Van Morrison, very sadly, is no longer Van The Man. More Van the Curmudgeon. But curmudgeon doesn’t rhyme. However, Van the Also-Ran does. A bit harsh? Maybe. Though a procession of erratic (and, in the case of Latest Record Project: Volume 1, irascible) albums, probably since 2016’s Keep Me Singing, hardly offer a robust defense.
Oh, but when he was The Man, he was good. Real good. In his ’70s pomp Van Morrison was on a whole other wavelength (if you will). High on that amorphous thing we call soul, he made us high too on the likes of Moondance, Tupelo Honey and Veedon Fleece. And then there was Into the Music, a collection that accommodated the instantly irresistible “Bright Side of the Road” and “Full Force Gale,” as well as the deeper dives “And the Healing Has Begun” and “It’s All in the Game.”