Ivan George “Van” Morrison is undoubtedly Ireland’s greatest ever musical export. Morrison has six decades of musical experience under his belt, and has won six Grammy’s over his long career. Morrison is without peer when it comes to holding an audience in the palm of his hands, and for many, Morrison is simply known as “Van the Man.” Morrison is perhaps best known among the casual music fan for the hit single “Brown Eyed Girl,” but his groundbreaking 1968 album, Astral Weeks, is to be found close to the top of any list of the greatest albums ever released.
Morrison was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but his musical influences are drawn chiefly from American Blues, Soul, and Gospel music. During the early 1970s, Morrison was plying his trade in the U.S. and it was during this period that Van released what many regard as the best live album ever released. It’s Too Late To Stop Now was released in 1973, and the track listing showcases Morrison at what many believe to be Van’s most creative period.
Robert Christgau, a critic known for his terse reviews, gave the album an “A” rating and noted Van’s homage to the great’s of Blues music.
“Morrison documents his debt to blues and r&b definitively, you can hear Bobby Bland all over the record, and cover tributes are paid as well to Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, and Sam Cooke.”
Rolling Stone notes that “through the album Morrison’s energy never flags.” In recent years Morrison has treated fans to remastered editions of his classic albums and now Rolling Stone reports that Van fans are to be treated to an extended revisiting of this classic live album.
A repackaged release will run to three volumes and will include a DVD of a classic Morrison concert at London’s famous Rainbow Theatre. Many of the tracks that did not make it onto the final cut of the original album will earn their first official release. Most of the material will be familiar to hardcore Morrison fans, as they have been circulated as bootleg recordings for many years. That will not stop Van fans scrambling to get their hands on pristine new recordings from a golden period in Morrison’s career.
Whoa, a bunch more of Van Morrison's It's Too Late To Stop Now (plus concert film!) forthcoming: https://t.co/ripVO27EV9— Tyler Wilcox (@tywilc) April 25, 2016
According to PR Newswire, Legacy Recordings, in association with Morrison’s Exile Productions, will release the remastered album on June 10, 2016. The material was recorded across eight Van Morrison concerts chiefly at the Troubadour in Los Angeles and the Santa Monica Civic Center in California.
Legacy Recordings announced that Van’s original album has been remastered in 24-bit high-resolution sound and will be available in both 2CD and 2LP configurations, creating the first vinyl pressing of the album in more than 25 years. The extended box set extends to a further three volumes of unreleased live Van Morrison recordings.
“[The release] returns to those original performances, first captured on two-inch 16-track analog tapes, and, through the mastery of noted engineer Guy Massey, puts the contemporary listener in the enviable position of being sonically present at each venue. All of the recordings on the new collection have been previously unavailable and none of them overlap with the performances on [the original album].”
The Belfast Telegraph recently reported that Morrison’s long career has earned him a vast fortune. Van’s bank balance is estimated at over $72 million. Morrison was also knighted by Queen Elizabeth earlier this year for his services to music as well as his charitable efforts in his home country.
Morrison celebrated his 70th birthday last August and is still fit enough to perform around the world though these days Van prefers to perform in smaller venues. Morrison will be returning to California in October this year for a series of live shows, until then Van fans in the U.S. will have to content themselves with a new and extended version of It’s Too Late To Stop Now.
[Photo by KGC-138/STAR MAX/IPx/AP]