Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's Too Late To Stop Now

It was during the boiling hot summer of 1976 that I first heard it. Punk was about to happen, but this album, showed me something really different. Before that, Van Morrison had been, in my perception, some American type singer..songwriter; long hair, jeans, country rock kinda thing. No thank you very much sir, not my cup of tea. Then I heard Astral Weeks. What was it? I couldn't understand it, it sounded bizarre and tuneless at first, as if he was making it up as he was going along...

The long term effect it had on me, is something else entirely. That, and one of his other great works of genius; Its Too Late To Stop Now, brought my understanding of what music could be and mean, to another level. They showed me some of what was possible with music. Those records expanded the boundaries. I related to the pain and I'd never heard music that touched me so deeply. I hadn't known that music could express and mean so much, and be so serious. The seriousness suited me, that's how I felt. People were always telling me to cheer up.

I hadn't known that music could take me beyond where Rock N Roll, straight Soul, Bob Dylan and even the great Roxy Music had {which was a pretty good place anyway} took me. This was more than Rock N Roll, this was something else. It was genius. That word is used a lot, im not talking about the kind of genius that writes loads of songs or plays loads of instruments, though Van does do those things, im talking about the kind of genius that goes to musical places where others don't and where it must be said, quite a few people maybe don't even know exists! Some people listen to Its Too Late To Stop Now and say "yeah, its nice". Nice isnt a word that describes it for me. Its a mystery to me that others dont hear what i hear in it, but then maybe they get from some other record, what i get from Astral Weeks and Its Too Late To Stop Now.

Kevin Rowland

Rowland gave former Dexys bandmate Al Archer royalties for coming up with the raggle-taggle Celtic soul-folk idea which he appropriated for Dexys' second incarnation on the Too-Rye-Ay album (Archer developed the idea quite brilliantly, although less commercially successfully, with The Blue Ox Babes), but the real debt is to Van Morrison.

There's a few lines from a song
Sounded sad upon the radio, broke a million hearts in mono
Made our mothers cry
Sang along, who’ll blame them

that sum up the feeling of shared emotions and intense passions generated by Van in 1974.

It's Too Late To Stop Now is one of 29 Van Morrison albums to be remastered and reissued (with - of course - bonus material) on CD over the next two years.

To start the reissue programme, seven albums will be released on 28 January:
Tupelo Honey
It’s Too Late To Stop Now
Into The Music
A Sense Of Wonder
Avalon Sunset
Back On Top


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Anonymous said...

I know EXACTLY how you feel about this album + Astral Weeks album.
The Astral Weeks album remains my all time favorite album. And I just love this live album also. They are just perfect and everything you said I agree with.