Picks and Pans Review: Van Morrison

UPDATED 06/13/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/13/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT

Magic Time

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"Let me go back, for a while/To that magic time," sings Van Morrison on the sweetly nostalgic title track of his 38th solo release. And at 59, the ever-cool Irishman lovingly revisits the good old days of jazz, blues and classic R&B. Although newly written by Morrison, soulful ballads such as "Stranded" and "Just Like Greta," which takes its "I want to be alone" mantra from Greta Garbo, sound as if they were unearthed gems from the '60s. Morrison also dips into Latin-tinged funk on "Gypsy in My Soul," while honoring his native roots on "Celtic New Year." But a big-band turn on "This Love of Mine," one of three jazz standards he covers, fails to do the trick.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Just Like Greta"

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