This is Van the Man’s debut with the prestigious jazz label, but it’s really a continuation of the folk/soul that Morrison has been mining for the past several years. Fortunately, this is also one of his better records of recent years. He’s still quite the curmudgeon (a word that comes up many times in the new biography Can You Feel the Silence by Clinton Heyland) bemoaning the media and his general perceived misfortune at the hands of fame.
You can tell by some of the titles involved - the title track, along with Goldfish Bowl and Too Many Myths play up the misunderstood woe-is-me Van Morrison. But luckily, he takes the opportunity presented by recording for a jazz label to record a couple of New Orleans standards, Whinin’ Boy Moan and Saint James Infirmary. He also come up with some nice ballads, Once in a Blue Moon and Somerset mine the confessional singer-songwriter genre as well as anyone could hope to do. At his best, Van can still pull the heartstrings without sentiment or sappiness.
The band sounds great as well - excellent arrangements and (thank goodness) he lays off the strings! While there may not be a jaw dropper like "Ballerina" or "Cleaning Windows" on this disc, it marks a good return to form for a musician who is not going to go quietly into the night.