Various Artists

Roots of Van Morrison [Snapper UK]

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Snapper is a strange kind of label. They do some very solid reissues, and some fine compilations, and then they seemingly toss off something like this, a hodgepodge of tracks by artists who influenced Van Morrison. While the title gets to that and fully cops to the fact that Van isn't anywhere to be found here, even for the money they might have done a better job of presentation. For starters, just look at the cover photo. UGH! The other bit is that it's not these songs per se that drew Morrison to these artists: it was the body of work that was available in the 1950s, played during late nights on the BBC or found on record store shelves in strange compilations -- some, like this one, of dubious origin (you can bet your bottom dollar that not one of these cuts is licensed). So one has to wonder what value there is in a compilation of this sort -- little, it turns out. If they were serious, they would have gotten Morrison to choose his own selections. Avoid.

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