Van Morrison’s new album Duets: Re-Working The Catalogue features vocal collaborations with everyone from Michael Bublé and Steve Winwood to Mavis Staples and even the late Bobby Womack, but they aren’t revisiting any classic hits. Instead, Morrison decided it would be far more interesting to shine a spotlight on lesser-known gems from his catalog, including “These Are the Days” from 1989’s Avalon Sunset, “Born to Sing” from 2012’s No Plan B and “Streets of Arklow” from 1974’s Veedon Fleece.
“I’ve done duets before, with John Lee Hooker, Tom Jones, Ray Charles, Carl Perkins and Bobby Bland,” Morrison said in a statement. “This project was partly about the fun of singing with artists I admire, but also about going back to songs that aren’t so well known. I’ve wanted to make an album like this since the early 2000s, but it was difficult to pull together the right people. The creative and scheduling sides had to be right.”
The project began in 2013, when Morrison played the Bluesfest at London’s Royal Albert Hall along with Bobby Womack, Mavis Staples and Natalie Cole. He booked studio sessions with all of them, and over the next year cut tracks with Joss Stone, Michael Bublé, Mark Knopfler, Taj Mahal and several others. Morrison even got P.J. Proby to duet with him on his 2002 song “Whatever Happened to P.J. Proby.”
Duets will be released March 23rd and can be streamed in full below.