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Van Morrison and Joey DeFrancesco: You're Driving Me Crazy

C. Michael Bailey By

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Van Morrison has been busy, releasing three recordings in quick succession, Roll With the Punches (Exile, 2017), Versatile (Exile, 2017), and presently You're Driving Me Crazy with jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco. At this point in his career, Morrison can pretty well sing what he damn well pleases. On his past several recordings, Morrison has revisited his catalog, recasting some of his older songs in new frames and You're Driving Me Crazy proves no exception. Revisited here are "The Way Young Lovers Do" from Astral Weeks (Warner Bros, 1968), "All Saints Day" from Hymns to the Silence (Polydor, 1991), "Close Enough for Jazz" from Born to Sing: No Plan B (Blue Note, 2012).

The presence of Joey DeFrancesco must be noted for the refinement and aplomb he brings to Morrison's beautiful "Magic Time," infusing the piece with an easy-listening grace. The pair breath a gently-swinging life into Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately" (from Avalon Sunset (Mercury, 1989)), while recasting Inarticulate Speech of the Heart's "Celtic Swing" as a breezy romp featuring Morrison's alto saxophone and Dan Wilson's electric guitar. The pair lay down the blues on Morrison's "Goldfish Bowl" from What's Wrong with this Picture (Blue Note, 2003). It would not be fair to DeFrancesco to label this as a "Van Morrison" recording, but it is that. What DeFrancesco brings to the table is the integrating feature of his exceptional musicianship and swing. The two click best on the old war-horses: "Travelin' Light" and "Every Day I have the Blues" where their music making is effortless. And that is what we have become accustomed to from Morrison, music too easily made and enjoyed. It is not often that nature smiles so generously upon us, but it has done so in Van Morrison.

Track Listing: Miss Otis Regrets; Hold It Right There; All Saints Day; The Way Young Lovers Do; The Things I used to Do; Travelin’ Light; Close Enough for Jazz; Goldfish Bowl; Evening Shadows; Magic Time; You’re Driving Me Crazy; Every Day I have the Blues; Have I Told You Lately; Sticks and Stones; Celtic Swing.

Personnel: Van Morrison: vocals, saxophones; Joe DeFrancesco: Hammond organ, trumpet; Dan Wilson: guitar; Michael Ode: drums; Troy Roberts: saxophone.

Title: You're Driving Me Crazy | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Sony BMG Legacy

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