Van Morrison was really something in his prime, and His Band and the Street Choir came right in the middle of his prime years. He drops the mysticism of the last records almost entirely. For some, that makes this fare poorly by comparison. Yet, setting aside the fact that both Astral Weeks and Moondance are some of the best albums of the era, His Band is a wonderful record all on its own. It feels a little more extroverted, alternating between sort of a bar-room soul/R&B sound (“Domino,” “Give Me a Kiss,” “Call Me Up in Dreamland”) and more intimate folk (“Crazy Face,” “Gypsy Queen”), and a few tunes that fall somewhere in between (“If I Ever Needed Someone,” “Street Choir”). So much of this is so good-natured, fun and impassioned, still with touches of poignancy, that it should be easy to love. Some fans find a way not to love it — making it a black sheep in Morrison’s early discography. Their loss. This one is pretty great.