Review: Van Morrison – “The Best of Van Morrison, Volume 3”

Posted on: Thursday, Jul 12, 2007

“The Best of Van Morrison, Volume 3”

The third offering of the best of Belfast legend Van Morrison, a leisurely 17 years after the second, sees the great man’s last two decades covered on two discs, spanning some 31 tracks – many in the company of fellow musical legends John Lee Hooker, Junior Wells, BB King and more – and regular collaborators such as Georgie Fame and fellow Ulsterman, singer Brian Kennedy, possibly one of the most underrated vocalists around.

For us blues fans there is much to enjoy – from a sparkling “Gloria” with John Lee Hooker, to Junior Wells harmonica on “Help Me”, cracking organ here from Georgie Fame; and BB King’s licks on a fine “Early In The Morning”.

Jazz fans are also catered for in abundance, with the likes of Ben Sidran, Annie Ross, Jim Hunter and possibly man-of-the-match Georgie Fame on board – another highlight being a lovely jazzy “Moondance” featuring aforementioned Fame.

Along with a smattering of songs from his studio releases, many more fine collaborations stand out, including the traditional “Shenandoah”, with The Chieftains; a previously released “Cry For Home” with Tom Jones; and a cut from the “Belfast Sessions” skiffle album with the sadly-missed Lonnie Donegan – in fact one of my best Van Morrison-related moments came when Lonnie supported him on a gloriously sunny night in Grosvenor Park, Chester.

Other big-name duets see Bobby Bland guesting on an unreleased version of  the evergreen “Tupelo Honey” and the late, great Ray Charles on “Crazy Love” – top stuff indeed!

On the whole this is an excellent compilation, and whatever people think about ‘Van the Man’, there is no doubting he has a quite wonderful voice,  and a fantastic back-catalogue. This is maybe one for completists and fans only, but overall a worthy addition to the man’s releases.


Addition by Ken

The set has unreleased collaborations with Tom Jones and Bobby Bland, as well as duets with John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, The Chieftains, Ray Charles, and others. Here are a couple songs off the collection including the unreleased track with Tom Jones:

“Cry For Home” with Tom Jones

“Early In The Morning” with B.B. King



July 12th, 2007 at 15:24
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Oops – the Tom Jones duet in the review should of course said unreleased, not released. Thanks Ken.