Roll with the Punches

Roll with the Punches

by Van MorrisonVan Morrison

CD(with Booklet)

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Van Morrison's 2016 album Keep Me Singing included the hard blues track "Goin' Down to Bangor," a tune that directly foreshadowed Roll with the Punches, a set of five originals and ten covers drenched in Chicago-style blues. He also heavily engages in collaboration here with appearances by Jeff Beck, Chris Farlowe, Jason Rebello, Paul Jones, and Georgie Fame. At 72, Morrison can still belt the blues with passion and swagger. The opening title track is an original that pays homage to Willie Dixon's "Hoochie Coochie Man" riff. He elaborates on the wrongs in life and love, but exhorts listeners to get up and move on without self-pity. He follows with the single "Transformation," a trademark Celtic R&B tune and the set's outlier; his vocal interaction with Beck's tasty slide guitar is irresistible. "I Can Tell," with Beck and Farlowe, is the first of two Bo Diddley tunes, and offers a fantastic lead-in to the medley of T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday" and Doc Pomus' "Lonely Avenue." Morrison has cut the former several times dating back to Them, while a version of the latter appeared on 1993's Too Long in Exile. Beck shines, unfurling his guitar wrangling with fire as Farlowe (who had a hit with "Stormy Monday in the early '60s) and Morrison exchange verses effortlessly, making these the singer's definitive versions. Fame vocally opens the original "Goin' to Chicago" with a jazzman's swing, accompanied only by double bass. Harmonica, electric guitar, and drums follow his organ on the second verse and Morrison enters on the third in a fingerpopping slow burn. Morrison first recorded "Bring It on Home to Me," for the live It's Too Late to Stop Now.... While that version was far more animated, this one offers the soulman's nuanced best as a vocal stylist and he sings the hell out of it. Beck's solo on the tune is his own watermark on the set. Morrison's "Ordinary People" is a stomping, textbook case in how to write classic-style blues in the 21st century. A stride piano is the engine for the growling read of Sister Rosetta Tharpe's gospel blues "How Far from God," and Morrison's passionate delivery makes every word believable. "Teardrops from My Eyes" was Ruth Brown's first number one hit; led by Fame, the band lays down swinging R&B, creating a solid backdrop for Morrison to wail. Little Walter's "Mean Old World" was once an oft-covered standard, and Morrison reminds us why by reviving its fiery spirit. A rowdy, raucous take on Bo Diddley's "Ride on Josephine" closes out this party on a proper note, with Morrison letting the backing chorus and the tune's trademark boogie riff guide him. On Roll with the Punches, Morrison revisits his roots without nostalgia or overt reverence. For him, these songs are as vital and important to him as his own songs. The spontaneity on this set is more akin to a live record than a studio effort, making it a most welcome entry in his catalog.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/22/2017
Label: Caroline
UPC: 0602557718515
catalogNumber: 771851
Rank: 8706

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Van Morrison   Primary Artist,Harmonica,Percussion,Electric Guitar,Saxophone,Vocals
Jeff Beck   Electric Guitar
Georgie Fame   Hammond Organ,Vocals
Chris Farlowe   Vocals
Jason Rebello   Piano
Laurence Cottle   Trombone,Electric Bass
Dan Ellis   Percussion
Colin Griffin   Drums
Pete Hurley   Electric Bass
Paul Jones   Harmonica,Vocals
Paul Moore   Electric Bass
Paul Moran   Trumpet,Hammond Organ
Dave Keary   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Mez Clough   Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals
James Powell   Drums
Sumudu Jayatilaka   Background Vocals
Elizabeth Williams   Background Vocals
Chris Hill   Double Bass
Dana Masters   Background Vocals
Stuart McIlroy   Piano
Ned Edwards   Harmonica,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Sam Cooke   Composer
Mose Allison   Composer
Count Basie   Composer
Jimmy Rushing   Composer
Sam Hopkins   Composer
Don Black   Composer
Ellas McDaniel   Composer
Van Morrison   Composer
Doc Pomus   Composer
Tristan Powell   Engineer
Sister Rosetta Tharpe   Composer
Rudy Toombs   Composer
Aaron Walker   Composer
Enda Walsh   Engineer
Matt Tait   Engineer
Walter Jacobs   Composer
Gerry McLernon   Engineer
Sam Smith   Composer
Will Purton   Engineer

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