Van has always been a grumpy old fart, even when he was young. He never seems to care about his fans one way or another. If box sets are put out with care, who can it hurt? My pocket book if they are too expensive. Heck back in the day bootlegs were even more expensive and on terrible vinyl.
Van Morrison - full time curmudgeon. Is anyone really surprised that he does not approve?
Artists are NOT always the best judges of their work.
The "awkward baby pictures" syndrome mentioned by "William Keats" accounts for the decades-long delay of the John McLaughlin/Jaco Pastorius/Tony Williams Trio of Doom project. And when we we ever hear the legendary McLaughlin/Hendrix jams? It's a shame, as many younger music fans are not that interested in artists of their parents' or grandparents' generation (The Doors and Grateful Dead being perhaps 2 significant exceptions). So when will these artists lighten up?
Putting aside the issue of whether the artists still own their material or not (as in the case of ones who are of Morrison's age), a lot of artists/bands don't realize that a great number of their fans are intelligent and are able to understand listening to the artistic process at work via alternates & outtakes.
Even if they don't own the material, they should take a pragmatic attitude that it's better to have the stuff officially released and put into a context that is more directly understandable than a bootlegger who may or may not be able to put things into a logical time/period setting.
Besides, what's the old saying? Sometimes artists are the worst judges of their own material.
Morrison is something of a control freak and always has been. What complicates the situation with Moondance is that, unlike many of his early titles, Morrison has no control over Moondance. While his affiliation with Warner Bros ended in the Eighties and Morrison later regained the rights to many of the recordings on the label, Moondance is one of several that were retained by Warners. I don't blame him for being annoyed, but there's not much he can do about it. As a long-time fan, I'm very eager to hear the previously unreleased material, whether Van wants me to or not.
The more active an artist remains in the curating of their unreleased material, the less such material actually appears: the "hiding my awkward baby pictures" syndrome. Often the best editor of an artist's unissued music is a knowledgable fan, with a good understanding of how early recordings shaped future works. Does Dylan curate his own unissued material? Of course not. Obviously he doesn't want to even bother, so he's hired someone to do a better job at it. And Bob benefits through publishing royalties, as Van would (unless he signed those away many years ago). Do I need to hear every take of a session? No, but do I learn from the process of hearing those takes? Absolutely. Van should be pleased that *somebody* finds his outtakes worthwhile, even if he doesn't. Issuing alternate takes and rehearsals does not diminish Van's career in any way, as no one but a committed fan of his will buy an expensive archival release in the first place. Those fans are prepared to welcome anything they have not heard before. Look at the Beach Boys Smile box as an example of how archival releases can appear to be simply massive vault dumps for the casual listener and essential documents to the more dedicated fan. Box sets simply aren't for everyone, and that might include the artists themselves.
Actually, the only thing that's deterring me(for now) from ordering the Van Morrison "Moondance" box, is Amazon.com's new marketing strategy of offer little or no discount on CD boxed sets. In fact, for the Morrison box, Amazon is exceeding the manufacturer's suggested list price by $5.
Even if you're an avid Van Morrison fan, just say "No" to Amazon's price gouging.