul Man for the most part has chosen duet partners with intelligence; rather than load up this set with current chart-toppers who have little knowledge of Morrison’s legacy, most of the singers working with Morrison are cut from similar cloth, such as Steve Winwood, Chris Farlowe, Georgie Fame, and Bobby Womack (in what proved to be one of the latter’s final recordings). If Joss Stone is considerably younger and more melismatic than Van’s other partners, she understands what “Wild Honey” needs, and Michael Bublé delivers an admirably lively performance on “Real Real Gone.” There are almost certainly other singers who would have sounded better on “Whatever Happened to P.J. Proby?,” but Mr. Proby himself seems to be in on the joke with his delivery, and Van honestly sounds like he’s having a lot of fun (not a common occurrence) with Taj Mahal on “How Can a Poor Boy?” And if Mavis Staples’ voice is a bit rough on “If I Ever Needed Someone,” she delivers the song with a churchy authority that Morrison clearly respects. As for Van himself, at the age of 69 his vocals lack the power and emotional force he so easily conjured in the ’70s, but his sense of phrasing is as soulful and idiosyncratic as it has ever been, and he seems determined to find something in these songs that he missed the first time. This could easily have been a very lazy album, but Morrison gives this material an honest and thoughtful effort. (His grainy but potent sax work is a lot of fun, too.) And the production (by Don Was) and mix (by Bob Rock) is smooth without polishing out the personality of Morrison and his guests. Recutting a batch of your old songs is usually a sign you’ve run out of ideas, as is recording a full album of duets; while it’s hard to know what Morrison’s motivations were for making Duets: Re-Working the Catalogue, the pleasant surprise is that Morrison has managed to dodge both those bullets, and if it’s a long way from a triumph, it’s a solid, heartfelt work from a veteran artist who isn’t about to give up the ghost. -Mark Deming

01. Some Peace Of Mind – Van Morrison & Bobby Womack 5:15
02. If I Ever Needed Someone – Van Morrison & Mavis Staples 3:49
03. Higher Than The World – Van Morrison & George Benson 3:48
04. Wild Honey – Van Morrison & Joss Stone 6:22
05. Whatever Happened to P.J. Proby – Van Morrison & P.J. Proby 3:42
06. Carrying A Torch – Van Morrison & Clare Teal 4:52
07. The Eternal Kansas City – Van Morrison & Gregory Porter 4:10
08. Streets of Arklow – Van Morrison & Mick Hucknall 4:57
09. These Are The Days – Van Morrison & Natalie Cole 3:51
10. Get On With The Show – Van Morrison & Georgie Fame 4:41
11. Rough God Goes Riding – Van Morrison & Shana Morrison 4:23
12. Fire In The Belly – Van Morrison & Steve Winwood 6:40
13. Born To Sing – Van Morrison & Chris Farlowe 3:59
14. Irish Heartbeat – Van Morrison & Mark Knopfler 5:14
15. Real Real Gone – Van Morrison & Michael Bublé 4:00
16. How Can A Poor Boy? – Van Morrison & Taj Mahal 6:34

Van Morrison – Vocal, Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic), Sax (Alto)
Stanley Banks – Bass
George Benson – Guitar
Josh Brown – Trombone
Michael Bublé – Vocal
Marcel Camargo – Guitar
Jean Caze – Trumpet
Alan Chang – Musical Director, Piano
Natalie Cole – Vocal, Vocals (Background)
Lilliana De Los Reys – Percussion
Georgie Fame – Vocal
Chris Farlowe – Vocal
Marion Felder – Drums
David Garfield – Piano
Mick Hucknall – Vocal
Dave Keary – Banjo, Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic)
Mark Knopfler – Guitar, Vocal
Jeff Lardner – Drums
Ryan Lerman – Guitar
Taj Mahal – Harmonica, Vocal
Paul Moore – Bass
Paul Moran – Flugelhorn, Organ, Organ (Hammond), Piano, Trumpet
Shana Morrison – Primary Artist, Vocals (Background)
Mark Nightingale – Trombone
Abass Nii Dodoo – Percussion
Mike Osborn – Percussion
Khari Parker – Drums
Craig Polasko – Bass
Gregory Porter – Vocal
P.J. Proby – Vocal
Justin Ray – Trumpet
Jacob Rodriguez – Sax (Baritone)
Ruth Rowland – Hand Lettering
Bobby Ruggiero – Drums, Percussion, Vocals (Background)
Robbie Ruggiero – Drums
Jake Saslow – Sax (Alto)
Jumaane Smith – Trumpet
Mavis Staples – Vocal
Joss Stone – Vocal
Clare Teal – Vocal
Nick Vayenas – Trombone
Alistair White – Euphonium, Trombone
Chris White – Sax (Baritone), Sax (Tenor), Tin Whistle
Rob Wilkerson – Sax (Alto)
Steve Winwood – Organ (Hammond), Vocal
Bobby Womack – Vocal



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