Van Morrison - ...It’s Too Late To Stop Now... Volumes II, III, IV album review

Bumper out-takes from legendary live album.

Van Morrison It’s Too Late To Stop Now... Volumes II, III, IV album cover

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Van Morrison was at a peak in 1973, and the following year’s classic live double-album, …It’s Too Late To Stop Now…, caught it all. Future Dexys leader Kevin Rowland was among those taking notes on his Caledonia Soul Revue band’s suggestion of a bold new Celtic vision, transmuting the Belfast Cowboy’s American influences into something fully his own.

Now here are three CDs and a DVD from the remaining tapes of that summer’s gigs. A moodily atmospheric Snow In San Anselmo from the then-new Hard Nose The Highway and an unlikely, showstopping version of that album’s Kermit the Frog cover Bein’ Green are added to the setlist. Meanwhile, a swift, swinging remodelling of Here Comes The Night shows the distance travelled from Them’s hard, thuggish R&B. His boss aside, guitarist John Platania is the star player, squeezing out taut, stinging solos.

The really exciting addition is the DVD of the BBC broadcast of the July 24 Rainbow show. Morrison was famously loathed by some later bands for his testy, unpredictable perfectionism. There’s none of that here: just deep pleasure and fun coursing through the musicians as they watch, grinning, for the singer’s next move, saxophonist Jack Schroer actually jumping on the spot in anticipation. Morrison is stuffed into his clothes, not exactly lithe, but he moves with bullish freedom. Visuals apart, these are more doses of the original album’s medicine. So if you think you can’t have too much of a good thing…

Nick Hasted

Nick Hasted writes about film, music, books and comics for Classic Rock, The Independent, Uncut, Jazzwise and The Arts Desk. He has published three books: The Dark Story of Eminem (2002), You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks (2011), and Jack White: How He Built An Empire From The Blues (2016).