Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Two Van Reissues Hit October 30


Van Morrison's early years at Warner Bros. Records were first revisited in 2013 with the epic deluxe edition of Moondance packed with unreleased studio outtakes. Now the bookends to that classic album, Morrison's legendary 1968 label debut Astral Weeks and and 1970's His Band and Street Choir are also to be expanded and remastered. The single disc reissues will be released on October 30. In addition to remastered audio, each album also features previously unreleased versions of several album tracks.

Astral Weeks failed to make the charts when it was released in the fall of 1968, but 47 years later, the album has achieved a near-mythic status across generations of listeners. The album’s singular fusion of folk, jazz, soul, blues and beyond has earned Astral Weeks its status as an ahead-of-its-time classic.  "Any best-of list is unthinkable - and worthless - without it," writes Cory Frye in the album's liner notes.

The reissued Astral Weeks includes 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 emphasises the vibraphone.

Following Moondance's breakthrough success early in 1970, His Band And The Street Choir arrived in November 1970. While Astral Weeks and Moondance contemplate the cosmos and love's rich conundrums, Street Choir resonates with a purposefully loose ebullience on songs like the Top Ten hit Domino, Blue Money, and Call Me Up In Dreamland.

His Band and the Street Choir features some of his most loose and fresh songs. The remastered version 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.

ASTRAL WEEKS

1. "Astral Weeks"
2. "Beside You"
3. "Sweet Thing"
4. "Cyprus Avenue"
5. "The Way Young Lovers Do"
6. "Madame George"
7. "Ballerina"
8. "Slim Slow Slider"
Bonus Tracks - Previously Unreleased
9. "Beside You" (Take 1)
10. "Madame George" (Take 4)
11. "Ballerina" (Long Version)
12. "Slim Slow Slider" (Long Version)

HIS BAND AND THE STREET CHOIR

1. "Domino"
2. "Crazy Face"
3. "Give Me A Kiss"
4. "I've Been Working"
5. "Call Me Up In Dreamland"
6. "I'll Be Your Lover, Too"
7. "Blue Money"
8. "Virgo Clowns"
9. "Gypsy Queen"
10. "Sweet Jannie"
11. "If I Ever Needed Someone"
12. "Street Choir"
Bonus Tracks - Previously Unreleased
13. "Call Me Up In Dreamland" (Take 10)
14. "Give Me A Kiss" (Take 3)
15. "Gypsy Queen" (Take 3)
16. "I've Been Working" (Alternate Version)

17. "I'll Be Your Lover, Too" (Alternate Version)

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