- 25 Oct 22
Van Morrison's new album Moving On Skiffle will be released on 10th March 2023.
Van Morrison has announced two intimate Belfast gigs to celebrate the forthcoming release of his new album, Moving On Skiffle, inspired by his love for the genre dating back to childhood.
Special intimate album launch shows will take place at The Stables, Milton Keynes (March 13th, 14th and 15th) and Whitla Hall, Belfast (April 6th and 7th).
As a boy, the Northern Irish musician would hang out at the famed Belfast record store Atlantic Records, where he’d hear early 20th century folk, blues and jazz from the likes of Lead Belly and Jelly Roll Morton.
When he heard Lonnie Donegan’s take on ‘Rock Island Line’ he intuitively understood the music he was creating. Before long, Van Morrison was playing with a skiffle band in school.
Several decades on, Van Morrison now revisits his love of the genre with his new album Moving On Skiffle, which will be released on 10th March 2023. He introduces the album by sharing its lead single ‘Streamline Train’.
Written in the 1930s by the Mississippi bluesman Red Nelson, the song was popularised when The Vipers Skiffle Group took it into the UK singles chart in 1957. This new take gives it a richer and more robust sound, illuminated by Van Morrison’s husky, cultured soul. It's brought to life further by gospel-style backing vocals and a rousing Hammond organ solo.
Moving On Skiffle finds Morrison taking a homemade style that exploded across Britain in the mid-1950s and infusing it with sophistication. The 23-track album goes to the heart of the music Van Morrison has inhabited ever since he was six years old, containing songs that underline the importance of freedom and living on your own terms.
Van Morrison says, “I was still in school when I performed with a skiffle band – a couple of guitars, washboard, tea-chest bass. I was already familiar with Lead Belly’s recordings so when I heard Lonnie Donegan’s version of ‘Rock Island Line’ I intuitively understood what he was creating, I knew that it was what I wanted to do. It was like an explosion. This record retranslates songs from that era.
"Chas McDevitt’s book is where to start when it comes to the history of skiffle. From the very beginning with Lead Belly and the jug bands laying the foundations through to Lonnie Donegan’s influence, and Chas McDevitt’s skiffle group, it’s all in there.”
Several of the songs feature his own arrangements, while select others feature his own characteristic lyrical twists. Morrison has changed the title of ‘Mama Don’t Allow’, recorded by both the Memphis Jug Band and the Chicago blues man Tampa Red in the late 1920s, to ‘Gov Don’t Allow’.
The gospel standard ‘This Little Light of Mine’, a key anthem of the Civil Rights movement in ‘60s America, is transformed into the rollicking, upbeat ‘This Loving Light of Mine’.
Opening track ‘Freight Train’ was originally written by Elizabeth Cotten and then recorded by both Peggy Seeger and Chas McDevitt. Van Morrison has given it as a sophisticated jazz arrangement complete with rollicking organ, close harmony vocals and some new words.
The album closes with ‘Green Rocky Road’, a plaintive folk gem and an ode to the troubadour life that was made famous by Fred Neiland Dave Van Ronk, and featured in the film ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’.
Key contributors on the album include Dave Keary (guitars), Pete Hurley (bass), Colin Griffin (drums) and Sticky Wicket (washboard). Current Brit folk favourite Seth Lakeman also contributes fiddle to five songs.
Fans who pre-order the album here by 5pm on Monday 31st October will receive access to a ticket pre-sale, which opens at 10am on Tuesday 1st November. The pre-sale remains live until tickets go on general sale at 10am from Friday 4th November.
‘Moving On Skiffle’ tracklist:
1. Freight Train
2. Careless Love
3. Sail Away Ladies
4. Streamline Train
5. Take This Hammer
6. No Other Baby
7. Gypsy Davy
8. This Loving Light of Mine
9. In The Evening When the Sun Goes Down
10. Yonder Comes A Sucker
11. Travellin’ Blues
12. Gov Don’t Allow
13. Come On In
14. Streamlined Cannonball
15. Greenback Dollar
16. Oh Lonesome Me
17. I Wish Was An Apple On A Tree
18. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
19. I’m Movin’ On
20. Cold Cold Heart
21. Worried Man Blues
22. Cotton Fields
23. Green Rocky Road
Album Launch Live Dates:
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Monday 13th March 2023
Tuesday 14th March 2023
Wednesday 15th March 2023
Whitla Hall, Belfast
Thursday 6th April 2023
Friday 7th April 2023