Whetting the appetite for more Van…
Van Morrison – It’s Too Late to Stop Now – Sony /Exile/Legacy 88985323261 – two vinyl LPs (1973/2016) ***1/2:
(Van Morrison – vocals; Jeff Labes – piano and organ; John Platania – guitar; David Hayes – bass; Dahaud Shaar – drums; Jack Schroer – saxophones; Bill Atwood – trumpet; Nathan Rubin, Tim Kovatch, Tom Halpin – violins; Nancy Ellis – viola; Terry Adams – cello)
B01EMP3X20 Recorded in the Summer of 1973 at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Civic Center, and the Rainbow Theater in London, Van Morrison was in the prime of his life (not like he has lost much over the years), and had one of his most potent backing bands, the 11 piece Caledonia Soul Orchestra in tow. The horns were tight, the string backing was professional and Van had already recorded Astral Weeks and Moondance. Eight sets from tour performances were used, recorded on two-inch 16-track analog tapes. There were no overdubs or studio induced “sweeteners” applied.
Legacy Recordings has recently re-released the two LPs in remastered 24 bit hi-res sound (also in 2 CDs) as an enticement for their three volume CD/ single DVD of unreleased material. Volume II has 15 tracks from The Troubadour (5/23/73). Volume III, also 15 tracks, is from the Santa Monica Civic Center (6/29/73). The Rainbow in London provides another 15 tracks on Volume IV from July 23-24, 1973. The companion DVD is from the July 24th concert.
Our review of the original 2 LP set, in remastered sound, finds it to be a welcome re-issue. To hear Van early in his career strut through life long hits like “Into the Mystic,” “Domino,” “Saint Dominic’s Preview,” “Caravan,” and “Gloria” is a joy. The horns roar, the strings inspire, and Van is in high spirits. Early in his career (now spanning over five decades) Van was already repeating vocal lines with a veteran blues man’s passion channeling the gospel church. He manages his band like a drill sergeant, clearly in control.
On “Listen to the Lion,” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You” he freely improvises proving that he does not perform in rote, which makes the issue of the unreleased performances an important treat for his hard core fans. Having Van backed by a crack “orchestra,” in full voice doing interpretations of newer (soon to be classic) tracks demands our full attention. We will look forward to hearing Vols. 2-4 of It’s Too Late to Stop Now in remastered sound.
Record 1/Side 1: Ain’t Nothin’ You Can Do, Warm Love, Into the Mystic, These Dreams of You, I Believe in You
Record 1/Side 2: I’ve Been Working, Help Me, Wild Children, Domino, I Just Want to Make Love to You
Record 2/Side 1: Bring It on Home to Me, Saint Dominic’s Preview, Take Your Hand Out of My Pocket, Listen to the Lion
Record 2/Side 2: Here Comes the Night, Gloria, Caravan, Cyprus Avenue