's debut album for Warner Brothers and a pretty radical departure from anything he'd done before – breaking all kinds of new ground for his own most creative work and helping pave the way for all kinds of hauntingly poetic rock, folk rock, and singer-songwriter records to come! It doesn't take more than a few seconds of opening title track, with Morrison
's rawly passionate voice and spiritually yearning lyrics, to know this is a pretty remarkable creative leap from pop leaning sound of "Brown Eyed Girl" and other preceding efforts – , and it gets even more far out from there both lyrically and instrumentally! It's almost folk jazz, arrangements wise, with flute and largely acoustic instrumentation, a really spontaneous feel to the sessions, and always hypnotic, seemingly stream of consciousness vocals by Van
. As loose and spacious as the sound is, the emotional resonance is pretty heavy, and sequenced as a cycle: part one In The Beginning on side 1 and part two Afterwards on side 2. A stunner! Titles include "Astral Weeks", "Beside You", "Cyprus Avenue", "Sweet Thing", "Slim Slow Slider", and "Madame George".
(180 gram reissue. Cover has some edge wear and smudges on the back.)