Less than three months after the release of his 37th studio album, the rhythm-and-blues-based Roll with the Punches, the one and only Van Morrison is back with No. 38. On December 1, Legacy Recordings will issue Versatile – certainly an apt title for the man since his earliest days fronting Them to his immersions in jazz, soul, rock, blues, pop, and beyond.
Roll with the Punches featured five original compositions from the prolific singer-songwriter alongside blues classics by artists such as Bo Diddley, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Mose Allison. Versatile, a companion collection, features six Morrison compositions joining jazz vocal standards written by The Gershwins (“A Foggy Day,” “They Can’t Take That Way from Me”), Cole Porter (“I Get a Kick Out of You”), the team of Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Jule Styne (“The Party’s Over”), Frank Loesser and Jimmy McHugh (“Let’s Get Lost”), and other legends of the Great American Songbook. Of the six Morrison-penned songs, three are originals and three have been previously recorded: “I Forgot That Love Existed,” “Only a Dream,” and “Start All Over Again” – on Poetic Champions Compose (1987), Down the Road (2002), and Enlightenment (1990), respectively. Flautist Sir James Galway appears on the new Morrison song “Affirmation.”
Tracks on the album were recorded at Stormont Hotel, Co. Down; .The Courtyard, Clandeboye Estate, Co.Down; The Culloden Hotel, Co.Down; Slieve Donard Hotel, Co. Down; Dunluce Castle, Co. Antrim and Holywood Studio, Co. Down.
Tackling standards is nothing new for the eclectic artist; his 1995 live set How Long Has This Been Going On was titled after a George and Ira Gershwin staple and also featured tunes from Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, the Broadway team of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, and jazz’s Cannonball Adderley and Jon Hendricks. 2005’s Magic Time found him surveying hits by Sinatra and Como, and he joined the late Chet Baker in concert to sing Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” – just to name a few of his excursions into the standards songbook.
Van Morrison’s Versatile arrives in CD and vinyl editions on December 1 from Legacy in the U.S., and Caroline Records in the U.K., and can be pre-ordered at the links below!
- Broken Record (Van Morrison)
- A Foggy Day (George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin)
- Let’s Get Lost (Frank Loesser and Jimmy McHugh)
- Bye Bye Blackbird (Ray Henderson and Mort Dixon)
- Skye Boat Song (Traditional, arranged by Van Morrison)
- Take It Easy Baby (Van Morrison)
- Makin’ Whoopee (Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn)
- Get a Kick Out of You (Cole Porter)
- I Forgot That Love Existed (Van Morrison)
- Unchained Melody (Alex North and Hy Zaret)
- Start All Over Again (Van Morrison)
- Only A Dream (Van Morrison)
- Affirmation featuring Sir James Galway (Van Morrison)
- The Party’s Over (Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Jule Styne)
- I Left My Heart in San Francisco (George Cory and Douglass Cross)
- They Can’t Take That Away from Me (George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin)