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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Van Morrison Unveils His 45th Studio Album 'Accentuate The Positive'


By Stevie Connor.



Van Morrison unveils his 45th studio album, Accentuate the Positive, which is now available on November 3rd. This electrifying homage to rock ‘n’ roll is launched alongside its first single, a new take on the Johnny Kidd classic "Shakin’ All Over".

Like this year’s acclaimed Moving On Skiffle, Accentuate The Positive sees Van Morrison returning to one of his childhood passions: this time rock ‘n’ roll. Growing up in Belfast shortly after World War II, he was immensely inspired by the heady sounds of 20th century blues and rock ‘n’ roll. Listening to artists such as Fats Domino, Chuck Berry and The Everly Brothers, it wasn’t long until Van was intuitively reinterpreting these sounds with his own band in local hometown venues.

Several decades later, Van Morrison now revisits the genre by reimagining some of his personal favourites for Accentuate The Positive, and infusing those timeless songs with an energy that constantly challenges and expands upon its traditions. Van’s inimitable voice combined with superb arrangements and highly accomplished brings a fresh zeal to such great songs as The Johnny Burnette Trio’s, "Lonesome Train", Johnny Kidd & The Pirates’, "Shakin’ All Over" and Big Joe Turner’s pioneering rock ‘n’ roll hit, "Flip, Flop and Fly".

Contributors to the album include electric guitar from the late Jeff Beck and vocals from Chris Farlowe on, "Lonesome Train", plus guitar from Taj Mahal on, "Lucille" and, "Shake, Rattle and Roll".

Van Morrison says, "Rock ‘n’ roll is about simplicity, sincerity and expressive power and there’s no way you can get away from that. That’s why it’s good and that’s why it’s lasted. It’s spirit music."

Accentuate The Positive will be released on digital/streaming formats, double-CD, black double-vinyl and blue double-vinyl.

Van Morrison is currently embarking upon a North American tour, which continues this week with a three-night sold-out residency at SF Jazz in San Francisco. Please see HERE for a list of all remaining shows.


REMAINING TOUR DATES

12 SEP 2023

Van Morrison LIVE at SF JAZZ

San Francisco, CA USA

13 SEP 2023

Van Morrison LIVE at SF JAZZ

San Francisco, CA USA

14 SEP 2023

Van Morrison LIVE at SF JAZZ

San Francisco, CA USA

16 SEP 2023

Van Morrison LIVE at Santa Barbara Bowl

Santa Barbara, CA USA

17 SEP 2023

Van Morrison LIVE at The Greek Theater

Los Angeles, CA USA

19 SEP 2023

Van Morrison LIVE at The Greek Theater

Los Angeles, CA USA

22 SEP 2023

Van Morrison LIVE at Providence Performing Arts Center

Providence, RI

24 SEP 2023

Van Morrison LIVE at Providence Performing Arts Center

Providence, RI



Born in 1945 Van heard his Shipyard worker father’s collection of blues, country and gospel early in life. Feeding off musical greats such as Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Muddy Waters, Mahalia Jackson and Leadbelly he was a travelling musician at 13 and singing, playing guitar and sax, in several bands, before forming Them in 1964.


Making their name at Belfast’s Maritime Club, Them soon established Van as a major force in the British R&B scene. Morrison’s matchless vocal and songwriting talents produced instant classics such as the much covered ‘Gloria’ and ‘Here Comes The Night’.


Those talents found full astonishing range in Van’s solo career. After working with Them’s New York producer Bert Berns on beautiful Top 40 pop hit ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ (1967), Morrison moved to another realm.


“...there was never any suggestion that Morrison, one of the most prolific recording artists and hardest working live performers of his era, would ever rest on his laurels.”


Recorded over 3 days with legendary jazz musicians Astral Weeks (1968) is a still singular album combining street poetry, jazz improvisation, Celtic invocation and Afro Celtic Blues wailing.


Morrison would weave these and myriad other influences into the albums that followed in quick succession.


Reflecting on new life in America on the joyous Sinatra soul of Moondance (1970) and the country inflected Tupelo Honey (1971) he summoned old spiritual and ancestral life in the epic St Dominic’s Preview (1972) closer track Listen To The Lion.


Double live album Too Late To Stop Now (1973) highlighted Morrison’s superlative performing and bandleader skills. Mapping out a richly varied musical course throughout the 70s he shone among an all-star cast including Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters on The Band’s Last Waltz.


Indeed, borne of his Irish Showband instincts, the magic of the live performance has been a consistent feature of Morrison’s career.


Settling back into life in the UK in 1980 he released Common One an album centring on Summertime In England an extraordinary invocation of literary, sensual and spiritual pleasure the song would often become a thrilling improvised centrepiece to his live shows.


Steering his own course throughout the 80s on albums such as No Guru, No Method, No Teacher he claimed Celtic roots with The Chieftains on Irish Heartbeat. Teaming with Georgie Fame brought new impetus to his live show while Avalon Sunset saw him back in the album and single charts by the decades end.


Van Morrison continued to advance on his status as a game- changing artist through the 90s and into the 21st century.


Awards and accolades - a knighthood, a Brit, an OBE, an Ivor Novello, 6 Grammys, honourary doctorates from Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, entry into The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and the French Ordres Des Artes Et Des Lettres - attested to the international reach of Van’s musical art.


Yet there was never any suggestion that Morrison, one of the most prolific recording artists and hardest working live performers of his era, would ever rest on his laurels.




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