Van Morrison - Accentuate the Positive
by Kevin Wierzbicki
Here's a 19-song set of covers from Van the Man that reflects his early rock 'n' roll influences, beginning with a cut that many might see as unlikely, "You Are My Sunshine." But this is not the song as schoolkids sing it; rather it is a rollicking R&B-infused interpretation with great guitar and organ riffs and of course heartfelt vocals from Morrison. The Everly Brothers are represented with a swinging take on "When Will I Be Loved," the song that Linda Ronstadt had a big hit with. Bill Haley's "Two Hound Dogs" is a rockabilly rave-up, "I Want a Roof Over My Head" is done in a Big Band style, not surprising since it is most associated with band leader Louis Jordan. Other cool cuts here include the twang fest of "Lonesome Train," a Johnny Burnette song that features the late Jeff Beck on guitar and Chris Farlowe (Colusseum, Atomic Rooster) on additional vocals, a raucous version of the Little Richard chestnut "Lucille" with Taj Mahal on guitar, an especially rhythmic take on Chuck Berry's "Blueberry Hill" and Johnny Kidd & the Pirates' "Shakin' All Over" which was a biggie for Chad Allan & the Expressions who would soon change their name to the Guess Who. Morrison has chosen well here and it is fun hearing his spin on these classics, and his always expressive, instantly recognizable voice sounds fantastic throughout.