In 1966, Van Morrison quit the band Them, a tough Irish R&B combo who cut a handful of almost-hits (including the original version of "Gloria") but had little to show for their work. A year later, Bert Berns, a producer who had worked with Them, launched a new record label, Bang Records, and he persuaded Morrison to sign with Bang as a solo act. Morrison's tenure with Bang would prove to be contentious and short-lived (he would be recording for Warner Bros. by late 1968), but he did cut his first solo album for the label, Blowin' Your Mind!, which spawned Morrison's first hit single, the infectious "Brown Eyed Girl," and included a handful of superb songs that would point the way to such future triumphs as Astral Weeks and Moondance. The 60s: Van Morrison is a ten-song collection drawn from Morrison's recordings for Bang, featuring all but one of the tracks from Blowin' Your Mind! (and including "Brown Eyed Girl"), as well as early versions of two Astral Weeks numbers, "Madame George" and "Beside You." While Blowin' Your Mind! has a better and more effective sequence, this collection does feature some of Morrison's best tracks for Bang at a budget price, and the mastering is very good, giving this an edge over many, many of the collections of Morrison's earliest solo work.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming