The Boxing Lesson

Box sets grow up and out

The Boxing Lesson

Van Morrison

Moondance: Deluxe Edition (Warner Bros.)

Expanded album classics can test the patience of all but the most fanatical devotees, but Van Morrison's 1970 breakthrough justifies such an approach. Dreamy yet earthy, accessible yet impenetrable, Moondance offers some of the most romantic and resonant music of the Belfast belter's career, introducing standards "And It Stoned Me," "Caravan," "Into the Mystic," and the title track, while setting their author on the musical course he pursued for most of the next decade. The album's deluxe edition combines remastered CD and Blu-ray Audio versions of the original LP with three CDs of outtakes, including a supremely funky "I've Been Working" (from the subsequent His Band and the Street Choice), and the bubbly "I Shall Sing," which Art Garfunkel hit with in 1973. The real treasure is a mother lode of work-in-progress material, offering a thrilling, fly-on-the-wall perspective as Morrison and the musicians build the sounds in the artist's head into an enduring classic.

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