Various Artists: Vanthology: A Tribute to Van Morrison (2003)
The mercurial Morrison has consistently honored classic blues, soul, and R&B music in the material favored by The Them, which he co-founded, as well as his own inimitable compositions as a solo artist. Here Morrison is on the receiving end of the tributes from soul and blues legends performing his compositions.
Guitarist/vocalist Little Milton begins with his soulful take on “Tupelo Honey” (sort of payback for Morrison’s cover of Milton’s “Grits Ain’t Groceries”). Other guitarists include Dan Penn, sounding like a youthful Eric Clapton on “Bright Side of the Road,” and Son Seals, who plows his rough guitar and vocal style through the “Queen of the Slipstream.”
Frederick Knight delivers a powerful, emotional “Into the Mystic” that truly demonstrates Morrison’s grasp of things both heavenly and “in the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.” Chuck Jackson is the perfect artist to bring Vanthology to a close: He’s worked with both the Del- Vikings and the Basie Band, and brings a bluesy shade to the set-ending “Moondance.”
That these songs glow with such a transcendent spiritual air honors Morrison the composer. It is a tribute to these performers that this glow shines so brightly here.
Track Listing: Tupelo Honey; Jackie Wilson Said; Have I Told You Lately; Brown Eyed Girl; Into the Mystic; Real Real Gone; Crazy Love; Gloria; Warm Love; Queen of the Slipstream; Bright Side of the Road; My Lonely Sad Eyes; I Like It Like That; Bulbs; Moondance.
Personnel: Little Milton, Syl Johnson, William Bell, Freddie Scott, Frederick Knight, Bettye Lavette, Eddie Floyd, Sir Mack Rice, Otis Clay, Son Seals, Dan Penn, Bobby Patterson, Ellis Hooks, and Chuck Jackson with Henry Butler, organ and piano; Simon Kirke, drums and percussion; Sally Tiven, bass guitar; Jon Tiven, electric and acoustic guitar.