Contrary to the New Age connotations of the title, the subject of Van Morrison’s latest album, Enlightenment — his 20th solo effort — is a heart-stirring look back at the advent of rock & roll. On it, Morrison picks the lock of memory with a stream-of- consciousness singing style, with his soulful voice, and with any other musical mnemonic button he can find to push. Every song is about his initiation into the mysteries of rock. At one point he simply intones the names of his heroes — ”Fats, Elvis, Sonny, Lightnin’, Muddy, John Lee” — evoking the excitement he felt when he discovered them. In ”The Days Before Rock’n’Roll,” Morrison effortlessly conjures up the image of a small fat child hunched over a huge radio apparatus, trying to tune in a boxing match in Belfast in the early ’50s. It is the moment just before he first hears rock & roll; the moment before a child will, in effect, exchange his innocence for a whole new world of emotion and experience. It’s a moment most rock fans will enjoy reliving. A
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