Once again Legacy Recordings attempts to pare an artist’s entire musical career down to an essential best of collection. This time out it’s Van Morrison’s turn with the just released “The Essential Van Morrison.”
With 35 studio albums spread out over a 50 year recording career it is almost impossible to put out a 2 disc retrospective that would please everyone. You have to include all the chart hits, fan favorites, deep album cuts and a few songs from Van’s early band THEM. So how does “The Essential Van Morrison” stack up? I would say pretty well!
The set covers 27 of Morrison’s albums and gives us a healthy dose of “Blowin’ Your Mind,” “Moondance,” “Astral Weeks,” and “Into The Music.” There are also a couple of good live tracks, including Van’s performance of “Caravan” taken from the Martin Scorsese documentary “The Last Waltz.”
However, there are a few omissions that for me keep it from being truly “essential.” Those tracks would be “Full Force Gale,” “Bright Side Of The Road,” “Wonderful Remark” and THEM’s version of the classic “Baby Please Don’t Go.”
“The Essential Van Morrison” includes a 16 page booklet with some rare photos, song credits and liner notes written by Rolling Stone Magazine’s David Fricke. Completists might have to amend this package with one of the other handful of Van “best of’s” that have been previously released, but for the uninitiated this is a fine place to start.
Drumroll please… 8 out of 10 drumsticks!!!
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Pat Francis currently hosts the popular comedy/music podcast “Rock Solid,” called 1 of the 8 great music podcasts to put in your ears by USA Today and featuring artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Sammy Hagar and Susanna Hoffs. His frequent appearances on Jimmy Pardo’s top rated podcast “Never Not Funny” are fan favorites. Pat began his entertainment career as a stand-up comic in Chicago, IL. After touring the country and performing in 42 states at comedy clubs and colleges, he relocated to Los Angeles, CA. There he appeared as a comedian on Comedy Central, AMC, the UCB and is a yearly regular at the San Francisco Sketchfest. For the past 5 years he has also served as Co-Host of the yearly event Pardcast-A-Thon which to date has raised over 700,000 for Smile Train. When not entertaining people in person he also makes his living as a Story Producer for reality television programs. It is also important to know that Pat is a monkey in a human mask.