Van Morrison occupies a unique place in music. He seems to be loved by most, and even those who dislike his music (that I’ve met, anyway) can acknowledge his reach and appeal.
This disc, which covers 25 years of his career, is filled to the brim with songs you know top to bottom. When an artist has so many records, like he does, for most people I’d bet that a hits set like this would be everything they’d want. All the big songs are here – Brown Eyed Girl, Bright Side Of The Road, Have I Told You Lately, Moondance, Domino, Wild Night … and on and on. I don’t like to pick favourites here, but I always wait for And It Stoned Me to come on.
But there are also a pile of songs (which are deservedly included) that casual listeners might not know straight away, like Full Force Gale, Cleaning Windows, and Dweller On The Threshold. You need to hear them all. Also included are three songs from his time with Them, and one collaboration with Cliff Richard. Cool!
There’s one sequencing glitch, though. I’d have put Baby Please Don’t Go before Moondance. That would flow better than having it as Gloria, Moondance, Baby Please Don’t Go, and Have I Told You Lately. It’s a little jarring.
Of course, there’s an excellent Volume 2 as well, and even a 2CD Volume 3, but to get you started on Van Morrison, you’ll be able to spend a long time with this disc before wanting to branch out.