The Skiffle Sessions cover
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The Skiffle Sessions
Live in Belfast

Pointblank/Virgin 7243 8483072 4
(Released January 17, 2000 in the UK,
January 25 in North America)

  1. It Takes a Worried Man (3:39)
  2. Lost John (3:33)
  3. Going Home (3:08)
  4. Good Morning Blues (2:52)
  5. Outskirts Of Town (4:21)
  6. Don't You Rock Me Daddio (1:52)
  7. Alabamy Bound (2:22)
  8. Midnight Special (2:54)
  9. Dead Or Alive (2:34)
  10. Frankie & Johnny (4:31)
  11. Goodnight Irene (2:46)
  12. Railroad Bill (1:58)
  13. Muleskinner Blues (3:06)
  14. The Ballad of Jesse James (3:08)
  15. I Wanna Go Home (3:45)

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for larger version)

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The first CD single from The Skiffle Sessions was released on February 8 in the US. Featuring "I Wanna Go Home", with two extra "non album tracks" - "New Burying Ground" and "Midnight Special (Alternative Take)".

Review from The Times, 14 January 1999:
At first, Van Morrison, Lonnie Donegan and Chris Barber's Skiffle Sessions - Live in Belfast seems a scary prospect indeed, especially as nobody seems quite sure what "skiffle" actually is. Nor is it exactly encouraging when, on the sleeve notes, Van the Man reminisces fondly about his early band, the Sputniks, with the immortal words: "We had a washboard, guitar, tea-chest bass and a type of kazoo called the zobo." Oh, one thinks, what larks to have been a roadie in those halcyon days.

However, as it turns out, this record is very good. Morrison, who became a legend by making Astral Weeks and refusing to smile for 30 years, is in fine growly voice as he works his way through folky-blues standards with the irrepressible Donegan and Barber.

It is all very Old Grey Whistle Test, of course and, to prove it, Bob Harris whispers again as the big hitters show how folky blues classics such as Frankie and Johnny, Goodnight Irene and The Ballad of Jesse James should be performed. If real ale could sing this is how it would sound, but don't let that put you off. "This is going to be nice, this is going to be very nice," chuckles Donegan as they launch into I Wanna Go Home. And actually it is.

The Skiffle Sessions promo

Pre-release review by Noseyrom:
Scan of promotional CD shown at right
My friendly Postman dropped something VERY nice through my letterbox today, (along with 4 bills). A promotional copy of Vans new album The Skiffle Sessions - Live in Belfast 1998 , as soon as I could, I gave it a twirl on my CD player and was instantly impressed by the Excellent stereo, there's loads of "twiddly bits" on separate channels (OK it don't take a lot to impress some peeps). Another thing I like about this album is that "they" have left in a lot of the Van and Lonnie "interaction" between songs, and below is a very brief resume of the upcoming album.

  1. It Takes a Worried Man (3:39) - Lonnie Donegan (LD) solo on this first track, (NVC as I'm told), thinks "I hope this isn't how the rest of the album pans out."
  2. Lost John (3:33) - LD kicks this off again solo, but wait, you can tell Van's coming on stage by the squeals and applause, Yep He's here and straight into the vocals too. Just before the next song LD reminds Van about something, "Oh Yeh, Mac" Then Van introduces Dr. John for :
  3. Going Home (3:08) - Chris Barber (CB) Leads out this song on Trombone.
  4. Good Morning Blues (2:52) - after this Van gives Dr. John a name check (which is really Vans way of saying "ok, thanks a lot, but you're off now"
  5. Outskirts Of Town (4:21) - There's super separation on this one, the Harmonica is really "echoey" (?) on one channel. There's also an acoustic (and twangy) Van guitar solo with Van scatting along too, it even gets applause.
  6. Don't You Rock Me Daddio (note spelling) (1:52) - Wow, this is a frantic song and the washboard really helps it along at a "right lick"
  7. Alabamy Bound (2:22) - and one of my Faves. "Ha" Van comes in late and LD shuts up straight away, however, this is very soon forgotten, as LD comes right back in and now they've got it together nicely. A BEEyootiful track.
  8. Midnight Special (2:54) - after this one you can hear Van say "Lets slow it down a bit". Someone from the audience must shout something as LD says "Sit down you can't afford me" followed by "You'll like this one, you like everything. You're the best audience I've ever had" (how many times have we heard these gems ?).
  9. Dead Or Alive (2:34) - During this track you can hear another vocalist, "giving some backchat" (I guess I missed this during the shows)
  10. Frankie & Johnny (4:31) and the longest song on the album, LD mentions this is the first song he ever learnt, and you can just hear some girls go "OOOOOOO" in the audience, which leads me to believe this song was taken from the first nights show (I was sitting directly behind the screaming girlies on this night - bless their cotton socks).
  11. Goodnight Irene (2:46) - Van wants to slow this one down again, I prefer the slower version too.
  12. Railroad Bill (1:58) I don't remember this one at all, and I haven't had the time to check up my Wavelengths. (Either they've slipped this one in, or I was errrm "nodding off". Thank goodness it was only a short one then).
  13. Muleskinner Blues (3:06) - Another Frantically paced song, well the guitar and Harmonica are really giving it some "wellie"
  14. The Ballad of Jesse James (3:08) - after this song, you can hear Van saying "Wanna Go home", then LD says to the audience "Here's a good old one, see if you remember this one, see if WE do ?" (another old nutmeg). Then LD says to the band "It's gonna be nice, very nice" and He's right. This is easily my favourite song on this album
  15. I Wanna Go Home (3:45) a fitting finale. Thats it Van leave 'em wanting more.

In a quick summary - All short songs (so no chance of getting bored with 'em) They've done a nice job on the vocals, clear and crisp (well it is a Commercial album now). Oh yes -- THOROUGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Go out 18th January and buy this one, its a fitting memory of a unique occasion.

Other notes:
See also the earlier boot CD of the same name, from the same sessions.

See the Glossary entry for skiffle for more information on Lonnie Donegan and skiffle music.

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