Picks and Pans Review: Too Long in Exile

updated 06/21/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/21/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Van Morrison

For more than a quarter century, Ireland's most soulful tenor has been notably prolific, putting out 23 albums. But Morrison's real accomplishment has been the musical grace with which he has pirouetted from brass-injected, revue-style R&B to heart-plumbing balladry to soul-searching pop.

Unfortunately, Morrison's reputation for consistency takes a pounding with this sloppy offering. It's not just the material: rambling jams and tossed-off lyrics. He also makes some odd vocal choices, occasionally adding to his repertoire a bleating vibrato that sounds like Elmer Fudd.

There are interesting moments: a duet with bluesman John Lee Hooker on a remake of Morrison's oft-covered 1965 song "Gloria" and Van's ragged but righteous harmonica solo on the old Doc Pomus blues vamp "Lonely Avenue." But it's regrettable to root around for a few redeeming moments when so many of Morrison's records have offered redemption itself. (Polydor)

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