Van Morrison

Back on Top

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After so many songs ranging through so many styles, it is a pleasure to have Van Morrison return to the music that suits him so well. Steeped in blues and R&B, Back on Top finds Morrison celebrating life and its pleasures to the limit. The up-tempo "New Biography" takes a sharp stab at those who say they know him just so they can see their names in print. "Golden Autumn Day" is a near perfect summation of his music up to today and provides a rare glimpse into his personal life as well. On this and other cuts, Morrison sounds like he's taken a lesson or two from tourmate Bob Dylan, and there's a thread that runs from Dylan's recent work right on through to this one. "Goin' Down Geneva" is a great blues cut, while "In the Midnight" is bedroom music, pure and simple. "Back on Top," the title track, swings along with such ease that you're tempted to check and make sure you didn't put in Moondance by mistake. The meditative "When the Leaves Come Falling Down" even will remind one of Morrison's meditations on Astral Weeks. No matter which track you pick, there's not a weak cut here.

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