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HITS LIST: SIGNS OF A
WHOLE NEW DEAL
The sounds of a brighter day to come? (1/16a)
RAINMAKERS:
STEVE COOPER
Turnaround specialist becomes a music man. (1/15a)
BIG CHANGES AT RCA: EDGE UPS PITTS TO PREZ, FLECK TO COO; RICCITELLI TO EXIT
Recalibrating for changing tastes. (1/15a)
DANGEROUS TIMES: A CONVERSATION WITH MORGAN WALLEN
As his song says, "Livin' the Dream." (1/14a)
ACADEMY AND DUGAN
DUE TO SETTLE?
A messy divorce nears its resolution. (1/15a)
RAINMAKERS
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMYS: WHERE TO FROM HERE?
After the snubs, the show.
HOW TO FIND 11,780 VOTES
It's the way all the biggest mob bosses did it.
MOVING THE NEEDLE
When vaccination schedules and touring schedules meet.
Critics' Choice
VAN LAND
10/22/15

Rhino is bringing out handsome, remastered reissues of two of the greatest albums ever made, Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks and His Band and Street Choir. Each features extra tracks and a handsome booklet with elegant liner notes, as is de rigueur from the catalogue monsters. But we celebrate this occasion not for how the new versions, due on 10/30, differ from the originals but how they are the same. Every time these luminous recordings re-enter the marketplace, scores of music fans first discover the spiritual realm of Van-land, with its inimitable mix of R&B grit and Celtic rhapsody.

Astral Weeks in particular is an utter miracle; recorded in 1968 by the then-23-year-old Irishman, who was coming off the spectacular pop success of “Brown-Eyed Girl,” it eschews singalong choruses for a hushed, jazzy folk with a strongly improvisational feel. But it’s pure magic, from the divinely inspired title track to the gauzy “Sweet Thing,” the gender-bending saga “Madame George” and the mighty “The Way Young Lovers Do.” The new set includes alternate takes (two of them quite long) of four songs.

His Band is more conventionally poppy, and boasts such brilliant singles as “Domino” and “Blue Money.” The 1970 set's overall vibe is at once reverential and hedonistic, with the musical mixture of groove and sweetness as fine as old whiskey. Five alternate versions appear as bonus cuts.