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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moondance Deluxe Version (4 cd's and blu-ray)
You wouldn't be reading this if you didn't think Moondance was a great album. So instead of reviewing the original music or the alternate takes, I'm going to focus on my perception of the sound quality and mix of the 2013 remastered cd, the 192kHz/24Bit high resolution blu-ray, the Japanese manufactured cd and the original North American cd. I don't have a surround...
Published 14 months ago by Paul Dunphy

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Get Astral Weeks....
Old van the man eh? I'd get this just for And it stoned me which is well worth the price of the CD, but I can't help thinking the rest of the record sounds like a movie soundtrack. I wish he didn't write brown eyed girl because it ruined his artistic stance after it was in that movie with Julia Roberts. Even when I play Astral weeks some jerk has something to say about...
Published on June 25 2000 by Sergio Flametorch


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moondance Deluxe Version (4 cd's and blu-ray), Oct. 26 2013
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You wouldn't be reading this if you didn't think Moondance was a great album. So instead of reviewing the original music or the alternate takes, I'm going to focus on my perception of the sound quality and mix of the 2013 remastered cd, the 192kHz/24Bit high resolution blu-ray, the Japanese manufactured cd and the original North American cd. I don't have a surround processor so I can't comment on the 5.1 mix and I don't have an lp version to comment on either. I bought the Deluxe set specifically to get the high resolution blu-ray, hoping that it would provide the best audio quality.

First things first. The 2013 cd and blu-ray in the Deluxe set are not just a remastering (i.e. cleaner sound, with a little boosting here and there to improve the sound quality of bass and drums, or compression to increase overall volume levels). Both of these are also a remix of the music. This means that the placement of instruments in the soundstage is different, the relative prominence of some instruments/vocals is different and the amount of reverb/echo is different. Depending upon what you value, you may or may not like these changes or more likely, you may have a mixed reaction.

In terms of sound quality, the 192kHz/24Bit blu-ray is excellent. The music is very clean with no hard edges or distortion and instruments sound very realistic. The musical content is well balanced from bass through mid-range to treble. This is the best "audio sound" of any version. This is what I bought the Deluxe version for!

The 2013 cd for some reason sounds very different. The bass is very, very boosted. So much so, that while listening on a good audio system with full range speakers, my attention is drawn to the bass every time. As a result, the bass seems to overwhelm the music in the mid range and treble (acoustic guitars, vocals, cymbals etc). Overall, this makes the music sound muffled. I think the mid range and treble information is there, but the relative volume of bass overwhelms the music in the other ranges. A few other reviewers on here have commented on this and referred to it as sounding like a blanket was thrown over their speakers. This impression is exacerbated by the new mix which also reduces the prominence of horns and acoustic guitars. In contrast, on the new blu-ray the bass is always well balanced and clear. On the title song, Moondance, I've always "heard' the walking bass, but this is the first time I've clearly heard the exact pitch of each note.

I'll use Into the Mystic to illustrate the difference between the old mix and the new blu-ray version. (The new cd remix is similar to the blu-ray, but due to the amount of bass, "sounds" different). The original mix has some instruments placed very hard left or right. The horns for example on Into the Mystic are placed so far right, that they are almost exclusively in the right speaker. The horns also have a lot of reverb giving the impression that they are in a larger and different room then the rest of the band. The most noticeable change on the new mix is that the instruments are distributed better across the soundstage. Your attention is drawn more to the music and less distracted by the placement of the instruments. The low, reedy sounding "foghorn" is in the centre rather than hard right and the horns, while still on the right of the soundstage, don't sound like they're just in one speaker. There is much less reverb on the horns. This is all good.

Another noticeable change is that the horns are mixed lower. Van's voice is the central focus of the music, with less "competition" for attention from the horns, especially on the louder passages. The remix of the Band's Rock of Ages on the recently released Live at the Academy of Music 1971 makes a similar change in the new mix. Initially I found both unfamiliar. I've decided I like this choice on both releases, but it's very subjective and I can understand that some people will not like this change at all. This is especially noticeable on the last one minute of Caravan, when Van is doing the lead "la la la la la" vocals and also backing himself. You can hear the various vocal parts in his backing chorus more distinctly, but the horns don't contribute as much rhythmic punch.

The remastered sound of acoustic guitars sounds very good in the new versions. They are however lower in the new mix. As with the horns, little guitar licks don't pop out as much in the new mix. This is OK on the quieter passages at the beginning of Into the Mystic for example, but as the song progresses, especially in the last 30 seconds or so, I miss the hard driving rhythmic strumming that engages in a sort of call and response with the horns.

One final comment on Into the Mystic. The new mix has a very noticeable tambourine. I like it, but I've never heard it on a previous cd version. I don't know whether it was on the original lp. I assume, it's another example of the change in instrumental balance in the new remix.

A quick comment about the Japanese cd release. It's not really a remaster. I think some processing was added during the transfer process to boost the midrange and treble across the board, but I wouldn't say it was "remastered" with a remastering engineer, producer or artist making aesthetic choices about the sound. It mostly sounds like the North American cd, but with a bit more boost in some frequencies. It sounds fine, but I wouldn't recommend going out of your way buy it.

On the whole, I'm very happy with the high resolution blu-ray, including the new mix. I'd have preferred it if it had been made available in a 3 disc version (1 remastered cd, 1 disc of outtakes and the high resolution blu-ray).

I almost forgot to mention the blu-ray menu. When you insert the blu-ray it into your player, there's no automatic pop up menu to choose the 5.1 mix or the stereo. The 5.1 mix automatically starts playing even if you just have a stereo system. You'll have to use the "audio" button on your remote to find the menu if you want to play the stereo mix.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ice cold audio orange juice, June 13 2004
By 
Clare Quilty (a little pad in hawaii) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Moondance (Audio CD)
It's not as complex, beautiful and enigmatic as "Astral Weeks" and it's not as much of a soulful, one-two-punch workout as "Blowin' Your Mind," but for sheer, consistent, horn-driven happiness, you can't do much better than "Moondance."
But because of my affection for those other two disks, I admit, I generally tend to underrate this album. But "Moondance" keeps coming back to me in the most unexpected ways at the most unexpected times: I'll hear "Caravan" in "The Last Waltz," or "Everyone" at the end of "The Royal Tenenbaums" or "Glad Tidings" three times in the "Sopranos" Season 5 finale, or notice "Into the Mystic" on the PA at the grocery store and be reminded that I need to let it out to play more often. That's the sign of a truly great musical work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morrison..... A Musical genius!, Nov. 5 2003
By 
~~ R I Z Z O ~~ (Denver Metro Area) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Moondance (Audio CD)
Whether his music was recorded in the late 60s or early 70s, it is never dated. Yet he always seemed ahead of his time. The man is a vocal genius emanating sounds awarded to the most talented vocalists. And there is only ONE way to listen to Morrison, and that is with quality equipment and loud!
I can't get over how much I LOVE "And it Stoned Me" about a playful fishing trip romp with a friend, the voice, the lyrics, and the beat!
Another favorite, "Moondance", a sultry jazzy number that many other performers have covered. "Into the Mystic" is a bluesy, jazzy ballad.
But I can't reiterate enough, the BEST CD ever is Morrison's '68 "Astral Weeks" It's uncomprehensive that at the young age he was, this phenomenal masterpiece evolved, .....way back in the 60's ...unbelievable. That one is my stranded-on-an-island cd. ......MzRizz
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction in Van Morrison, May 28 2004
By 
Scott E. Porter "docndebt" (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Moondance (Audio CD)
I was only familiar with the Brown Eyed Girl and Gloria Van Morrison but bought this because of the strong 5 star rating with nearly 130 reviews. They are right. This is a great CD filled with easily listened to (not easy listening) music. The lyrics are absolutely heartfelt. The speed of the music fluctuates from not to fast to slow and cool. This would be great entertaining music for a small group of people or just for that one person.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Turn It Up!, Aug. 18 2003
By 
Derek K. Murphy (Rochester, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Moondance (Audio CD)
According to Pop Music Orthodoxy, rock 'n' roll is white, soul is black. Such arbitrary segregation, of course, doesn't explain why Jimi Hendrix remains the greatest rock guitarist of all time, and why Moondance, made by a white Irishman, is the greatest soul record ever made.
From the Smokey Robinson crooning of "Crazy Love" to the restless spiritual romance of "Into The Mystic," Van Morrison merges the concerns of mind and heart, heaven and earth as seamlessly as any artist in the history of recorded music. The title track riffs on jazz without sliding into pretention, while "Glad Tidings" harks back to "Brown Eyed Girl" with its pure giddy good feeling and punchy horns.
Even more than Astral Weeks, this is the record where Van Morrison proved himself a legendary writer, singer, and band leader with an uncommon power to entrance and move his listeners.
Whether you're making out or making your peace with the Great Beyond, Moondance is a must. And next time you play the CD or hear a cut on the radio, follow Van's command at the end of "Caravan."
TURN IT UP!
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5.0 out of 5 stars JEWEL IN HIS CROWN, June 14 2003
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Moondance (Audio CD)
Moondance is one of my favorite Van Morrison albums, a classic on a level with Astral Weeks and Tupelo Honey. There's a moving description of the numinous experience in the song And It Stoned Me which recounts an experience with a childhood friend. The playful arrangement of the title track with its jazzy infusions celebrates a different kind of magic. His voice turns tender and subdued for the gentle love song Crazy Love but goes into full R&B mode for the soulful Caravan. Every note seems to be in exactly the right place on this masterpiece of an album with its exquisite arrangements whilst the words are sheer poetry, as in the yearning Into The Mystic. Slower songs like Mystic and faster ones like the buoyant ditty Come Running alternate with great effect. Every composition is special and memorable, whether it's a love song like These Dreams Of You or a more overtly devotional piece like Brand New Day. The poetic lyrics, evocative melodies and Van's varied vocal styles all contribute to the sonic splendour of Moondance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning CD, Jan. 17 2003
By 
Ronnie Lyons (Charlotte, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Moondance (Audio CD)
I'm only 24, and I had the fortune of buying this cd a few years ago on a whim. I had heard "Brown Eyed Girl" and recognized a few tracks on the cd (Moondance, Crazy Love), and decided it looked good enough, and was worth it just for Moondance.
All I can say is, this is probably one of the greatest albums of all time; it's just beautiful from start to end. Every song is musically perfect, with all the tracks and instruments swirling around, it'll remind you of someone you were in love with at one time, or someone you're in love with now. It's not sappy like McCartney can be sometimes, and it's not too artistic like others get at times; it's just perfect. Extremely well written, beautiful songs, every song on the album will stick with you. The best to me are "Moondance" of course, if you haven't heard that song, slap yourself. "Crazy Love" I never realized Morrison wrote, but his version is twice as good as any cover you've ever heard. "Into the Mystic" is just beautiful, beautiful stuff. "Caravan" is a little rowdy, very soulful. "And it Stoned Me" is a great song; really, you can just go down the line, they're all great. "These Dreams of You", another classic, perfect song. I really can't say enough about this album, it's amazing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Everybody's Favourite Van Morrison Album, April 19 2002
By 
Junglies (Morrisville, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Moondance (Audio CD)
I love this album but I rarely play it due to the number of times I hear the title track on the local classic rock radio stations.
This must be the most well known and thus general favourite of all of the Van Morrison albums. Coming early as it does in his solo career and with some great songs with catchy lines and recognisable lyrics this album encapsulates in a sense all of Van's career.
Along with Astral Weeks this album carves out it's own territory. It is hard to remember how different those vocals sounded to people back in 1970. Sung in what was essentially a revolutionary way with very different phrasing Van Morrison's singing style was a counterpoint to the soft San Francisco vocals and a step removed from the blues style vocals which characterised Britain's blues scene.
The quality of the songs is exceptionally high both lyrically and instrumentally. Van conveys his emotions very clearly and the result is an album which seems light and summery but which transmits themes of spirituality and romance with the celtic mysticism which was to become a more important part of the maestro's work in later years.
The sun was shining yesterday and it was a glorious day to revisit the album. Strangely enough when the album was over I turned on the radio only to hear the first bars of Moondance behind the DJs mindless chatter. I was glad when he shut up and I could hear it's magnetic refrain once again.
Enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect., Sept. 4 2001
By 
slomamma (San Luis Obispo, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Moondance (Audio CD)
If I had to choose only one Van Morrison album (perish the thought), it would have to be Moondance. I donŐt know if itŐs MorrisonŐs best (there are just too many riches to choose from), but I know it is an absolutely flawless album, made up of ten perfectly crafted songs, not one of them less than stellar.
ItŐs also the only one of his albums I know of Đ the only album by anyone, for that matter Đ that is rewarding to listen to no matter what kind of music youŐre in the mood for. Unlike Astral Weeks, or Veedon Fleece, which you wonŐt appreciate unless youŐre willing to sit down and listen carefully, Moondance can work as high-energy background music while youŐre doing something else. The horns, the rhythm, that soothing, but never bland voice Đ it has a soulful, jazzy groove that wonŐt quit and is fun to listen to over and over.
But it has another side. When youŐre ready, sit down and pay attention and youŐll find lyrics as deep and poetic as anything on Astral Weeks, and fine, subtle, soulful singing that youŐll miss when youŐre just focusing on the big, brassy sound. ItŐs not just that Van Morrison has a gorgeous, soul-shaking voice, and brilliant phrasing, although he certainly does. He sings with so much genuine passion that he makes you see the world in a whole new way. And It Stoned Me, for instance, is about nothing more than water Đ fishing, swimming, rain and drinking Đ but the way he sings "oh, the water" makes the experience shine like great poetry.
I donŐt know any other album that has it all the way Moondance does. No matter how many times you listen to it, you can never exhaust its possibilities. I have hundreds of CDs, but, hands down, this is the one I play the most.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 30 years later, people still want to have this MOONDANCE, Aug. 28 2001
This review is from: Moondance (Audio CD)
Everyone knows that Van Morrison first started his musical career as a blues-shouting frontman for the highly-underrated British rock band Them. It was during that time that Van wrote such rock standards as "Gloria" (sing it with me, everybody! G-L-O-R-I-A!) and "Mystic Eyes". When Them broke up, Van began a somewhat rudimentary solo career with the pop chestnut "Brown Eyed Girl", which even though it may be a little too pop for the now-very-deep-in-his-R&B-roots Van, it remains a rock classic. His follow-up ASTRAL WEEKS (1968) was one of the most enchanting pop albums ever recorded, and even though it had no hits, it is rightfully been considered as one of the best albums of any genre. For the follow-up, Van decided to venture back into his R&B and jazz roots with MOONDANCE (1970). The fact that it is so high on the Amazon Sales Rank (#399 as of this writing) sure is amazing, for even those people who are listening to artists who could be Van's grandchildren (he just turned 56) are realizing the magic that is MOONDANCE. The album is just as beautifully-executed as ASTRAL WEEKS, but it's less improvised & made of more songs than stream-of-consciousness exercises. The first side of MOONDANCE is made up of songs that are widely recognized outside of the context of the album, and are some of Van's best songs in a career filled with many. "And It Stoned Me" starts out automatically with a vocal from Van that is as restrained as ASTRAL WEEKS, but still rather soulful like he was in his Them days. This is the perfect song to listen to on a warm summer Sunday. And no, stoned doesn't have anything to do with marijuana, but something more metaphoric. Next is the title track that is by far in the top echelon of Van's classic songs. You'll immediately get the feeling of dancing with your sweetheart in the moonlit night, and who knows you may be making a track back to his house later on, if you know what I mean. It's the same with "Crazy Love" where the romanticism of this track is nothing less than intoxicating, and I'm sure one listen to this song will turn anyone to putty. An excellent wedding song, too. Those who listen on will get to the more uptempo (if you can call it that) "Caravan", which once again has Van in his soul-belter mode. But if you thought those four songs were well known & legendary, "Into The Mystic" almost steamrolls those songs in that respect. Articles have been written on this song alone, and while that may be overstating it, that only proves why this song is so loved, because "the mystic" could be just about anywhere for us. The closing line "It's too late to stop now" would inspire the title of Van's live album (1974). The second side is not very recognizable, but it does have some highlights. "Come Running" was the only song on this album to become a top 40 hit(!), and while it may seem a bit slight, it showed that AM radio may have been behind Van Morrison to some extent. "Brand New Day" is probably the most soulful of the bunch, with it having a hint of gospel as well. Maybe Sting was inspired by this song to create his own "Brand New Day". Those may be the best of side 2, but MOONDANCE as a whole is a well-deserved classic. Even if its commercial success was somewhat limited, it's made just about every critic's "Best Albums of All Time" list, so that may be some redemption. Even if Van Morrison retired after this album, his place in rock history would be assured, but 30 years later, he's still going strong releasing albums at a time in his life when most people would be resting on their awards. But while Van may continue to release some quality music well into his golden years, chances are MOONDANCE will still rank as one of the best albums of not only his career, but pop music too.
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