There's even more coming from Van Morrison!
Following up on 2013's multi-disc deluxe edition of the Northern Irish soul man's 1970 classic Moondance and on the heels of Legacy Recordings' announcement earlier this week that the Sony imprint has acquired the majority of Morrison's post-1971 catalogue, Rhino has just announced two new deluxe editions drawn from Morrison's seminal early Warner Bros. discography. Both 1968's label debut Astral Weeks and 1970's jubilant His Band and the Street Choir will get remastered and expanded editions on October 30.
Astral Weeks failed to dent the charts when it was released in the fall of 1968, but the hypnotic song cycle's singular fusion of folk, jazz, soul, blues and beyond has earned Astral Weeks its status as an ahead-of-its-time classic. The upcoming deluxe edition presents four previously unreleased recordings offering a fly-on-the-wall view of the interplay between Morrison and the quartet that joined him in the studio: bassist Richard Davis, guitarist Jay Berliner, percussionist Warren Smith, Jr., and Modern Jazz Quartet drummer Connie Kay. These bonus tracks include the first take of "Beside You," extended versions of "Slim Slow Slider" and "Ballerina," and a stripped-back alternate take of "Madame George" that emphasizes the vibraphone.
Morrison, of course, followed up the mystical Astral Weeks with the much more commercial Moondance. How to follow Moondance? He returned a few months later in 1970 with His Band and the Street Choir, featuring some of his most loose and fresh songs like the hit "Domino" and "Blue Money." This remastered version of the album is expanded with five previously unreleased bonus tracks, including an early, raw take of "Give Me a Kiss" without piano, horns or backing vocals. Morrison's falsetto shines on Take 3 of "Gypsy Queen," while the alternate version of "I've Been Working" ratchets up the funk quotient. Take 10 of "Call Me Up in Dreamland" and an alternate of "I'll Be Your Lover Too" round out the reissue.
Both single-disc titles are due from Warner Bros. Records and Rhino on October 30 at which time they will also be available digitally. Pre-order links are not yet active, but watch this space!
Van Morrison, Astral Weeks (Warner Bros. WS 1768, 1968 - reissued Rhino, 2015) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
- "Astral Weeks"
- "Beside You"
- "Sweet Thing"
- "Cyprus Avenue"
- "The Way Young Lovers Do"
- "Madame George"
- "Slim Slow Slider"
- "Beside You" (Take 1)
- "Madame George" (Take 4)
- "Ballerina" (Long Version)
- "Slim Slow Slider" (Long Version)
Tracks 9-12 are previously unreleased.
Van Morrison, His Band and the Street Choir (Warner Bros. WS 1884, 1970 - reissued Rhino, 2015) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
- "Crazy Face"
- "Give Me a Kiss"
- "I've Been Working"
- "Call Me Up In Dreamland"
- "I'll Be Your Lover, Too"
- "Blue Money"
- "Virgo Clowns"
- "Gypsy Queen"
- "Sweet Jannie"
- "If I Ever Needed Someone"
- "Street Choir"
- "Call Me Up In Dreamland" (Take 10)
- "Give Me a Kiss" (Take 3)
- "Gypsy Queen" (Take 3)
- "I've Been Working" (Alternate Version)
- "I'll Be Your Lover, Too" (Alternate Version)
Tracks 13-17 are previously unreleased.
Jim Regan (@Jbones72) says
Van will probably throw a fit when he see's this! Still no Tupelo Honey release though? Strange but I'm happy between I'll finally be able to get all the remastered VM titles that I've wanted for years.
Mark B. Hanson says
Yeah. Tupelo Honey seems a bit of an orphan in all this. It didn't even get a Japanese remaster like the other three WB releases did.
Kalle Oldby says
Tupelo Honey did in fact get a remastering and an SHM-treatment in the land of the rising sun! 2009 was the year. I have the Mini-LP. It was the same year that Van decided to pull the plug on the upcoming remasters. This was during his Polygram period.
Let's hope the new deal can fullfill our hopes of Van Morrison's wonderful catalogue being reissued. I'm not wild about extra tracks, I just want the real albums...
Magnus Hägermyr says
Looking forward to the improvment soundwise compare to my old vinyl of "Astral Weeks". Could be astounding!
L. B. Garcia says
Finally! An American remastering & re-release of one of rock's greatest albums. I'm a little hesitant, though, because the American remaster of _Moondance_ is far inferior to the Japanese remaster. I had had the Japanese release first, several years ago, and it blew me away. I bought the expanded American release of _Moondance_ recently only because of the second disc of alternate takes, and I was very disappointed that it didn't compare with the import. Now, it is perhaps better than any previous version in the ears of those who haven't heard the Japanese version (which is worth the extra $10 or $15). Will I buy the upcoming _Astral Weeks_? Probably, hoping it's somewhere in the ballpark with the Japanese remaster (which I cherish). I'm interested, too, in the bonus tracks, but I already have several from bootleg sources.
I think the Japanese version of _His Band & the Street Choir_ is wonderful, too, yet I'll likely go for this upcoming release, as well.
It's all good.
Tinkering with "Astral Weeks" is like painting an eye-patch on the Mona Lisa! The lads not going to like this.
Mark B. Hanson says
Of course he won't. But the original tracks are intact - there's just more to listen to after.
And it's another excuse to sell this to those of us who already own one.