Van Morrison

Collections

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Anyone who's followed Van Morrison's career knows that Sony has the rights to the recordings he made for Bang -- in other words, one album plus outtakes. Since part of the reason the Collections series is such a success for the label is that they stick to what's in the vaults -- it cuts their costs considerably to rely on what they already own -- Sony's options are pretty limited here. So, it isn't much of a surprise that what they come up with is essentially Morrison's debut, Blowin' Your Mind!, minus two songs (the notorious "T.B. Sheets" and "Who Drove the Red Sports Car"), plus a selection of four highlights from the session outtakes ("The Back Room," "It's All Right," "Chick-A-Boom," "Madame George"). In other words, there are no hits here outside of "Brown Eyed Girl." Although this is very good music, it's largely of interest to collectors, who will prefer to own either the official debut or the exhaustive single-disc compilation Bang Masters. Collections, however, will likely dissatisfy the casual fans it targets -- they'll be better off with Mercury's The Best of Van Morrison. It may cost a bit more, but it has more of what they're looking for.

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