There is a hierarchy in the list of poet singer-songwriters – and few indeed are the singers that can stand at the very peak alongside the recently elected Nobel literature laureate. Van Morrison is one such. And so it is so very much more than a pleasure to announce that the one they call Van the Man is setting to release his 37th studio album. It’s called Roll With The Punches and it sees Van Morrison’s hand-picking a selection of rhythm and blues classics (by the likes of Bo Diddley, Mose Allison, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Lightnin’ Hopkins among others) to record alongside a set of new self-written songs.
Such a selection of material should come as no surprise to anyone who has even a passing familiarity with the great man’s music. As Van himself has said: “From a very early age, I connected with the blues. The thing about the blues is you don’t dissect it – you just do it. I’ve never over-analysed what I do; I just do it. Music has to be about just doing it and that’s the way the blues works – it’s an attitude. I was lucky to have met people who were the real thing – people like John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Witherspoon, Bo Diddley, Little Walter & Mose Allison. I got to hang out with them and absorb what they did. They were people with no ego whatsoever and they helped me learn a lot.”
Roll with the Punches will be released on 22nd September and will feature these tracks :
1. Roll With the Punches (Van Morrison & Don Black)
2. Transformation (Van Morrison)
3. I Can Tell (Bo Diddley & Samuel Bernard Smith)
4. Stormy Monday / Lonely Avenue (Stormy Monday – T-Bone Walker/Lonely Avenue – Doc Pomus)
5. Goin’ To Chicago (Count Basie & Jimmy Rushing)
6. Fame (Van Morrison)
7. Too Much Trouble (Van Morrison)
8. Bring It On Home To Me (Sam Cooke)
9. Ordinary People (Van Morrison)
10. How Far From God (Sister Rosetta Tharpe)
11. Teardrops From My Eyes (Rudy Toombs)
12. Automobile Blues (Lightnin’ Hopkins)
13. Benediction (Mose Allison)
14. Mean Old World (Little Walter)
15. Ride On Josephine (Bo Diddley)
On top of this is the prospect of live dates in the UK. The following love dates to be exact :
Nov 6th Edinburgh Playhouse
Nov 7th Glasgow Royal Court
Nov 12th London Eventim Apollo
Nov 13th Birmingham Symphony Hall
Nov 15th Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Nov 20th Cardiff St. David’s Hall
Nov 21st Bristol Colston Hall
Nov 24th Torquay Princess Theatre
Nov 25th Plymouth Pavilions
Dec 4th Belfast Europa Hotel
Dec 5th Belfast Europa Hotel
Now, if you’re thinking of going to one of these dates then don’t. Don’t think, that is – rather do, because tickets are selling like the proverbial hot cakes. As someone once said “there’s no time to think”, not, he might have added, if you actually want to get into one of Van’s gigs.
And, whilst you’re sitting in the ticket queue here’s a fine moment from The Last Waltz that may – or may not – be recreated in concert.
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