Van Morrison Preps Expanded Reissues of 'Astral Weeks,' 'His Band'

Seminal Warner Bros. albums to feature unreleased, alternate takes of classic cuts

Warner Bros. will reissue two Van Morrison classics, 'Astral Weeks' and 'His Band and The Street Choir,' with unreleased alternate tracks Credit: Ed Caraeff/Getty

Van Morrison's seminal 1968 LP Astral Weeks and 1970's His Band and the Street Choir, will be expanded, remastered and reissued on October 30th via Warner Bros.

Both LPs will be made available digitally and on CD, each featuring a handful of previously unreleased, alternate versions of album cuts.

The expanded Astral Weeks will include the first take of "Beside You," a stripped down, vibraphone-heavy "Madame George" and longer versions of "Ballerina" and "Slim Slow Slider." All offer a deeper examination of Morrison's working relationship with the quartet that helped him record the LP: bassist Richard Davis, guitarist Jay Berliner, percussionist Warren Smith, Jr. and drummer Connie Kay.

His Band and The Street Choir, meanwhile, will include five unreleased bonus cuts, including the gritty third take of "Give Me A Kiss" without piano, horns or backing vocals. The tenth take of "Call Me Up In Dreamland" will also be included, as will take three of "Gypsy Queen" and a funky alternate version of "I've Been Working." Complete track lists for both albums are available below.

Along with the new releases from Warner Bros., Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music, is prepping their own massive Van Morrison reissue campaign after acquiring the rights to 50 albums, videos and compilations released over the past half-century. The label intends to put out deluxe editions of select records — starting with 1972's Saint Dominic's Preview, 1973's Hard Nose the Highway, 1974's It's Too late to Stop Now and 1990's Enlightenment — and eventually make the full catalog available digitally.

Morrison himself has also been looking back through his discography, releasing a new album earlier this year called Duets: Re-Working the Catalogue that found him reimagining classic tracks with guests like Steve Winwood, Bobby Womack, Mavis Staples and Taj Mahal. Recording that album, Morrison told Rolling Stone, made him realize just how many songs he'd cut, estimating the total number was between 350 and 400.

"The work was created for survival reasons," he said. "I had to make two albums a year for Warner Bros. I was churning out songs, and not every song got on an album.... I didn't know I was going to have this body of work."

Astral Weeks Expanded Edition Track List

1. "Astral Weeks"
2. "Beside You"
3. "Sweet Thing"
4. "Cyprus Avenue"
5. "The Way Young Lovers Do"
6. "Madame George"
7. "Ballerina"
8. "Slim Slow Slider"
9. "Beside You" (Take 1)
10. "Madame George" (Take 4)
11. "Ballerina" (Long Version)
12. "Slim Slow Slider" (Long Version)

His Band and The Street Choir Expanded Edition Track List

1. "Domino"
2. "Crazy Face"
3. "Give Me A Kiss"
4. "I've Been Working"
5. "Call Me Up In Dreamland"
6. "I'll Be Your Lover, Too"
7. "Blue Money"
8. "Virgo Clowns"
9. "Gypsy Queen"
10. "Sweet Jannie"
11. "If I Ever Needed Someone"
12. "Street Choir"
13. "Call Me Up In Dreamland" (Take 10)
14. "Give Me A Kiss" (Take 3)
15. "Gypsy Queen" (Take 3)
16. "I've Been Working" (Alternate Version)
17. "I'll Be Your Lover, Too" (Alternate Version)