Van Morrison – Saint Dominic’s Preview – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

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TWO AMAZING A+++ SIDES ON QUIET VINYL — this will likely be the best sounding Van Morrison you hear in your entire life! We’ve played a ton of these over the years and it’s not all that often that we hear a copy that so capably presents the music. Both sides are very rich and super full-bodied with exceptional clarity and mindblowing YOU ARE THERE immediacy. We almost never find copies of Moondance or Astral Weeks that sound anything like this, and when we do they go for much more money.

We’ve been huge fans of this album for ages and don’t understand why it doesn’t get more respect. This is the album that comes right after Tupelo Honey and His Band And The Street Choir, so that should tell you something.

The typical copy of this record has a major HONK problem, much the way Moondance does. If you play a few copies, you’ll notice the pinched quality to the vocals and the hardness and edge in the midrange. The Hot Stamper copies were mastered without that annoying sound, and that’s part of what makes them so darn good.

You Can’t Beat The Sound Of This Copy

I’ve never heard this music sound any better! Both sides are rich, full-bodied and sweet, with that tubey magical analog sound that we love finding on the best of these Warner Bros. Green Label pressings. The presence, texture, and clarity of the vocals is going to blow you away, and you’re not going to believe how DYNAMIC they are as well. The piano is natural with real weight, the bottom end is superb, and the brass sounds just right. We just didn’t hear this kind of Jumpin’-Outta-The-Speakers sound on the other copies we played. 

Engineering Excellence

Credit DONN LANDEE (and producer Ted Templeman as well) with the full-bodied, rich, smooth, oh-so-analog sound of the best copies of Saint Dominic’s Preview. He’s recorded or assisted on many of our favorite albums here at Better Records.

Most of the better Doobies Brothers albums are his; all of the good Van Halens of course; Lowell George’s wonderful Thanks I’ll Eat It Here; Little Feat’s Time Loves a Hero (not their best music but some of their best sound); Carly Simon’s Another Passenger (my favorite of all her albums); and his Masterpiece (in my humble opinion), Captain Beefheart’s mindblowing Clear Spot.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)
Gypsy
I Will Be There
Listen to the Lion

Side Two

Saint Dominic’s Preview
Redwood Tree
Almost Independence Day

AMG  Review

While less thematically and sonically cohesive than Van Morrison’s prior albums, Saint Dominic’s Preview nonetheless hangs together on the strength of its songs, an intriguingly diverse collection which draws together the disparate threads of the singer’s recent work into one sterling package. The opener, “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile),” is pure R&B jubilation, while the title cut, although essentially a rewrite of “Tupelo Honey,” is stunning gospel-pop; both “Listen to the Lion” and “Almost Independence Day,” meanwhile, mark a return to the epic mystical explorations of Morrison’s earlier work and offer a pair of his most primal performances.