Harrison, George - All Things Must Pass

Year of Release: 2001
Label: EMI
Catalog Number: 7243-530474-2-9
Format: CD
Total Time: 119:00:00

Thirty years ago George Harrison released an ambitious and lavish three album set. The glory days of the vinyl age enabled the ex-Beatle to release a real box in order to prove to the world that next to the much praised Lennon and McCartney he was indeed a real songwriter in his own right! Now thirty years on, the black and white sleeve design of the original has made room for a colourful replica, whilst the wonders of technology have made it possible to cram three vinyl discs onto two CDs, even sporting five previously unreleased tracks.

Helped with an extensive array of friends the All Things Must Pass set is also interesting for the prog diehard for several reasons. First of all it includes the help of Yes-drummer Alan White. Alan who had been a drummer with John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band is to be heard on several tracks yet sadly it doesn't exactly say which ones, so it requires a well trained ear to distinguish Alan's work from the drumming talents of Ringo Starr and Jim Gordon. Secondly there's the inclusion of ex-Spooky Tooth keyboard player Gary Wright. Fans of Procol Harum will be delighted to know of Gary Brooker's inclusion as well. But maybe most of all the Genesis and Phil Collins freaks will have to get their hands on this re-release because for the very first time Harrison informs the world of the inclusion of "good" old Phil on congas during "The Art Of Dying." Apparently at the time of the recording it was producer Phil Spector who drafted unknown musicians into the various sessions, but thirty years on Phil is a star in his own right and of course a valuable asset towards the sales of this new album, once the media was able to spread the word around.

Mainly helped out by the remnants of the Delaney and Bonnie band who came to Britain to hang out with Eric Clapton, Harrison finally seized the opportunity to deliver a wide array of self written tunes accompanied by a huge selection of musicians each adding their distinctive touches to the variety of moods. Apple labelmates Badfinger were drafted in as well and although George now admits that the sound of the album is a bit dated due to the typical "wall of sound" production, one nevertheless has to confess this has remained a damn fine collection of tunes that certainly have stood the test of time just like all of the Beatles classics.

The set begins in a splendid way with "I'd Have You Anytime" featuring the most laidback guitar I've heard in my life. George's singing also suits the song very well. It's not the singles such as "My Sweet Lord" or "If Not For You," which were the best tracks on this offering, as a song such as "Isn't It A Pity," which certainly has to be one of the true gems on this release. Backed by gorgeous (shouldn't this be Georgeous?) strings, this is the best Beatles song the Beatles never made! George's flirting with the American country flavour sees the light of day during "If Not For You" where he comes close to a jolly Bob Dylan (the song having been written by Dylan in the first place!) and continues well through "Behind That Locked Door" including authentic steel guitar. One of the bonus tracks is a brass version of "What Is Life" omitting George's vocals, so maybe this is the first in a series of Beatles related karaoke tunes!? The first disc ends with a newly recorded version of "My Sweet Lord," this time including a completely new guitar intro and the stunning voice of Sam Brown (another prog relation seeing her work with Pink Floyd and Jon Lord!). Hare Krishna and quickly onto disc two!

Because at the time of the actual launch of the boxed set record companies didn't "allow" musicians to be credited on each other's albums, it took another thirty years to finally credit George's great friend Eric Clapton whisking his way through the many songs. In admiration for the Beatles' arty Apple venture, Harrison recorded "Apple Scruffs" as a tongue-in-cheek nod towards his own songwriting within the Beatles history. In fact, disc two mainly includes "normal" songs with maybe "Hear Me Lord" leaving the predictable mould. Including some tasty organ probably courtesy of Billy Preston (the only man ever to play both with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones! (and Syreeta!) what a lucky bastard indeed!) this song neatly blends blues and gospel together. Based on the main theme from "Congratulations" George and friends leave behind their serious mask and start to act funny during the short "It's Johnny's Birthday" which neatly blends into the jam "Plug Me In." This stompin' rocker includes Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, Eric Clapton, Dave Mason and, of course, good ol' George. And what a steamin' rocker this is, almost resulting in "Johnny Be Good." It's the kind of jam which could go on and on and on and ? With Klaus Voorman stepping into the shoes of Jack Bruce, Cream is augmented with Billy Preston and George Harrison in order to deliver the bluesy rocker "I Remember Jeep." Main attractions here are indeed Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton, helped by some spacey synth sounds as if Hawkwind were occupying the studio next door! "Thanks For The Pepperoni" is yet another of those jams where you know where it starts yet you're completely unaware of when it will ever stop. Maybe the band just performed it as a thank you for the pizzaboy who knows? The set closes with a very lengthy, slower bluesy, jazzy jam called "Out Of The Blue" incorporating some juicy sax as well as an ongoing repetitive rhythm section augmented with Gary Wright on keys. It's nothing more than warming up in the studio prior to when the real recording starts yet it delivers some sparkling moments.

All in all a wonderful re-release which sounds as fresh as if it was recorded yesterday. Boasting superb packaging this release now has to become a must have if you're a Beatles collector but also Clapton fans won't be disappointed. In the end maybe the entire package should have been credited to George Harrison and Friends. All Things Must Pass, and pass they did ? with flying colours!

George Harrison passed away on November 29, 2001.

George Harrison - All Things Must Pass

Disc One: I'd Have You Anytime (2:57) / My Sweet Lord (4:37) / Wah-Wah (5:35) / Isn't It A Pity (7:08) / What Is Life (4:22) / If Not For You (3:29) / Behind That Locked Door (3:05) / Let It Down (4:57) / Run Of The Mill (2:51) / Bonus Tracks : I Live For You (3:36) / Beware Of Darkness (3:20) / Let It Down (3:55) / What Is Life (4:22) / My Sweet Lord (2000) (4:58)

Disc Two: Beware Of Darkness (3:48) / Apple Scruffs (3:04) / Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) (3:46) / Awaiting On You All (2:45) / All Things Must Pass (3:44) / I Dig Love (4:54) / Art Of Dying (3:37) / Isn't It A Pity (Version Two) (4:45) / Hear Me Lord (5:48) / Bonus Tracks : It's Johnny's Birthday (0:49) / Plug Me In (3:18) / I Remember Jeep (8:05) / Thanks For The Pepperoni (5:32) / Out Of The Blue (11:13)

Ringo Starr, Jim Gordon, Alan White - drums, percussion
Klaus Voormann, Carl Radle - bass
Gary Wright, Bobby Whitlock, Billy Preston, Gary Brooker - keyboards
Pete Drake - pedal steel guitar
George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Dave Mason - guitar
Bobby Keys - tenor saxophone
Jim Price - trumpet
Badfinger - rhythm guitars & percussion

Wonderwall Music (1968)
Electric Sound (1969)
All Things Must Pass (1970/2001)
Concert For Bangladesh (1972)
Living In The Material World (1973)
Dark Horse (1974)
Extra Texture (1975)
Best Of George Harrison (1976)
George Harrison (1979)
Somewhere In England (1981)
Gone Troppo (1982)
Cloud Nine (1987)
Traveling Wilburys - Vol 1 (1988)
Best Of Dark Horse (1976-1989) (1989)
Traveling Wilburys - Vol 3 (1990)
Live In Japan (w/Eric Clapton) (1992)
Brainwash (2002)
The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992 (box set) (2004)

The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992 (DVD) (2004)

Genre: Rock

Origin UK

Added: March 15th 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.georgeharrison.com
Hits: 2172
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]