Van Morrison's 'Astral Weeks' And 'His Band And The Street Choir' With Richard Davis Get Remastered

Morrison's legendary 1968 label debut ASTRAL WEEKS and 1970's HIS BAND AND THE STREET CHOIR, get honored with expanded and remastered versions.
By BP Staff ,

Van Morrison's early years at Warner Bros. Records were revisited in grand form 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 1970's HIS BAND AND THE STREET CHOIR, get honored with expanded and remastered versions.

In addition to remastered audio, each album also features previously unreleased versions of several album tracks. These single-disc expanded and remastered versions will be released on October 30 for a list price of $13.98 each. Both albums will be available digitally as well.

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 who have "ventured in the slipstream" and fallen under the music's spell. "Any best-of list is unthinkable - and worthless - without it," writes Cory Frye in the album's liner notes.

The four unreleased recordings that debut on this deluxe edition highlight 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," the full version of "Slim Slow Slider," and a stripped back version of "Madame George" that emphasizes the vibraphone.

Following Moondance's breakthrough success, 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."

This remastered version of the album is expanded with five unreleased bonus tracks, including an early, raw take of "Give Me Kiss" without piano, horns or backing vocals. Morrison's impressive falsetto gets a workout on Take 3 of "Gypsy Queen," while the band turns up the funk on the greasy alternate version of "I've Been Working" that's featured here. 

ASTRAL WEEKS
Track Listing
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
Track Listing
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)