For his new album, Roll With The Punches (Exile/Caroline), Van Morrison decided to reach back to his first musical love, the blues. Working with a stripped down band with limited use of horns, except for a couple of sax solos by Morrison himself, and only occasional background singers, Morrison combines covers with originals. The title song opens the set complete with a standard Muddy Waters/Willie Dixon riff, getting the closest he’s come to a true Chicago blues sound, singing like he means it, and sounding like the kid who shouted out the blues with Them 50 years later.
He then slips into a typical Morrison soul ballad, “Transformation,” which as close as he gets to mystic revelation on this set, with Jeff Beck (who appears on five tracks) providing sweet guitar. Also appearing on various tracks are other singers from the UK who started out playing blues, Chris Farlowe, Paul Jones, and Georgie Fame.
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