It Ain't Why, It Just Is cover
(click on cover image
for larger version)

It Ain't Why, It Just Is
(bootleg CD)

Big Music (BIG 047)
((p) 1993 KTS Records - Italy. Distributed by CD Music Co -- Italy
Via Settembrini 3 - 47046 Misano Adriatico
Phone (39) 541 61 05 56 fax (39) 541 61 38 48
Stereo; Artwork by Poing
Digital Mastering by SBAG)

  1. I've Been Working (4:14)
  2. The Way Young Lovers Do (3:56)
  3. Purple Heather (5:32)
  4. Come Running (2:31)
  5. Sweet Thing (4:44)
  6. Blue Money (3:44)
  7. Green (J. Raposo) (4:08)
  8. Wild Night (4:20)
  9. Caravan (9:19)
  10. Cypress Avenue (9:54)
    -- Bonus Tracks --
  11. It's not the Twilight Zone (6:31)
  12. Foggy Mountain Top (4:40)
  13. Heathrow Shuffle (3:06)
  14. Naked in the Jungle (5:59)
    Total time: (72:49)

Packaging claims "Recorded live at the L.A. Troubadour, USA May 26, 1973
Bonus Tracks live in USA 1974". But Van list member Scott Evans feels it is more likely that tracks 1 - 9 are from the It's Too Late To Stop Now acetates (with tracks 1, 8 and 9 having been released on the album), and that tracks 11 - 14 were recorded at Montreux in 1974.

Violins: Nathan Rubin, Tom Helpin
Cello: Terry Adams
Viola: Nancy Ellis
Piano: Jeff Labes
Trumpet: Bill Atwood
Saxaphone: Jack Schroer
Guitar: John Platania
Bass: David Hayes
Drums: David Shaw

Some, but not all of the L.A. material is available on It's Never Too Late (which is another repackaging of what is known as "the It's Too Late To Stop Now acetates").

Review by Joe Sonne:
The sound quality is excellent - especially when you consider this is a recording from 1973. The stereo effect is very distinct and the audience sound is way in the background and noticeable only when there is applause which leads me to believe this one came through the sound board.

The performance is very upbeat and the band is tight, with great piano and guitar playing. The songs are performed, for the most part, closely to the studio versions. Not until the 10th cut, "Cypress Avenue", does Van embellish with playful give and take with the band. Van gives a spirited and intense effort on every song. HeÕs way out there with an unusual "It's Not The Twilight Zone" (hard to believe this is Van singing).

If you like the songs featured in the song list here, you wonÕt be disappointed at all. A very enjoyable performance by Van with a solid band backing on a well produced CD.

Review by Russell Parkinson:
The sound on It Aint Why, It Just Is is excellent stereo sound with occasional pops and scratches (just like those old LPs you use to have...)

While the CD cover says this is recorded in LA at the Troubadour I believe it is in fact recorded at the same locations as Its Too Late To Stop Now. Certainly the tracks do not sound as though they were recorded at the same show. The bonus tracks were recorded at Montreux in 1974 not in USA as shown on the cover.

From what I have read Its Too Late To Stop Now was originally planned to be a triple album and ended up a double. There were some early (test?) pressings as a triple and that's where these songs come from. This explains the pops and crackles. Two of the tracks are simply unedited versions of songs from Its Too Late To Stop Now. "I've Been Working" has about 10 seconds reinstated and while you can hear where it is, it doesn't really make a lot of difference. The sound quality is the same as the first official release unless you have the remastered set which is much better. "Caravan" has 3 seconds reinstated but I can't find it.

"Cypress Avenue" is an alternative recording to that on the official ITLTSN. While being slightly different to the official version there is nothing new or outstan ding in it that rates special attention. Except for the completest these three tracks are no gr eat addition to the Van fans library. The other seven tracks, plus four bonus tracks, are.

Two tracks feature from Astral Weeks that aren't on ITLTSN. "The Way Young Lovers Do" is a wonderful jazzy version with great strings from the Caledonia Soul Orchestra. "Sweet Thing" is even better. The version of "Sweet Thing" from Montreux in 1990 is generally considered the best version of this song on tape but this version come close. Very close. Where the Montreux version is slow with a lot of flute, this one rocks with great br ass and fine guitar. Van grunts and pushes the song along. He improvises lyrics and almost chan ges it from a song of love to a song of lust. This track alone makes the price of admission worthwhile.

"Come Running" from the Moondance album is a gas. Gone is the extended jamming of the Filmore set and what we have is a straight up song played flat out. It's a lot of fun. "Blue Money" from Street Choir is still a minor song but you won't hear a better version of it than this. "Wild Night" is played pretty straight. It doesn't have as much oomph as the Pacific High version, but at this stage of his career Van couldn't play anything poorly and this is no exception.

Two tracks from Hardnose the Highway also feature and both are a vast improvement on the original album recordings. "Purple Heather" sounds just lovely. Strings and Van's voice blending together perfectly. "Green" changes from a Muppet song to a great soul ballad. Van really gets into this song and gives it everything. One of the standouts on this CD.

RATING If, like me, you think Its Too Late To Stop Now is the greatest live album made then this boot is essential. If you are not a ITLTSN fan or prefer later van material then this may not be of much interest to you.

Part of the unofficial website