Two years ago this November I posted a review of this CD. When I say "this CD", I strictly mean this Compact Disc release itself, not the album of 10 songs contained within or nothing in terms of Morrison's efforts here, which has been summed up well by many in the pages of reviews. "Moondance" is a masterpiece as a cohesive Long Player as well as the songs doing well on their own merits. We all know this.
My 2-star review basically made clear in the title that the rating had nothing to do with the material, which is 5 stars in my book (and many, many others) and the actual rating featured in the review would have reflected that if it wasn't for this poor, poor release that Morrison's work has been presented on for at least 21 years!
It couldn't be any more obvious that this was a rushed CD release, along with its preceding album (in terms of original releases) "Astral Weeks" (another classic) and the disc that followed, "His Band and the Street Choir" (also among Morrison's best and contains many well known numbers). The volume is low, the sound is muddy and the tape hiss level is seriously too high for something on a digital medium. I fail to see how even the most casual fans who have lower-average end systems and/or don't usually listen at loud volumes don't notice this!
As I mentioned in my review, you can immediately see the lack of care that went into this release without even listening to the disc! The text "van morrison" on the cover is supposed to be in orange, with just "moondance" in black, as per the original vinyl cover. Search for some vinyl copies on eBay if you're not familiar. Those familiar with the album in its original format will also know it was a gatefold jacket, and when opened up featured a fable by Morrison's wife at the time, Janet. Also, four black and white photographs of Van and Janet accompanied the literature. Is it in the CD booklet? Nope. Instead there's just b/w repeats of the similar photos of Morrison on the front cover. Why? It's the same story with "His Band's" packaging. The original pressing had no text whatsoever on the cover, and inside the gatefold of that album is a collection of color photographs taken place at a gathering that happened around the time of the recording. Only about half of those appear in the "His Band" CD booklet, and the ones that are there are in black and white! Oh yeah, the sound quality on the disc is just as below standard as "Moondance".
The root of this problem is that Van's first three post-Bang (his first record label) records are owned by Warner, with the rest (at least up into the 90s) in the hands of Polydor. Polydor, in 1997-98 reissued and remastered all the Morrison albums up to the Chieftains collaboration "Irish Heartbeat" of 1988. Each disc, to my ears sounds just fine (although technology today could make them even better probably, but I'm satisfied!).
So in summary, the re-mastering/reissuing of Van Morrison's three early classics "Astral Weeks", "Moondance", and "His Band and the Street Choir" is long overdue and boggles me how it hasn't happened yet.
Something I happened to notice that happened in two years is that my review gained a rating of "8 of 17 people found the following review helpful"...
To go along with that, it seems that on this review pages if anyone mentions the technicalities of the recording, including the needs of a re-master, their review gets blasted with unhelpful votes, with mine getting it the worst. In fact, it seems the reviews (at least the ones I've read) have to pretty much go on that "Moondance" is the best thing since the invention of the toaster oven, or otherwise...
This many unhelpful votes shows some ignorance on this matter, as I firmly believe I included a lot of well researched information (most if it not mentioned before at all, on Amazon or elsewhere) to have a completely unhelpful review. If you don't care about these "little" issues, fine, but realize the difference in not caring personally about the issue at hand, as opposed to a poor review.
Anyway, I really hope this long ignored issue is addressed by Warner soon, and I know I'm not alone.