THE trouble with new albums from the veteran artists is that we (the record buyer) expect the same high standard on every outing. In the case of Van Morrison with a four decades career in some quarters he will still be expected to produce another ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ or a ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You’ classic.
Born To Sing: No Plan B (Blue Note), is no Astral Weeks but few followers will be disappointed with it.
Returning to a classic jazz label it appropriately fulfils the promise with tracks like ‘Close Enough For Jazz’ showcasing all musicians in a laid back lounge vibe and this continues on ‘If In Money We Trust’ with a cute section for the bass that would surely check the quality of your speakers and if it sounds spontaneous it was – it’s an album recorded live from the studio. ‘Pagan Heart’ is a blues homage down ‘at the crossroads’ followed by the exquisite ‘Educating Archie’ with Van dusting off his alto sax to fine effect.
His alto along with of Chris White’s tenor blend perfectly on the expansive ‘Goin’ Down To Monte Carlo’ making this overall a further milestone for Van.
Now Don Felder was The Eagles guitarist for 27 years before writing his best seller Heaven and Hell: My Life In The Eagles when he departed.
Over 10 years on fans will still expect quality from the guy who wrote and performed the guitar licks for Hotel California.
Road To Forever (Membran), ticks many boxes and while the album shows many rock influences with ‘You Don’t Have Me’ and ‘Girls In Black’ both allow expression of his guitar prowess. ‘I Believe In You’ is more laid back and would ease into any Eagles album, ‘Someday’ has wondrous harmonies as does ‘Fall From The Grace Of Love’ (but then it should with Crosby, Stills & Nash backing). The title track has Jeff Porcaro and David Paich from Toto and after a short melancholy intro the rock just like the old days and I guess that is just what the buyers will want.