After recently announcing details of his 42nd album ‘Latest Record Project: Volume 1’ which will be released on May 7th via Exile/BMG, Van Morrison today releases its lead single ‘Only A Song’.
In keeping with the album, ‘Only A Song’ channels Van Morrison’s love of blues, R&B, jazz and soul into a sound that’s dynamic and utterly contemporary. It shows that Van Morrison continues to be an artist of integrity and distinction. The rhythm section immediately hits an irresistible tight swinging groove that’s equal parts rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll. Their sound-bed is embellished with an enlivening cocktail of organic live instrumentation, with call-and-response vocals and flourishes of the saxophone.
Listen to ‘Only A Song’ - BELOW:
Other highlights on ‘Latest Record Project: Volume 1’, range from the saxophone-led R&B gem ‘Jealousy’ to the joyful, country-tinged ‘A Few Bars Early’ via the spirited Them-style garage rock of the self-explanatory ‘Stop Bitching, Do Something’.
While the album touches upon the romantic sentiment and late-night warmth that people love him for, the overriding theme is a straight-talking commentary on contemporary life. It’s a stance that informs ‘Dead Beat Saturday Night’ as it addresses lockdown life in matter-of-fact style: “No life, no gigs, no choice, no voice.” It also surfaces in the barroom rock’n’roll of ‘Where Have All The Rebels Gone’, which bemoans the lack of real independent thought, so often replaced in the modern age by mere posturing. And as for Morrison’s views on social media? They are summed up on ‘Why Are You On Facebook?’.
Two songs, ‘Love Should Come With A Warning’ and ‘Mistaken Identity', feature lyrics that were written with the great Don Black. Morrison met Black after hearing something in his 1969 pop ballad ‘On Days Like These’, as sung by Matt Monrofor the soundtrack to ‘The Italian Job’, which reminded him of his own style. It led to Black writing ‘Mistaken Identity’, which, paradoxically, is the most autobiographical song on the album.
What ‘Latest Record Project: Volume 1’ most clearly demonstrates is this: if you want to really appreciate Van Morrison’s art listen to what he’s doing now because he never stops.