Category: George Harrison

George Harrison – All Things Must Pass

ARTIST: George Harrison  220px-All_Things_Must_Pass_1970_cover

TITLE: All Things Must Pass

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #1 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: My Sweet Lord (#1 US, #1 UK), What Is Life (#10 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Isn’t It a Pity, If Not for You, Beware of Darkness, Art of Dying

LINEUP: George Harrison and a Phil Spector Wall of Sound including: Eric Clapton, Gary Wright, Bobby Whitlock, Klaus Voorman, Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, Rino Starr, Billy Preston, Jim Price, Bobby Keys, Alan White, Pete Drake, Peter Frampton, Dave Mason, Badfinger, Gary Brooker, Ginger Baker, and others, probably.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The debut ‘true’ solo album from George assembles songs he had written since 1966 forward, and it’s a stunning, stunning album.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: George Harrison’s contributions to the Beatles as a songwriter was limited (though after 1966 the others did acknowledge his improvement) and as a result he had a backlog of songs just waiting to be worked out and released. When the Beatles broke up, he had that chance.

Playing the demos for Phil Spector, the two set about finding the songs that they would begin for this project. It was an immense session, with Spector bringing in huge lineups of musicians and recorded them live, like he did in the old days. Then over time, overdubs and orchestration were added (it took a while due to various issues, such as Spector breaking his arm and being plastered on cherry brandy. Still, with time and patience, the album came together and was released to the world in late 1970.

And what a record it was! Four sides of music, including a co-write with Dylan and a Dylan song he heard during a recording session he was attending. The songs combine so many influences: gospel, ragas, blues, rock, soul to name a few. The lyrics are mostly spiritual (as fitting Harrison) yet not so preachy as to be a harangue, though some are lighter (“Apple Scruffs, “The Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)”) and a track about the Beatles’ situation in 1969 (“Wah Wah”). Even with the Wall of Sound that Spector put on the songs, you can’t mistake Harrison’s guitar work and his vocals are not lost, either.

The 18 tracks on the main album fit together flawlessly and are a testament to Harrison’s songwriting ability at the time. There is a third LP of jams that were recorded during the sessions, and while ‘interesting’ they’re superfluous and Harrison made sure they were packaged separately in the set. (Basically, he didn’t want to lose them but didn’t want them part of the main albuim).

NOTES & MINUTIAE: When re-released in 2001, Harrison added some new artwork to the booklet, created a web site, and sequenced the jam LP as he originally intended.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with new mixes and single versions.

GRADE A+: The jam LP aside, this is one of the most perfect albums released.

George Harrison – Electronic Sound

ARTIST: George Harrison Electronic_Sound_(George_Harrison_album_-_cover_art)
TITLE: Electronic Sound
YEAR RELEASED: 1969
CHART ACTION: #191
SINGLES: None – only 2 tracks on the thing
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Oh, hell no
LINEUP: George Harrison (and allegedly Bernie Krause)
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Area man buys synthesizer, records himself farting around on it.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While my new Moog bloops and bleeps…

This is the sound of George Harrison and his brand new Moog (and maybe Bernie Krause demonstrating the capacity of the Moog to George) and him fiddling around with it. There’s no melody, no songs, just sound.

It sounds like what I would do if I got a new synthesizer. The difference is that in 1969 they could make only one sound at a time – so George overdubbed some of this. The only reason this was released on anything but for a demonstration is that it was a Beatle that did this. Otherwise it’s just a man playing with a new toy.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was the second LP released on Zapple – the Apple subsidiary for avant garde music (John & Yoko released the first one on Zapple with one of their ‘recordings’.). When Allen Klein became Beatles manager he shut that shit down, pronto.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. I don’t think we could take another track of this, really.

GRADE: D-: I don’t mind weird or odd sounds, but I do want some resemblance to a song, please.

George Harrison – Wonderwall Music

ARTIST: George Harrison

TITLE: Wonderwall MusicWonderwall_Music_(George_Harrison_album_-_cover_art)

YEAR RELEASED: 1968

CHART ACTION: #49

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Oh, no, unless you’re a student of obscure 1968 cinema.

LINEUP: George Harrison + a lot of Indian artists and appearances by Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and other British musicians.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A soundtrack to a 1968 film called Wonderwall. You probably haven’t seen it. I haven’t.

 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It’s a real movie soundtrack, which means this is incidental music for the film. Harrison for the most part used Indian music for the film, and went to India to record many of the tracks using the top musicians of the country.

There are a few cuts of Western music, including a jam with Clapton, Starr and Harrison.

Since I’m not an Indian music expert, I can only assume that the Indian music is good. Again, it’s soundtrack incidental music and since I never saw the film I can’t really imagine the scenes for it. What the music did do was make me drowsy. I suppose that’s good in a way, right?

NOTES & MINUTAE: This was the first album released on Apple Records.  It was out of print for years and just popped up streaming just recently.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  Yes. They dug up a couple of tracks, and they found an alternate backing track for George’s great Beatles’ single, The Inner Light.
GRADE: C+: It’s not my bag, man. The western music cuts were just ok jams.

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