Kevin Bryan delivers his verdict on some of this week's CD releases Van Morrison, "The Prophet Speaks" (Caroline International)- Many of Van's direct contemporaries from the golden age of rock and pop in the late sixties and early seventies may have fallen by the wayside over the years as time has taken its toll on their creativity but the irascible Ulsterman still surges on regardless, and his 40th studio album, "The Prophet Speaks," is a back to the roots exercise of the highest quality . This heady blend of earthy blues, jazz and soul divides neatly between freshly minted Morrison ditties such as "Got To Go Where The Love Is" and affectionate revamps of numbers made famous by the likes of Solomon Burke, Sam Cook and John Lee Hooker, the latter the much recorded "Dimples."

The Copper Family, "Come Write Me Down" (Topic Records)- This splendid folk anthology focusses attention on a choice selection of archive recordings from The Copper Family of Rottingdean, Sussex. Their rare southern English style of harmony singing breathes new life into time honoured ballads such as "Spencer The Rover," "Adieu, Sweet Lovely Nancy" and "The Banks of the Sweet Primroses," drawing on a committment to narrative folk culture which has led to the Coppers being dubbed "The first family of English roots music."

"Driven by the 70s"(Union Square Music)- The contents of this cheaply priced 5 CD set are nothing if not eclectic, with classic rock offerings such as Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" and Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way" sitting snugly alongside the urgent new wave of The Jam's "Down in the Tube Station At Midnight" and a string of easy on the ear reggae hits from the likes of Bob and Marcia, Nicky Thomas and The Pioneers to name but a few.

Beans on Toast, "A Bird in the Hand" (Self Released)- Beans on Toast is the typically down to earth alter ego of alternative folk balladeer Jay McAllister, whose tenth studio album serves up more of the thought provoking musings on the human condition which have become his trademark. His recent experience of fatherhood has given McAllister an interesting new perspective of life which is reflected in heart-warming tracks such as "Magic," "Another Year" and "Here At Homerton Hospital," his touching tribute to the staff at the East London institution where his daughter was born.