Picks and Pans Review: The Skiffle Sessions
Van Morrison, Lonnie Donegan, Chris Barber (Pointblank/Virgin)
Best known as a footnote to Beatles lore, Scotland-born banjo-plucker Donegan created a sensation in 1956 with his skiffle version of "Rock Island Line." A tinny hybrid of Appalachian jug-band music, Dixieland and early rock performed on washboard and broom-handle bass, Donegan's style inspired John Lennon, Paul McCartney and countless British teens to form their own skiffle groups. Across the Irish Sea, Belfast schoolboy Morrison was also smitten. The memory of his first band, the Sputniks, and the joyful, homemade abandon of skiffle led him back to his musical roots and this delicious collaboration with the now-68-year-old Donegan. The pair resurrect 15 long-lost skiffle wonders, with Morrison's weighty vocals providing a nice counterpoint to Donegan's thin but hearty wail. With titles like "Don't You Rock Me Daddio" and "Alabamy Bound," this may seem quaint. It ain't.
Bottom Line: Belfast blast