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Astral Weeks [CD]

Van MorrisonAudio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (345 customer reviews)

Price: $10.69 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 8 Songs, 1968 $9.49  
Audio CD, CD, 1990 $10.69  
Vinyl, 2008 $39.99  
Audio Cassette, 1990 --  

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The subtitle of Van Morrison's new album, Born to Sing: No Plan B, indicates the power that music still holds for this living legend. "No Plan B means this is not a rehearsal," says Morrison. "That’s the main thing—it’s not a hobby, it’s real, happening now, in real time."

This sense of absolute conviction, which has ... Read more in Amazon's Van Morrison Store

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Astral Weeks + Moondance [Vinyl]
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Original Release Date: 1968
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Warner Off Roster
  • ASIN: B000002KAT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (345 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,063 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Possibly the most profound "rock" album ever, with Van sounding like some Celtic bard over the jazzy accompaniment of bassist Richard Davis and MJQ drummer Connie Kay. Utterly unique.

Never mind that Van Morrison is one of the most indelible songwriters of the 20th century--take each album on its own terms. On 1968's seminal Astral Weeks, a twentysomething Van Morrison can be found belting his gospelly, bluesy vocals in just as fine a form as he would be 20 years hence. In the sociopolitical context of the times, the album cried out about such ubiquitous '60s themes as cultural oppression and social upheaval. But it is Morrison's vocal dexterity and passion that maintains such timeless appeal. Take tracks like "Madame George" or "Cyprus Avenue" and you'll find such beautiful mourning, it'll be clear why modern songwriter Sinéad O'Connor once publicly exclaimed: "Van Morrison should be friggin' canonized." --Nick Heil

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
272 of 286 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Childlike Visions Leaping Into View December 5, 2001
Format:Audio CD
This is probably my favorite album of all time. I've listened to it countless times, and it never gets old. Those other reviewers who don't "get it" make a few valid points:
1) It isn't perfectly played.
2) The songs aren't polished.
3) It isn't Van's strongest collection of songs.
First of all, it isn't necessary for great music to be note-perfect. ASTRAL WEEKS is about the magic of improvisation-- the suspended thrill of playing (and listening) on the cusp of discovery. In that way, the album is a perfect marriage of music and lyrics, as Van bends and twists the language in an effort to TRANSCEND the earthly significance of his words, to conjure a piece of heaven out of the frustration and pain that wracks his existence. Like Ray Charles did 15 years prior, Van fuses gospel and blues, the sacred and the profane.
For those of you hear only hippy-dippy (...), you're obviously missing the unbearable heartache that haunts these songs. Cypress Avenue deals with unrequited, perhaps forbidden love. Madame George captures the mixture of joy and sadness that comes with lost innocence, getting on "the train" that takes one away from a place of safety and comfort. Ballerina is a burst of effusive passion, but the object of the singer's affection is separate from him, a spectral fantasy that he can only gaze on with paralyzed amazement. Thank god these rough gems weren't polished for radio consumption-- their unique, spontaneous quality would have been ruined.
I concede that this isn't Van's strongest collection of songs, but it's hard to think of these tracks as "songs" in the conventional sense-- impressionistic sketches, maybe, but they hardly lose any artistic merit because of that.
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67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My desert island disc October 2, 1998
Format:Audio CD
This album has repeatedly turned up in the top ten of lists of the greatest albums ever recorded, and deservedly so. It can be listened to on so many levels. Sometimes I will listen to it while concentrating on the lyrics. Another time, I will focus on Van's phrasing. Another time on Richard Davis's inconceivably great bass playing (this is arguably the greatest performance on bass on any album ever recorded for a rock audience, even if the bass player was a jazz musician). This is an album that simply reeks of genius. Simply put: a masterpiece.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Deal January 1, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This Japanese import is the REMASTERED Astral Weeks; FAR SUPERIOR to the domestic Warner Bros. version available to consumers in the U.S. Why Warner Bros. has failed to remaster Astral Weeks for the U.S. market can only be wondered at; aren't we U.S. consumers just as deserving as our Japanese counterparts of superior quality product? It is shameful and a blatant attempt at parting you of your hard-earned cash for a shoddily-produced product because the record companies know they can get away with it. It sucks that I have to buy this CD at import prices to get a decent digital transfer of a genuine masterpiece. My recommendation; suck it up and buy this import if you TRULY LOVE this record, and are tired of waiting for Warner Bros. (U.S.) to get of their asses and do the right thing; after all, they remastered virtually all of Van's other albums--even the crappy ones. Sounds amazing!
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This album blows me away March 9, 2005
Format:Audio CD
This album is absolutely phenomenal. This is one of the most personal, beautiful artistic statements I can think of. It is like a diary, but better, because the music adds color and depth that no words can describe. It is rare when the music compliments the singer so well... it is as if the musicians are from the same vein, the same heart. This cd is perfect, beginning to end; musically and lyrically. Van Morrison will show you his lowest low and ever so sweetly, he will take you away to a place that is timeless, a place so wonderful it will make you want to weep... because you know that at some point it will have to end. And what a sad ending it is to this miraculous cd. But you can always press repeat. :)
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In another world, In another time May 3, 2010
By mr x
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
As with many remasters, I didn't know how good it could sound until I heard how good it sounded. The first thing I noticed was how much clearer the famous
bass playing was. The bass/guitars/vocal give a you-are-there space and presence, as opposed to the murkier mix of the previous release. I have no idea how Van and the band achieved the mind meld playing on these songs but as everyone knows, the results are poetic, magical, majestic, transcendent and sui generis in this or any past release.

Should you buy the import or hold out for a US release? I've waited 20 years for this and I am not holding my breath, but perhaps you can fathom record company logic and scheduling more than I. Next week it could be on the shelves and you could get it for $10. Or it could appear in 5 years. Or never. But if you think this is one of the greatest albums ever and have the coin, this is well worth it.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This album is pure magic March 10, 1999
By Casca
Format:Audio CD
Van the man fans don't have to be told this is a fabulous album.Somehow he reached a level of transcendence with this album rare to find with any artist.He was able to capture those magic moments we sometimes have which illuminate the everyday with timeless wonder.I can't be sure as to what he means in some of the songs, but this doesn't matter, it's the overall mood he creates that is the essence of this album.In the "Astral Weeks" album above others, and in songs like "Autumn Song" from Hard Nose the Highway, he creates what poet Robert Bly has called the Van Morrison mood (in "The Sibling Society").Those are the mellow, magical moods which linger in the recesses of memory and remind us of our days of glory and the "visionary gleam"(Wordsworth).Van has never sung better than he does here.Some top jazz musicians help make the music very special.Words and music blend so well together into one seamless whole. This is not only my favourite Van album,but my all-time favourite album.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Nothing more to add
Published 1 month ago by Russ Keller
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Music
Love Van M's music. This is one of his earlier works.
Published 1 month ago by B. Mitch
5.0 out of 5 stars classic
Van Morrison as the troubadour he is!
Published 2 months ago by cm
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good stuff
Published 2 months ago by bmclellan2
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Part of the desert island collection, a must have!!!
Published 3 months ago by Fabfivefreddy74
5.0 out of 5 stars Van Morrison at his best
Long time fans of Morrison will acknowledge this album as one of his finest. One listen will have you hooked on these folksy bluesy tunes. A true masterpiece.
Published 4 months ago by forbiddenapple
5.0 out of 5 stars Best album....EVER!!!
What's to say about a masterpiece that came together with equal parts passion, rudeness, virtuosity, organized crime, jazz session guys getting a check for playing a few days'... Read more
Published 4 months ago by jpf139
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless
I really liked Van Morrison when I was a teen (same time as this album was released). Forgot about him for decades and bought this on a whim this year. What a gem. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Hurricane
4.0 out of 5 stars good album
I wanted an early album and chose this one. It's nice background music. The one star less just reflects my own preference for his more soulful work.
Published 6 months ago by L. Yund
2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of his better albums in my opinion
Thought I would add this to my Van Morrison collection since I did not have it. Many great reviews on this but I could have done without it.
Published 7 months ago by Badbri
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for a stunning review of Astral Weeks vinyl re-issue on December 23rd 2008...if the LP is anything close to the review, it is one beautiful sounding album.

Gary Thomas
Jan 17, 2009 by Gary D. Thomas |  See all 2 posts
Most influential for jazz?......Miles or Satchmo?
Go listen to West End Blues and your answer will be evident. Pops.
Mar 31, 2010 by Big E |  See all 4 posts
Remaster some time next year?
According to his website the are re-releasing everything from Tupelo Honey (1971) through Down the Road (2002) with extra tracks. Looks like this one is scheduled to get the extra tracks or remastering.
Dec 28, 2007 by Laura M. Maurer |  See all 6 posts
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