Van Morrison

The Best of Van Morrison [Mercury]

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For an artist who's doggedly album-oriented, plus a songwriter who revels in subtlety, Van Morrison doesn't seem like a logical candidate for a successful greatest-hits compilation. Nevertheless, The Best of Van Morrison is a crackerjack compilation, tracing Van the Man from his days with Them, through his best-known tunes ("Brown-Eyed Girl," "Moondance," "Blue Money," "Wild Night"), to highlights from the '70s and '80s cult efforts, topped off by "Wonderful Remark," a song first heard on the King of Comedy soundtrack. This collection makes Morrison's work seem a little more immediate and accessible than it usually is, but that's a blessing, since it provides a great summary of his hits and a nice introduction for the curious. Yes, it could have dug deeper into the catalog, but as a sampler, it can't be faulted.

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