Album Review

Contributor: CE Sundstrom, Author of paranormal mystery – Grave Misgivings: Awakenings.

Artist : Van Morrison

Album: Duets (Re-working the Catalogue)

Duets (Re-working the Catalogue) is the latest offering by Van Morrison. It is a wonderfully crafted collection of sixteen of his previously released songs re-imagined and sung in duet with sixteen different artists. 

He sets the tone for this album with the opening jazz flavoured track Some Peace of Mind”alongside Bobby Womack. This track offers a unique insight into the complex thought process of the average man with the lines: “I am just a man, Doing the best I can.”

“If I Ever Need Someone” is a gospel blues tune which highlights the amazing raspy vocals of Mavis Staples.

“Whatever Happened To P. J. Proby” is a playful track and a lot of fun. P. J. Proby trades lines with Van on this one to great effect. In fact, try to imagine walking into a smoke filled bar in the 1940’s. Women wearing elbow length black gloves while smoking cigarettes held in long slender holders. They would be sitting at small round tables watching these two strutting their stuff on stage while stirring their Martinis with an olive on a toothpick. I don’t know. Maybe that’s just my mind running away with the music.

“Carrying A Torch” is the highlight of the album. This is a beautiful track. I recommend you shut your eyes and savour the strong angelic vocals of Clare Teal when she begins to sing. Her voice is amazing with an underling fragility which works seamlessly with Van. It sent chills down my spine the first time I heard her sing.

Other standouts are the classic “Irish Heartbeat” which pulls strongly at the heart strings of anyone with a drop of Irish blood flowing through their veins. Mark Knopfler’s craggy vocals and understated guitar work add to the beauty of this gem. 

This is followed by the boppy “Real Real Gone” sung with Michael Buble. I love this version even though it has the peculiar line:  “I got hit by a bow and arrow.”  Surely cupid is doing something wrong to use both in this manner.

All in all this is a fine album and a must for any Van Morrison fan. 

I give it a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.