Van Morrison – Astral Weeks – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

MASTER TAPE SOUND ON SIDE ONE! Here’s a stunning copy of Astral Weeks with a side one that just can’t be beat. We recently had the chance to play quite a few of these, and this one was just UNSTOPPABLE on side one. Side two is also very good and the vinyl plays relatively quietly throughout, between Mint Minus and Mint Minus Minus. It might be ages before another Hot copy hits the site, so grab this one before it’s gone for good!

I don’t think there’s too much I can tell you about Astral Weeks that’s going to convince you to buy it or not. It’s obviously one of the man’s two masterpieces and one of the most beloved albums of its time.

This is just the second Hot Stamper copy ever to hit the site, because it’s too hard to find clean copies of this album that sound good. Standard Green Label pressings can fetch around $100 on Ebay, so we just can’t afford to pick these up in the kind of numbers we need to get repeated Hot Stamper shootouts going.

Side one is KILLER. The sound is rich and full-bodied with lovely immediacy to the vocals. There’s real depth to the soundfield and tons of ambience. Most copies we’ve played have a nasty “honk” to the vocals, but that’s not a big problem here. The overall sound is open, spacious and transparent with loads of tubey magic. The brass has a nice bite, the violins have lots of texture, and the bass is under control.

Side two is very strong but not quite as open and spacious. Madame George sounds particularly good on this side. There’s lots of energy, depth to the soundfield, and texture to all the instruments.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Astral Weeks 
Beside You 
Sweet Thing 
Cyprus Avenue

Side Two

The Way Young Lovers Do 
Madame George 
Ballerina 
Slim Slow Slider