Van Morrison virtually slammed out of the Irish music scene with Them and several hits that include the Morrison-penned mega-hit, “Gloria.” “Gloria” was reinterpreted famously several more times including the Shadows of Knight version well-sung by Jimmy Sohns, and the unforgettable Patti Smith version from the ‘70s. After Van Morrison moved out on his own and established his credentials further with the spectacular “Brown-Eyed Girl” from his first solo album, and “Moondance” from his ‘start of the ‘70s’ entrance fee release, Moondance, Morrison created a bunch of excellent albums.
Since then, Van Morrison has ceaselessly entertained the world with his Irish brand of Soul leading up to the current time. All of the memorable songs from those albums are on his latest of many ‘best of’ collections, Still On Top…The Greatest Hits. Still on Top is one of the better collections largely because it covers a lot of ground. The songs have been remastered and sound very good.
There are 21 well selected cuts on this album although there are some notable exclusions. However, the art of a retrospective is not a science as you’ll find such slights in many, many ‘best of’ discs. It’s when the slights overwhelm that muddies the water and that is not the case here.
Still on Top begins with the memorable “Gloria,” and “Here Comes the Night” as he sang with Them. It is continued with “Brown-Eyed Girl,” and then followed by “Moondance.” From that point, classics like “Domino,” “Wild Night,” “Warm Love,” “Wavelength,” and later tunes like “In the Garden,” and “Have I Told You Lately?” fill your airspace with wonderful music, the like that we hear so little of anymore. There is a great live version of “Dweller on the Threshold,” and an alternate take of “The Healing Game.” My, my, my but we’re lucky to have Van Morrison still recording.
This single disc collection of Van Morrison gems is a glittering diamond. There is an 8-page booklet with notes by Barry McIlheney, exhaustive credits of every song, and a great 2-page Morrison-related artwork. I encourage you to pick yourself up Still on Top…the Greatest Hits and enjoy it. It would be impossible to be disappointed.