Van Morrison

"It’s Too Late To Stop Now…Volumes II, III, IV & DVD"

(Sony); (Soul/Blues)

By ​Phil ​Bennett

A flawless collection of jazz/blues/soul/country songs, this revisit of Van Morrison’s stunning, exuberant 1973 tour, features additional unreleased titles from LA, Santa Monica, and London, making for a wonderful roundup of stellar performances from one of his golden periods.

With these performances, Van Morrison gives licence to the principle of voice as instrument, not just as purveyor of words and melody. On these songs, it conducts, deconstructs, reconstructs, and metamorphoses the individual elements of structure, harmony and dissonance into an aural experience that moves, uplifts and brings nothing short of wonder to the ears.

And this is something that his sleek, primed choice of musicians, the Caledonian Soul Orchestra, understand completely and are perfectly in tune with.

With smooth solos, complex cascades of notes and prowling sensuous rhythms, it really feels like the musicians are here to serve the song and their specific individual performances, allowing them to change personalities and directions as moods permit and whims carry.

There is no studio trickery here, just a cleaning up of sound to give deeper clarity, and the performances are simply the magic created by like minded souls possessed with buckets of talent and a telepathic understanding of each other’s expression.

Van and his band intertwine like dancers, trees in the wind, sails on a rig, as they roll, push and pull together. But it’s Van Morrison himself who more often than not takes the lead, who points the compass, rolls the dice, spins the bottle.

From the freewheeling Caravan to the joyful Domino, the filigreed Cypress Avenue, the volcanic Snow In San Alsemo and the sublimely purring I Just Want to Make Love To You, the highlights are endless.

Like a postcard from Paradise, these discs capture a singular talent at the peak of his powers in a series of snapshots of a glorious place and time.

Astonishingly good.

​Phil ​Bennett

Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.