Van Morrison has steadfastly and stubbornly refused to be pigeon-holed for many years. Since his 1968 classic Astral Weeks, he has ventured into folk, R&B, pop, rock, jazz, blues and gospel. In 1988 he was with the group The Chieftains to demonstrate his love for traditional music with Irish Heartbeat. He then returned to the music of his teenage years with The Skiffle Sessions.
Van is now indulging in Country & Western with Linda Gail Lewis, sister of pianist Jerry Lee, which has been pepped up with a hefty dash of R&B. Highlights include three songs by Hank Williams – “Jambalaya”, “You Win Again”, “Why Don’t You Love Me” – and this reminds us all once again that the real rock ‘n’ roll Musicians of the fifties like Jerry Lee Lewis orientated themselves on the white C&W (Country & Western) as well as on the black R&B (Rhythm & Blues). What is missing here is too original, original material to be able to speak of a first-class work by Van – between all the Fats Domino and Bo Diddley covers there is only one Van Morrison original and that is the peculiar “No Way Pedro” “- but it is a welcome addition to an already awe-inspiring catalog of works. –Patrick Humphries