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Get an even bigger load of Van Morrison as albums online at last

By Rebecca Black

Published 26/08/2015

Van Morrison will play special homecoming gigs next week
Van Morrison will play special homecoming gigs next week

There is more good news for fans of legendary Belfast musician Van Morrison after it emerged a new record label deal is set to make dozens of his albums available to download for the first time.

Van fever is starting to build in his home city ahead of his once-in-a-lifetime gigs next Monday on the street he made famous - Cyprus Avenue - as part of the EastSide Arts Festival.

Now it will be even easier to get in the mood for the shows by listening to the very best of Van the Man at the click of a button after Legacy Recordings, the catalogue division of Sony Music, acquired the rights to 50 albums, videos and compilations.

These date back over the past half-century, to his days in the group Them. Over time, the label intends to put out deluxe editions of select records.

Additionally, it will release a 37-track career-spanning compilation, Essential Van Morrison, on Friday.

The collection does not include arguably Morrison's two most renowned LPs: Astral Weeks (1968) and Moondance (1970).

The rights to these seminal works remain with Warner Music Group.

The label will release deluxe Legacy Editions of 1972's Saint Dominic's Preview, 1973's Hard Nose The Highway, 1974's It's Too Late To Stop Now and 1990's Enlightenment to kick off the series.

Earlier this year Morrison put out a new album called Duets: Re-Working The Catalogue, which found him looking backward at past recordings and bringing a long list of collaborators to reinterpret them. Guests on the record included Steve Winwood, Bobby Womack, Mavis Staples and Taj Mahal among others. The album also included a new version of Irish Heartbeat featuring Mark Knopfler.

The east Belfast-born singer songwriter is homebound for the special Cyprus Avenue gigs as part of his 70th birthday celebrations.

One of the most special gifts that Van is set to receive is an original street sign from Hyndford Street, where he was born.

Belfast City Council agreed to donate the sign earlier this year following a request from DUP MLA - and Van fan - Sammy Douglas.

It will form part of a special piece by local artist Ross Wilson to be presented to the musician.

Van also received a knighthood in the Queen's birthday honours list earlier this year and, in 2013, he was awarded the freedom of Belfast by the city council.

Belfast Telegraph

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