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Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman collaborated on an all-analog master of Moondance for Rhino, and RTI pressed the LP on 180-gram vinyl. The updated version expands the soundstage and lets instruments and voices come out into the open more than they do on the original, olive-label Warner Brothers pressings. John Platania’s acoustic guitar solo on “And It Stoned Me” and Collin Tilton’s flute on the title track sound more realistic. You can even hear the brightness of the guitar strings and breathing behind the flute.
Van Morrison’s voice also comes across as more three-dimensional on the newer pressing, and the touch of reverb surrounding it slightly more audible than on my 1970 Warner copy. The tambourine and “foghorn” effect (created by saxophones and organ) on “Into the Mystic” feel more fully presented here, as do the harmonic details of the strummed acoustic-guitar chords.
If you’re accustomed to hearing to the original pressing, the prominence and detail of the bass on this new master may take a couple of plays to digest. But they’re of a piece with the increase in instrumental detail throughout. Gray and Hoffman don’t unnaturally push anything forward. Instead, they remove the film that on earlier pressings slightly masks the congas on “Come Running,” shimmer of the acoustic guitar on “These Dreams of You,” and texture of the horns on nearly every track.
If, like me, you own an early pressing of this LP and committed it to memory, you’ll still find yourself hearing new things on this pressing.
Last chance to change your mind...