On the news last week, I heard that Circuit City might be closing shop. That reminded me that I had a gift card which had been floating around my wallet for a while. I jumped online and while digging around, can across these two beauties, fully re-masted in 24/96 last year. I was hoping for a 24/96 SACD or DVD-A version, but it was not to be. Also lacking was a 180gm vinyl re-issue. I guess I'll have to wait for those. These releases (Common One and Veedon Fleece), Van's seminal woks from the mid-70's, are true works of art, and a pleasure to listen to. The remaster sounds great, and though the soft ambiance and muted fury of the original vinyl is crisped up a bit, the clarity of the funky bass lines in songs like "Satisfied" are worth it. Each disc has 2 "bonus tracks" on it - A different take of Cul De Sac and Twilight Zone on Veedon Fleece and Two alternate versions of songs on COmmon One. Of these, all are interesting save for Twilight Zone, which is such a killer tune, but the version presented here didn't make the album for a reason. I bought these as my Vinyl copies of both have tragic skips during crucial musical passages, almost runing the experience for me. It's good to have the whole thing in one piece again.
In other Van Morrison news, Rhino Records has re-issued "Astral Weeks", "Moondance", and "His Band and Street Choir" on 180gm vinyl. In addition, he played and recorded a show at the Hollywood Bowl last year where one of the sets was the entire "Astral Weeks" album. It'll be out on the 'Listen to the Lion Records' release Feb 10. It should be real interesting to hear his current take on something he wrote as a young man. Look for it and Astral Weeks to be reviewed here after I order them in a week.