Music Review: Van Morrison, Versatile

Van Morrison still has star quality.
Van Morrison still has star quality.

At 72 with a library full of albums released, and like his 76-year-old contemporary Bob Dylan, Van Morrison seems relentless with his desire to perform live, and to add to the record library.

Just three months ago Van's Roll with the Punches was well received by both his long-time loyal audience, and those just ready to accept a new album that was in the must-have category even for part-time fans.

Yet now, mere weeks later we're all being asked to consider his latest proposition called Versatile.

Where Roll with the Punches is a straight-up Van Morrison rock record, Versatile is a very different animal.

Van turns to the Gershwins for A Foggy Day, and They Can't take that away from me, to Cole Porter for I Get a Kick out of You, and adds other standards like Bye Bye Blackbird, Makin' Whoopee, Unchained Melody and I Left My Heart in San Francisco. Given Van Morrison's approach you can rest assured that his delivery and that of his band-mates is compelling.

Then there are a further seven Van Morrison originals which, perhaps surprisingly, are in no way overshadowed in their heady company. Yes, this is a different LP from Van Morrison, and quite a contrast to Roll with the Punches.

So is there a decision pending if you want to choose between what are two new Van albums?

No, get them both. You won't be disappointed.

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