In 1969 I was a young fledgling engineer working at A&R Recording in New York City. At the time, A&R Recording was considered the best studio in New York City and maybe even the country. In those years, staff engineers usually found out the night before what they were doing the next day. I remember stopping by the office to find out my schedule for the next day and saw that I was working with Van Morrison the next afternoon. That was pretty exciting for me because it was to be the first big project of my career. We were recording in one of the newer rooms at A&R, Studio R1. It was on West 48th Street and we had a brand new Telefunken console in there and I was looking forward to doing this project on that board. This console ended up being one of my favorites because for the most part it was hand built and sounded unlike any other console that I had worked on. I got to the studio two hours before the start to guide the set-up of the band in the room. The studio was ell shaped and wrapped around the control room. The first player to arrive was drummer Gary Malabar. Soon after the rest of the band started to arrive. Bass player John Klingberg and guitar player John Platania came in and I showed them where they’d be sitting. The remainder of the band walked in with Van. This wasn’t the first session they’d done for the album and I believe at that point I was the third engineer to be working on this. I’m pretty sure the first song we recorded that day was “Come Runnin’”. Everybody played live which meant the song was performed by Van and the band in the same room together with no overdubs. There were two isolation booths separated by an elevated platform where I put the drums in the center, bass to the left and guitar to the right. In the right iso booth was Van playing guitar and singing and in the left iso booth were the three female background singers Judy Clay, Emily Houston and Jackie Verdell. In front of that left iso booth was Jeff Labes playing piano, Fender Rhodes or B-3. The horn section was Jack Shroer and Collin Tilton. They were situated in the ell area of the room with iso panels, called gobos, directly in front of them. I honestly don’t remember how many songs we recorded in that room but after all the tracks were done, there was a break for maybe a month or two before we started mixing. The album was recorded onto 8 track 1” analog tape. That was the newest format at the time and the cutting edge believe it or not. The eight tracks were relegated to one track of drums, one for bass, one for guitar, one for keyboards, Van’s vocal on one, Van’s guitar on one, Backgrounds on one and the last one for horns. Basically every instrument was recorded in mono. The week before Christmas of 1969 I got a call from Van saying that Warner Brothers needed the album mixed and ready for release before the end of the year. He also said that he was planning to spend the holidays with his family in Woodstock. He told me to go ahead and mix the record and just be sure to send him tape copies of the mixes after I was done. That was a big deal for me considering he was the first name artist that I was mixing for. Most engineers are insecure about their work and I was no different. I decided to call Gary Malabar who I believe was living in New York City at the time and asked him if he’d mind coming in while I was mixing the album to offer advice and input. He seemed to be pretty happy at the prospect of taking part in the final stage of this album. His presence helped ease my insecurities. I mixed the album at A&R’s other building on 7th Avenue. It was formerly Columbia studios where Frank Sinatra recorded many of his albums. We were working in a small 8 track mix room referred to as Mix II. It had a very small mix console with large rotary faders. The output of the console was stereo and I have a vague recollection that we also mixed it in mono. Most if not all of the AM radio stations were playing mono. Gary and I spent about eight to ten days mixing the album and then sent tape copies to Van for approval. I never heard back from him as to whether he thought the mixes were any good but right before New Year’s I did get a message to master the album. A&R had a stereo mastering room that was fairly new. Bob Ludwig had recently left A&R to open his own mastering facility and Dave Crawford had taken his place. I clearly remember the day we mastered, hearing the album for the first time edited together in the final sequence. I thought to myself that it sounded pretty good but wondered if it would be a hit. By the standards in those years it really wasn’t a huge hit. It was a critically acclaimed and brilliant album…. and seminal for many. Certainly for me. It’s a beautiful collection of songs with great vocals and great playing. About ten years ago I was asked to remix the record to add a high definition version in discreet 5.1 surround sound. I thought it wouldn’t be easy to take an 8 track master and make a 5.1 version but it’s amazing how great it turned out. I hope enough people get an opportunity to hear this version. After 44 years this music still holds up and commands your attention when it plays.