If skiffle now seems as ancient as the chewing gum on Lonnie Donegan’s bedpost, don’t tell Van Morrison, because this album is a wonderful homage to musician and historian Chas McDevitt’s introduction to a sound that warped via New Orleans and the Delta to Soho and Van’s Belfast.
Aside from songs here, which include Hoyt Axton’s epic Greenback Dollar, Elizabeth Cotton’s Freight Train (given a smart jazz update) and Green Rocky Road, familiar from versions by Fred Neil, Dave Van Ronk and Rick Nelson, Morrison fans will enjoy hearing him in fine voice and generous mood.
His love for the music shines throughout. Wish I Was An Apple On A Tree (one for the teenagers) even features Sticky Wicket’s washboard, and backing singers whose contributions recall Van’s own good old days.
Elsewhere, Civil Rights gospel anthem This Little Light Of Mine warms the cockles, and Huddie Ledbetter’s Cotton Fields still rocks the cradle.