VAN MORRISON: Moondance (Deluxe Edition 4 CDs/1 Blu-Ray Box)

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Moondance (Deluxe Edition 4 CDs/1 Blu-Ray Box)We are told:

Warner Bros. Records celebrate Van Morrison’s classic 1970 album in 1-CD, 2-CD and 4-CD/1-BD configurations.  The latter expanded versions comprehensively explore the album’s sessions via outtakes, alternate takes and previously unheard mixes.

Following one 1967 album for Bert Berns’ Bang Records, Van Morrison made his debut at the famous Burbank label in 1968 with Astral Weeks.  It was a creation like no other, and not even Morrison’s most ardent fan at the time could have predicted its heady blend of rock, jazz, folk and classical styles into one opus juxtaposing the spiritual and the earthbound.  But the Irish troubadour couldn’t stay in one musical bag for too long a period of time.  1970’s Moondance was every bit as light as Astral Weeks was dark, and every bit as accessible as Astral Weeks was esoteric.

In the years since its release, the soulful, jazzy title track of Moondance has become a modern standard, recorded by artists including Michael Bublé and Nancy Wilson and even featuring as the curtain call to Susan Stroman’s Tony Award-winning dance musical Contact.  Strangely, “Moondance” wasn’t released as a single until 1977 (!) when it barely eked into the Hot 100, but that’s hardly deterred its consistent radio airplay and frequent use in films and television.

“Come Running,” the original selection for a single, did manage to crack the Top 40 while the album itself notched a respectable No. 39 chart placement.  “Crazy Love” has also received its share of cover versions over the years while “Into the Mystic” could be Morrison’s ultimate statement.  His ode to the power of radio, “Caravan,” is no less powerful, while album opener “And It Stoned Me” is a fan favorite to this day.

Moondance will be available as a single remastered disc for those simply desiring a sonically upgraded version of the original album, and as a 2-CD set with a second disc containing eleven additional tracks drawn from across the box set’s three bonus discs.  (A mono mix of “Crazy Love” is listed among the 2-CD edition’s tracks, and the box set’s lone “Crazy Love” remix isn’t specified as mono or stereo.  We hope to find out whether the mono track is exclusive to the 2-CD version.)   A 4-CD/1-BD version will add three full discs of bonus tracks to the original album as well as a Blu-ray Audio disc with the original album in 48/24 PCM stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound mixed by Grammy-winning surround guru Elliot Scheiner.

All told, the 5-disc version adds 50 unreleased tracks drawn from the Moondance sessions, including numerous alternate takes of “Moondance,” “Into the Mystic,” “Brand New Day,” “Caravan” and “Come Running,” and alternate mixes of “Crazy Love,” “Glad Tidings,” “These Dreams of You” and “Caravan.”  The outtake “I Shall Sing,” familiar from recordings by artists such as Art Garfunkel, is also featured in the box set via multiple takes of the song and a completed master.  “I’ve Been Working,” subsequently released on His Band and Street Choir, is present in its original Moondance outtake form, as is Morrison’s rendition of the 1923 blues standard “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.”  The 5-disc version will be housed in a “linen-wrapped folio” and will contain new liner notes from writer Alan White."

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