Van Morrison’s MOONDANCE album: The saga of how it was originally programmed... So, we all love MOONDANCE and I was very surprised to realize (after so many years of listening to the original first cutting LP) that there is a different version of the great song “Into The Mystic” on MOST versions of the LP and all digital versions. (Thanks to Forum Member MMM for first inquiring about this; got me to compare versions). The common version of the song has a different stereo placement and no tambourine track plus the “foghorn” effect swells in and out instead of staying up full volume. So, I started this thread: http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=102501 An industry big shot saw it and emailed me with the true insider information. How does he know? Simple, he was one of the original people involved with the making of the album. How does he remember everything so clearly? Simple, he kept a DIARY! Yup. How cool is that? Probably to keep track of billing but that's just a guess on my part. So, here we go! It’s December 23, 1969 and we go to the “Mix 1 Studio” of A&R Recording, Inc., 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036. The new MOONDANCE album is now complete, the eight-track recording and mixing to two-track is done and approved by all concerned. The next step is programming the songs into a coherent SIDE A and SIDE B. This original song order is being published here for the first time. Side A was to be: 1. Come Running (mix of 12/23/69) 2. These Dreams Of You (mix of 12/17/69) 3. Caravan (mix of 12/17/69) 4. Into The Mystic (12/10/69) 5. Moondance (12/23/69) Side B was to be: 1. It Stoned Me (mix of 12/23/69) 2. Brand New Day (mix of 12/23/69) 3. Everyone (mix of 12/23/69) 4. Crazy Love (mix of 12/23/69) 5. Glad Tidings (mix of 12/23/69) So, a lacquer was cut at A&R and reviewed by Van and his producers, etc. 7 days later they commissioned some remixes of a few songs. So on 12/30/69 the following tracks were remixed and inserted in the master reels. They are: Crazy Love, Glad Tidings, These Dreams Of You, Into The Mystic and Moondance. Are you with me so far? Good. Next step, another lacquer with the new mixes was cut and reviewed by the powers-that-be. On January 5, 1970 it was decided to do more remixing and change the order of the songs as they would appear on the album. The new programming was as follows: Side A became: 1. And It Stoned Me 2. Crazy Love 3. These Dreams Of You 4. Caravan 5. Into The Mystic (mix of 1/5/70) Side B became: 1. Come Running 2. Moondance (mix of 1/5/70) 3. Brand New Day 4. Everyone 5. Glad Tidings (mix of 1/5/70) A new acetate test lacquer was cut on this day and reviewed by all. On January 9, 1970 yet another song order was programmed and it is the order we are all familiar with: The final order for Side A became: 1. And It Stoned Me (mix of 12/23/69) 2. Moondance (mix of 1/5/70) 3. Crazy Love (mix of 12/30/69) 4. Caravan (mix of 12/17/69) 5. Into The Mystic (mix of 1/5/70) The final order for Side B became: 1. Come Running (mix of 12/23/69) 2. These Dreams Of You (mix of 12/30/69) 3. Brand New Day (mix of 12/23/69) 4. Everyone (mix of 12/23/69) 5. Glad Tidings (mix of 1/5/70) A new reference lacquer (acetate) was cut of this order and mix lineup and approved by the band. The next day, parts were cut for the album and a FLAT SAFETY COPY on 15 ips non-Dolby analog tape was made and marked CUTTING MASTER. The original master was marked “ORIGINAL”. Now here is where it gets weird. The above parts were processed and made into records. On 1/12/70 A "HOLD MANUFACTURING" ORDER CAME DOWN. WHY? IT WAS DECIDED TO REINSERT THE ORIGINAL 12/10/69 MIX OF “INTO THE MYSTIC” BACK INTO THE ALBUM MASTER. They had second thoughts about the 1/5/70 remix and decided to go back to the original instead; it had a better "feel". So (and here is the screw up of all screw ups) someone SPLICED IT BACK INTO THE MASTER REELS BUT FORGOT TO SPLICE A FLAT DUB INTO THE “CUTTING MASTER” COPY. So, new parts were cut with the ORIGINAL MIX of “Into The Mystic” (featuring the tambourine, etc.) and these were pressed for the initial run of the album. When the album started catching fire around the world, new parts needed to be cut and so they turned to the EQ CUTTING MASTER instead of the original mix reels to cut replacement lacquers. Therefore, except for the first cutting, most dupe cuts and foreign tape dubs featured the incorrect remix version (without tambourine) of “Into The Mystic” instead of the correct mix. It was not until an audiophile record label years later wanted to do a premium ½ speed cutting of the MOONDANCE album that the original master mixes were pulled and that is why THIS version and the original first cutting from 1970 have the 12/10/69 “tambourine version” of “Into The Mystic” on them and practically every other version (cut from the copy) does not (they use the remix from 1/5/70). How is that for a convoluted tale? No one noticed at the time; everyone had moved on to the next project. No one involved in the MOONDANCE LP project ever bothered to check any of the recuts or they simply forgot that they made a last minute substitution back to the original mix. Phew... Bottom line, the final version of "Into The Mystic" that Van Morrison wanted to appear on the album was the tambourine mix of 12/10/69 (Van Morrison of course being the tambourine player). So, that is the "official" mix. Wacky but true! Hope this helps!