Review - The Skiffle Sessions -- Live in Belfast 1998

Artist: Van Morrison, Lonnie Donegan and Chris Barber

The British Invasion may never have materialized absent the influence of skiffle, a rootsy mix of country blues, folk and jazz practically invented by Lonnie Donegan. He and bass player-trombonist Chris Barber, together responsible for "Rock Island Line," hook up with one-time skiffle disciple Van Morrison for a pub crawl through 15 traditionals and old-time treasures, starting with Donegan's seen-it-all reading of "It Takes a Worried Man."

They continue with a trading-verses romp through "Lost John" and a swingy stomp on "Goin' Home," spiked with Barber's wooly trombone lines and the New Orleans piano boogie of Dr. John, also integral to "Good Morning Blues." Road songs -- "Alabamy Bound," "Railroad Bill" -- are on the agenda, too, along with "Midnight Special," "Dead or Alive" and a world-weary stroll through warhorse "Goodnight Irene." It amounts to a rambling, rambunctious trip to a nearly forgotten genre, bolstered by the travelers' infectious joie de vivre.


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