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GEORGE HARRISON – LET IT ROLL: SONGS BY GEORGE HARRISON

 
 

THE STORY SO FAR:

George Harrison’s first-ever career-spanning solo hits collection, Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison. Special packaging includes a 28-page booklet featuring previously unseen and rare photos, and newly-written liner notes by Warren Zanes. The collection’s 19 tracks have been digitally remastered by Giles Martin at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios. “Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison is a gathering of material that takes us far into the territory that was ultimately a place unique to George Harrison,” writes Warren Zanes in his liner notes essay for the new collection.

This collection is the first to span Harrison’s entire solo recording career, including the #1 Billboard Pop singles “My Sweet Lord,” “Isn’t It A Pity,” “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth),” and “Got My Mind Set On You.” Let It Roll also features live recordings of three timeless Harrison-penned Beatles songs, “Something,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and “Here Comes The Sun,” from his 1971 all-star Concert For Bangladesh benefit at Madison Square Garden.

“The keyhole into the world of George Harrison is the music itself. Yet his songs and the accomplishments for which he’s remembered are inextricably bound—and those accomplishments are, without question, eclectic in scope,” Zanes writes.

George Harrison is a twice-inducted member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a solo artist and as a member of The Beatles, and an 11-time Grammy Award winner for his recordings with The Beatles, Traveling Wilburys, and as a solo artist.

TRACK LIST

1. Got My Mind Set On You
2. Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)
3. Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)
4. My Sweet Lord
5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Live At Madison Square Garden)
6. All Things Must Pass
7. Any Road
8. This Is Love
9. All Those Years Ago
10. Marwa Blues
11. What Is Life
12. Rising Sun
13. When We Was Fab
14. Something (Live At Madison Square Garden)
15. Blow Away
16. Cheer Down
17. Here Comes The Sun (Live At Madison Square Garden)
18. I Don’t Want To Do It
19. Isn’t It A Pity

THE CRITICISM:

While Harrison’s legendary All Things Must Pass LP is heavily represented with five of the 19 tracks, the CD selects “The Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let it Roll)” over “Wah Wah” and “If Not For You.” Similarly, “Devil’s Radio” from the Cloud 9 album is nowhere to be found. Other notable omissions include “Crackerbox Palace” and “Not Guilty,” the latter of which was originally written during Harrison’s time in the Beatles. For a collection that seems to want to remind listeners of Harrison’s time with the Fab Four, its non-inclusion seems strange.
 

“Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)” and “Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)”, which follow, immediately give a fuller picture of Harrison’s talent, both as a songwriter and a guitarist. “Give Me Love”, a somber piece of early 70’s pessimism, was a number one hit, and reflected Harrison’s disillusionment with the ideals of the 60’s. “Ballad” tells the story of Sir Frank Crisp, a 19th century botanist and lawyer and whose house Harrison lived in during the 1970’s. (It also bears a somewhat striking resemblance to She & Him’s recent hit, “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?”) Harrison’s guitar shines on “Ballad” which manages to bridge the more melody minded Beatles sound while moving off in it’s own unique direction.

“All Things Must Pass”, which was rejected as a Beatles tune, (ironically during the Let It Be sessions) is one of the highlights of the album and of Harrison’s career. The title comes from the words of the Buddha, from which Harrison drew much of his inspiration. (His Concert For Bangladesh , from which the live versions on this album of his Beatles tunes are taken, is another obvious reflection of his interest in Far East culture and religion.) This song, in my mind, is equal to anything the Beatles ever did, and is by far the best solo work of any former Beatle. (Yes, even “Imagine”) Harrison spent his years in the Beatles in the shadow of the Lennon-McCartney tandem, but his songwriting, at his best, was as good, if not better, than his band mates.

This collection has reminded me how much I love George Harrison’s music, how much influence he has had on my own musical style (harmonies, slide guitar & more) and how important a songwriter and performer he was in his own right. Do yourself a favor – even if you don’t know who The Beatles were, if you like good music, give this album a chance.

If you’ve previously got a lot of Harrison’s work, then there isn’t a lot of reason to pick this up. But, there are a lot of fresh tracks and perfectly selected choices to bring in new listeners to Harrison’s music. Therefore, I recommend it to all newbies. In this day and age, how many people can that be? Still, it’s a recommended buy.

THE BREAKDOWN

Final Score: 97% –A

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