His Band and the Street Choir was Van Morrison's third solo album proper, after the transcendent Astral Weeks and the more mainstream but undeniably brilliant Moondance. Released in late 1970, "His Band" finds Van fronting a tough but tender R and B band with blaring horns, female backing singers, taut arrangements and real dynamic flair.
Seen by many as a slight letdown after the glories of its predecessors, "His Band" does indeed go lightly on Morrison's celtic influences, but is instead dominated by some glorious ensemble playing and proudly carries in its grooves an inspired undercurrent of New Orleans funk.
It even includes one of Van's rare US Top Ten Hit singles - the pulsing "Domino", an ode to the R and B radio of Morrison's youth.
The album also features the sublime "Call Me Up In Dreamland", the driving "I've Been Working", "I'll be Your Lover, Too", an introspective track reminiscent of some of his Astral Weeks work, and a soulful closing courtesy of "If I Ever Needed Someone" and the semi-title track "Street Choir".
Sure there are some throwaways, "Sweet Jannie" among them, but this is one Van Morrison album where his love for his music and joy in its execution come shining through above all else. "Blue Money", for instance, is probably as close as Van gets to a romp over the entirety of his forty-plus year solo career.
On "His Band and the Street Choir" Van Morrison sheds perceptions of his tortured genius and instead shines as the rhythm and blues bandleader, songwriter, and of course singer that he always was.