Thursday, July 12, 2012
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: GEORGE HARRISON - EARLY TAKES VOL. 1
It's mostly demos, rough studio versions of the songs as Harrison sketched out the tune, either solo or with a couple of players. For this first volume, they've grabbed many of the big ones, including My Sweet Lord, All Things Must Pass, and Run Of The Mill. There's actually six cuts here from the All Things Must Pass album, his most popular. But it was also his first post-Beatles album too, so it looks like there's plenty to come from the rest. No doubt collectors are happy about a couple of cover versions as well, songs that didn't appear on his regular albums. We hear him tackle Dylan's Mama You've Been On My Mind, and also the old Everly Brothers classic Let It Be Me, George singing both harmony parts.
Demos can sometimes be a bit of a letdown, either unpolished and dull, or quite similar to the finished versions. Here, Harrison has yet to meet Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound, as recorded on the finished All Things Must Pass album. Stripped down, we discover he's just as strong without all the extra players and parts. Everything is pretty much there that makes the songs on that album so special; his acoustic guitar, a little slide, that mellow voice, and especially strong lyrics at this point. Some of these are songs he been storing for the last two years in The Beatles, unable to get this sudden flurry of great tunes onto the later albums packed with Lennon and McCartney tracks. They were probably polished to perfection as acoustic numbers, as Harrison waited for his chance to get them to the public.
There's no word yet on when the next volume will come, but Olivia Harrison has promised it, and according to both her and producer Giles Martin (son of George), there is lots more to come.