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Customer Discussions > Moondance forum

Just where is the re-mastered version of this, "Astral Weeks" and "His Band"?

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 22, 2007 12:00:36 PM PDT
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.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 20, 2008 8:37:59 AM PDT
Yes, I totaly agree! This music is indispensable and should be treated as such. I will wait patiently until that day comes.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2008 1:54:07 PM PDT
Thank you. Since I posted this, just in the past month actually all the albums 1971-2003 (the ones in Ploydor's hands) are being remastered AGAIN and the three I mentioned are still lingering in Warner's hands on these ancient CDs...

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 3:07:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 2, 2009 3:09:48 PM PDT
Musicologo says:
Even for the sake of this memorable recordings, the label doesn't seem to care for new younger people that is discovering these gems, it seems a complete stupidity and ignorance, they would revitalize the catalog by remastering-reissuing this magnificent albums in all their original glory, even me who proclaim myself new Van fan, would buy them in a sweep, and that's something coming from a guy who was born the same year when Moondance was released for the first time.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 11:55:36 AM PDT
An excellent eloquent review which correctly points out the laziness and lack of respect that Warner's has for decades shown for these 3 astonishing recordings. The amazing difference one can hear immediately on the Polydor remasters should shame Warners into applying the available technology to these classic albums ; but so far , no dice . Shame on you , WBR. As a relatively short timer on this planet , I hope they'll correct this error immediately . Thank you for having the guts to point this out . Well done , and all the best to you .

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2012 7:57:37 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 29, 2012 7:58:25 AM PST
Skins1950 says:
You are right on target Parrot Monkey. I am also a Van Fan and one of those who still has the original Vinyl and I could not agree more with your statement about the poorly engineered CD version that Warner has been distributing for decades now.
As all three original recordings are universally recognized as being the best of "whatever" era is being documented so it boggles the mind that these three have never been remastered.
I recall when DVD Audio was out and about and there was talk of Moondance being released in this format. I held my breath but eventually that dream died with the demise of DVD Audio.
Not only should these three albums be released as remastered to today's standards but a "Deluxe" release of all three I'm sure would sell enough to make money for Warner.
Whatever the reason for these three albums still being issued in the deplorable condition that they are in it is not a good enough excuse for me.
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Discussion in:  Moondance forum
Participants:  5
Total posts:  6
Initial post:  Aug 22, 2007
Latest post:  Dec 29, 2012

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Moondance by Van Morrison (Audio CD - 1990)
4.8 out of 5 stars (476)