This has been my favourite music of the last week or so. It is a two CD set called The Roots Of Van Morrison, further down the road. A friend told me about it and I ordered a copy. I had to be a bit patient because it had to come from Japan. It was worth the wait because I like all thirty tracks on it. The only small problem is that the sleeve notes are in Japanese but that is a minor consideration.
The first CD is the original versions of all the songs Van covered on his Roll With The Punches album of last year. There are also four bonus tracks. One of the many things I like about Van is that through him I have discovered lots of other music, either by him mentioning other singers in his lyrics or by his cover versions. I knew about the likes of Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and a couple of others from when I was a kid, but I don’t think I would be aware of people like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Ruth Brown, Bobby Bland, Louis Prima, King Pleasure or Little Walter if it wasn’t for listening to Van. On this first CD I think my personal favourites are Teardrops From My Eyes by Ruth Brown which I don’t think I have heard before and the classic Bring It On Home To Me by Sam Cooke. Every track is great though.
The second CD is a collection of sixteen other songs Van has covered during his long and illustrious career. Some of these songs have been favourites of Van’s live repertoire for decades such as Help Me by Sonny Boy Williamson, It’s All In The Game by Tommy Edwards and I Can’t Stop Loving You by Ray Charles. I love Bobby Bland’s Ain’t Nothing You Can Do. It makes you realise how faithful to the original Van’s version is. I also love the songs by Leadbelly, Hank Williams (See video below) and Louis Prima. My personal favourite is I Can’t Stop Loving You which takes me right back to hearing it first in about 1960. If you look at the picture of the tracks on this album, then I’m sure you will agree that it is packed with great songs. It shows what good taste in music Van has. I highly recommend this album. You won’t be disappointed.