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Skiffle Sessions: Live in Belfast 1998
     

The Skiffle Sessions: Live in Belfast 1998

by Chris Barber
 
When it comes to live performances, Van Morrison is usually thought of as a serious, enigmatic soulslinger with a voice of gold, but even Van the Man lets his hair down every once in a while. And as this 1998 concert recording proves, when he does he's every bit as engaging a hootenanny participant as he is a mystical guide. Flanked by his early contemporaries Lonnie

Overview

When it comes to live performances, Van Morrison is usually thought of as a serious, enigmatic soulslinger with a voice of gold, but even Van the Man lets his hair down every once in a while. And as this 1998 concert recording proves, when he does he's every bit as engaging a hootenanny participant as he is a mystical guide. Flanked by his early contemporaries Lonnie Donegan and Chris Barber, Morrison moves subtly through a wide variety of covers, from old-time blues ("It Takes a Worried Man") to more lighthearted fare like the cornball classic "Muleskinner's Blues." Because it's a collaborative effort, THE SKIFFLE SESSIONS doesn't place Morrison at the forefront for its entire duration, but it's fascinating to hear him bob and weave through the disc's 15 songs with Donegan (best known for his '50s novelty hit "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor...?") and Barber. There isn't a misstep on the set, but Morrison really outdoes himself on the notable "Frankie & Johnny" and the rave-up closer, "I Wanna Go Home."

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Van Morrison probably chose to give a pair of skiffle concerts in November, 1998 not because he was nostalgic, but because he has genuine love for this music. At least, that's the impression The Skiffle Sessions gives. It's a cheerfully old-fashioned yet curiously fresh album. By skipping "Rock Island Line," the style's best-known tune, and emphasizing the music's foundation in American folk, blues, and jazz, they wind up revitalizing skiffle while paying homage to it. Yes, this may be corny at times, yet it's a clever, diverse record. They delve into blues, letting Barber have a Dixieland trombone solo on "Frankie and Johnny," invite Dr. John to play some New Orleans on "Goin' Home" and "Good Morning Blues," haul out Jimmie Rodgers' "Muleskinner Blues" and Leadbelly's "Goodnight Irene," paying tribute to both country and folk. Only "Don't You Rock Me Daddio" fits the clichés of skiffle, and here it's only one side of a rich, generous collection of roots music. Some might say that this multifaceted approach to skiffle is revisionism, but it isn't; skiffle itself was a hybrid, drawing from all sorts of American roots music but given an endearing twist by idealist British musicians, who loved the American myth as much as the music. The Skiffle Sessions captures this love of myth and music, while being a hell of a good listen. Morrison's career has been idiosyncratic and unpredictable, but nothing has been quite as surprising as this. Really, there's no reason why a skiffle album released in 2000 should be as irresistible as this, but Morrison, Donegan, and Barber bring such heart and love to this music that it's hard not to be charmed.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/25/2000
Label:
Virgin Records Us
UPC:
0724384830724
catalogNumber:
48307

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Chris Barber   Primary Artist,Trombone,Background Vocals,Double Bass
Dr. John   Piano
Lonnie Donegan   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Jim Sullivan   Acoustic Guitar
Chris Hunt   Snare Drums
Van Morrison   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Nicky Payne   Harmonica,Saxophone,Vocals
Nicky Scott   Electric Bass
Alan Wickett   Percussion
Paul Henry   Acoustic Guitar

Technical Credits

Champion Jack Dupree   Composer
Lead Belly   Composer
Count Basie   Composer
Jimmy Rushing   Composer
Buddy DeSylva   Composer
Eddie Durham   Composer
Bud Green   Composer
Ray Henderson   Composer
Huddie Ledbetter   Composer
John A. Lomax   Composer
Van Morrison   Producer

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