Van Morrison – Versatile review: far removed from the man’s masterworks

Fri, Nov 24, 2017, 09:53



Van Morrison

Caroline Records

R&B / Soul

There is a temptation to take Van at his word during one of six new songs on Versatile. The song in question, Broken Record, reminds this writer of all the reasons why, with admittedly several exceptional pieces of work, it has been difficult to take him seriously as a crucial figure in contemporary music. Let it be noted that Versatile is far removed from the man’s masterworks. Rather, it sees the 72-year-old revisit the music that originally inspired him. Which is all well and good, but the last time I checked no one needed more versions of jazz standards such as Bye Bye Blackbird, I Get a Kick Out of You and I Left my Heart in San Francisco. Faring only slightly better are the originals. Songs such as Start All Over Again and Only a Dream might see Van in a late-night swing-jazz frame of mind, but it leaves this listener in a cabaret supper club booth desperately searching for the exit signs.