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George Harrison – A Quiet Storm (MVR Sampler 431)

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A Quiet Storm (MVR Sampler 431)

outer slip cover

A Quiet Storm is the final instalment of Mid Valley’s series of releases covering the complete sessions for George Harrison’s first solo album All Things Must Pass.  This is essentially a silver pressed copy of the definitive collection of outtakes on the professional CDr title The Art Of Dying (Silent Sea SS 094/095/096/097/098).  All of the material has been out before and can be found on important titles Beware Of ABKCO! (Strawberry Records STR 001), the seminal All Things Must Surface (Repo Man RPM107/108), The Making Of All Things Must Pass (both Midnight Beat (MBCD110-112) and Repo Man RPM 103-105)), A True Legend (Strawberry STR007) and Songs For Patti (G&E 648134-24-7) (the All Things Must Pass acetate).  It sounds as if Mid Valley use only the best available copies of the circulating material and the sound quality across these six discs is uniformly excellent and clear.

Most of the material in this collection date from the sessions that produced All Things Must Pass.  The initial demos were recorded at Abbey Road on May 26th, 1970 with Harrison and producer Phil Spector.  these are acoustic recordings of many of the songs that would be developed later on.  Further sessions would commence later that spring and summer with final mixing in October before the final product would be released to the public in December.  A Quiet Storm has additional material that date from Harrison’s visit with Bob Dylan in Woodstock, New York in November 1968 and from sessions with singer Doris Troy at Abbey Road in late 1969.  The songs are sessions are grouped together and presented in alphebetical order.     

Disc 1 (77:19):  Let It Down (basic tracks with vocal), Behind That Locked Door (alternate vocal take stereo remix RS1), Down To The River (outtake stereo remix RS1 (mono)), My Sweet Lord (basic tracks with vocal stereo remix RS1), Gopala Krishna (outtake 1982 stereo remix), Isn’t It A Pity (early stereo remix), I Live For You (outtake 1982 stereo remix), Beware Of Darkness (alternate vocal take stereo remix RS1), Going Down To Golders Green (outtake 1982 stereo remix (mono)), Apple Scruffs (take #2 alternate take with false start), Dera Duhn (outtake 1982 stereo remix), All Things Must Pass (alternate vocal take early stereo remix), I Dig Love (take #20 alternate vocal stereo remix RS2), I’ll Still Love You (outtake early stereo remix (mono)), Art Of Dying, (take #9 alternate vocal early stereo remix), Get Back (outtake 1982 stereo remix), Hear Me Lord (basic tracks with unedited vocal), Let It Down (alternate vocal take stereo remix RS1)  

The first disc begins and ends with two different outtakes of “Let It Down.”  The final version as it appears on the album is heavily treated with horns, Hammond organ, Eric Clapton’s slide weaving around the chorus and a deep echo on the vocals.  The take which begins A Quiet Stormis a simple run through of electric guitar, bass and drums under Harrison’s vocal originating from the acetate clocking in at 6:36.  “Let It Down” which closes the disc clocks in at 5:28.  It begins with studio chatter and retains the guitar, bass and drums arrangement but is augmented by piano and Whitlock’s Hammond softly floating beneath the song.

“Behind That Locked Door” is an alternate vocal take, stereo remix RS1 found on the second disc of the Silent Sea set.  The commercial version wasn’t as produced by Spector as other songs, so the basic instrumental arrangement between this and the final version is nearly identical with slide electric guitar, acoustic rhythm guitar, bass, drums, and piano.  The piano sounds slightly higher in the mix and this has a different Harrison vocal performance. 

“Down To The River” is a blues based number with acoustic guitar, trumpets and a yodelling vocal by Harrison.  He would revisit this song many years later and a reworked version, titled “Rocking Chair In Hawaii,” would find its way on the posthumous release Brainwashed in 2002.  This is followed by a stripped down version of the final take of “My Sweet Lord.”  This contains acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and harmonium but lacks Clapton’s slide guitar. 

“Gopala Krishna” is an unreleased song based on Krishna Mantra recorded during the Krsna sessions in 1969. which can also be found on the John Barrett tapes as well as The Art Of Dying.  It has a simple arrangement of tabla, bass guitar, an electric guitar buried deep in the mix and Hammond organ with Harrison singing incomprehensible prayers in Hindi.  This was recorded at the time of the album and was remixed in the early eighties when he was working on Gone Troppo.  This is followed by an early stereo remix of “Isn’t It A Pity.”  This has vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and maracas in a simple arrangement lacking the electric guitars from the final version.

“I Live For You” is an outtake that was left off of the original release in 1970 but included on the 30th anniversary edition in 2000.  Recorded during the Doris Troy sessions, maybe at Abbey Road, Apple or Trident during the months September – December 1969.  The version on A Quiet Stormincludes a short count in and is mixed with less echo and reverb on the vocals making it sound more immediate and less dreamy.  “Beware Of Darkness” which follows has a short count in and the organ and acoustic guitars are set much higher in the mix.  ”Going Down To Golders Green” follows and possibly dates from the same Doris Troy sessions.  This is a Harrison original, rockabilly style song with Elvis vocals discussing his adventures going to visit Badfinger.  

The outtake of “Apple Scruffs” which follows cuts in while Harrison is singing the line, “‘..in the fog and in the rain.’  How’s the sound?  Can you hear the mouth organ when its’ on the low bit?  Okay…”  There is a false start and then the rehearsal runthrough.  “Dera Duhn” is a wonderful chant, the title being derived from the city of Dehra Dun in India and was recorded at Trident Studios during the recording of The Radha Krishna Temple Apple single “Hare Krishna Mantra” during March – July 1969. This is the longer basic mix.  “All Things Must Pass” and “I Dig Love” are basic runthroughs of the studio track both with a count-in. 

“I’ll Still Love You” (aka “Whenever”) is a demo for the Harrison written song “When Every Song Is Sung.”  George tried to record it several times with many other artist, including Ronnie Spector, Cilla Black, Leon and Mary Russell, and finally Ringo. It was finally copyrighted on Nov. 28, 1972 as “When Every Song Is Sung.”  Ringo’s version was released in September 1976 on Ringo’s Rotogravure LP, titled as “I’ll Still Love You.”  “Get Back” is a strange rendition of McCartney’s song.  Recorded at the Doris Troy session in late 1969 for her LP, George spills his orange juice during the performance and tells Mal Evans to get a mop.  “Hear Me Lord” contains the basic instrumental track with the unedited vocal performance.  George shouting instructions during the performance (“bridge!”) are audible.  Finally, on disc one, “Let It Down” contains an alternate vocal track over the basic instruments.

Disc 2 (58:12):  All Things Must Pass (alternate vocal take), All Things Must Pass (early stereo remix, false start), All Things Must Pass (early stereo remix), Apple Scruffs (take 1, breakdown), Apple Scruffs (take 2, false start), Apple Scruffs (take 3 breakdown with false start), Apple Scruffs (take 4, breakdown), Apple Scruffs (take 5, breakdown), Apple Scruffs (take 6 breakdown), Apple Scruffs (take 7), Apple Scruffs (take 8 breakdown), Apple Scruffs (take 9, breakdown), Apple Scruffs (take 10, breakdown), Apple Scruffs (take 11), Apple Scruffs (take 12, breakdown), Apple Scruffs (take 13), Mama You’ve Been On My Mind/Apple Scruffs (take 14), Apple Scruffs (take 15), Apple Scruffs (take 16), Apple Scruffs (take 17), Apple Scruffs (take 18), Apple Scruffs (overdubs onto take 18, first pass), Apple Scruffs (overdubs onto take 18, second pass), Apple Scruffs (overdubs onto take 18, third pass)

The second disc starts off with three variations of the title track “All Things Must Pass.”  The first track contains a different vocal performance with much more echo than on the commercial version.  The second “All Things Must Pass” is forty-four seconds of a false start and the start of a vocal track which ends abruptly.  The third “All Things Must Pass” is the same take but with the vocals brought back closer to the mix. 

The next twenty tracks are an hour of Harrison working on “Apple Scruffs.”  It is ironic there is such detailed and clear sounding development of what is the most disposable song on the album.  The tape begins with Harrison speaking to the engineer, saying, “does it sound in tune?  Are you recording?”  He complains that his beard and moustache are interfering with the harmonica holder before he starts.  The different takes show him experimenting with the tapping rhythm, flubbing lyrics and dealing with his cracking voice on the high notes.  The final three tracks feature him laying down overdubs onto the final backing track.

Disc 3 (75:54):  Art Of Dying (demo), Art Of Dying (take 9, alternate take, early stereo remix), Art Of Dying (take 26, with faint scratch vocal), Art Of Dying (overdubs onto take 26), Art Of Dying (overdubs onto take 26), Art Of Dying (take 26, stereo remix RS9), Awaiting On You All (backing tracks with faint scratch vocals),  Awaiting On You All (overdubs onto backing tracks), Awaiting On You All (overdubs onto backing tracks), Awaiting On You All (backing tracks, stereo remix RS1), Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) (demo as “Everybody, Nobody”), Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) (backing tracks with faint scratch vocal, stereo remix RS1), Beautiful Girl (demo), Behind That Locked Door (alternate vocal take, stereo remix RS1), Behind That Locked Door (early stereo remix), Beware Of Darkness (demo), Beware Of Darkness (alternate vocal take, stereo remix RS1), Beware Of Darkness (basic tracks), Beware Of Darkness (overdubs onto basic track), Beware Of Darkness (overdubs onto basic track), Beware Of Darkness (overdubs onto basic track), Beware Of Darkness (overdubs onto basic track)

The third disc begins with the May 1970 acoustic demo for “The Art Of Dying” played to Spector in the control booth.  “This one’s ’The Art Of Dying’” Harrison says before starting.  The second is announced as take 9 and is a basic run through with piano, bass, drums, acoustic guitar, maracas and vocals.  The next four are overdubs on take 26, the final commercially released version.  The first overdub features the electric guitars, Eric Clapton playing the lead and Harrison on rhythm.  The second overdub features the electric guitars with maracas higher in the mix being laid down.  The third overdub track is the horn section being laid down on the electric guitars, maracas, and the rhythm section.  The final “The Art Of Dying” is a remix of the final version without vocals.  

The next four tracks are overdubs being applied to “Awaiting On You All,” perhaps the most heavily produced song on the LP.  The first features the instruments with a faint guide vocal buried deep in the mix.  The second track highlight the electric guitars being applied to the backing tracks.  On the third track the horn section is being recorded onto the backing tracks.  The final track features all of the instruments mixed together for the final version without vocals and with a deeper echo than on the others.  

Following “Awaiting On You All” are two tracks that would be finally be recorded as “Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll).”  The first is the acoustic demo recorded in May under the working title “Everybody, Nobody.”  The second is the final mix of electric and acoustic instruments with count-in and faint guide vocals.  Listening to the song as an instrumental is an eye opening experience because the beauty of the arrangement shines thorough.  The melody sticks in the mind and is truly haunting.  This is followed by an acoustic demo recorded in May which was untitled at the time.  It would be finished later and be released as “Beautiful Girl” on 33½ in 1976.

The two tracks of “Behind That Locked Door” do not offer interesting insights.  The first is an alternate vocal performance from the acetate, and the second is the commercial version with a slightly different mix which is light on the reverb.  

The final seven tracks on disc three are various versions of “Beware Of Darkness.”  The first track is the May acoustic demo for Spector.  “This one is the last one I wrote the other day and there’s a few words needed yet.  It’s called ‘Beware Of Darkness.’”  Even in the stripped down acoustic demo and with Harrison fighting a cold the beauty of the melody is apparent.  With more verses needed he famously adds “beware of ABKCO” at the middle.  The next track is the same instrumental mix as the commercial version with with an alternate vocal performance.  Compared the final version which Harrison sings softly with dread, this sounds much more confident and self-assured.  The effect is almost the opposite of what was used on the album. 

The next track spotlights Harrison singing the lyrics with acoustic guitar and Ringo on the drums over the keyboards and bass.  Following this is a track with Ringo and Clapton overdubbing the drums and lead guitar.  The next features the rhythm guitar being applied to the previous track.  And the final “Beware Of Darkness” features the overdub of the string section.  The track is unbalanced with the vocals and instrumental track in the right channel and the strings in the left.  It is interesting to hear since, on the commercial version, the strings are buried very deep into the mix as to be almost inaudible. 

Disc 4 (74:24):  Cosmic Empire (demo), Dehra Dun (outtake 1982 stereo remix), Down To The River (outtake stereo remix RS1 (mono)), Get Back (outtake 1982 stereo remix), Going Down To Golders Green (outtake 1982 stereo remix (mono)), Gopala Krishna (outtake 1982 stereo remix), Hear Me Lord (demo), Hear Me Lord (basic tracks), Hear Me Lord (overdub onto basic tracks), Hear Me Lord (early stereo remix), I Dig Love (take #20 stereo remixes RS1-RS2), I Dig Love (take #20 stereo remixes RS1-RS2), I Don’t Wanna Do It (demo), I Live For You (outtakes stereo remix RS1), I Live For You (1982 stereo remix), I’d Have You Anytime (demo with Bob Dylan), I’d Have You Anytime (stereo remix RS1 announcement), If Not For You (demo), If Not For You (stereo remix RS1), If Not For You (early stereo remix (mono))

Disc four begins with the rarity “Cosmic Empire.”  Dating from the May demo session, it begins with Harrison saying “This is just full of chorus voices and stuff.”  He plays the melody but decides to switch to acoustic guitar for the performance.  It is an interesting yet undeveloped track with a catchy melody and one wonders why he never revisited the song after this.  “Dehra Dun,” “Down To The River,” “Get Back,” ”Going Down To Golders Green,” and “Gopala Krishna” are the same recorded tracks as appear on disc one but with coming from another mixing session. 

The next four tracks are various takes of the final song on All Things Must Pass, “Hear Me Lord.”  The first track is the demo recorded in May but unlike most of the song on the demo this is recorded on electric guitar.  On the second track Harrison lays down the vocal performance over the basic tracks (guitar, bass, drums, organ).  His directions to the musicians are audible.  The final track is another mix of the final song with the grand piano sounding very high in the mix.  Two takes of “I Dig Love” follow.  The first is a forty-eight second fragment from take 20 with a different stereo mix and the second is the complete track with the vocals buried deep in the mix. 

“I Don’t Want To Do It” is an acoustic demo from the May sessions.  This is a cover of a little heard Bob Dylan tune which Harrison would record much later for the 1985 film Porky’s Revenge.  Two takes of the outtake “I Live For You” follow.  This is an excellent tune which would be included on the 30th anniversary remaster.  These two tracks are of the final version but the first dates from 1970 and the second from a 1982 remix.  The second is in much better sound quality.  The acoustic demo for “I’d Have You Anytime” was recorded on a portable cassette recorder at Bob Dylan’s house in Woodstock in late 1968.  It is bearly two minutes of long of Harrison and Dylan singing the song to an acoustic guitar.  It is interesting to note that Dylan sings in his Nashville Skyline country croon.  The second is a sixteen second fragment of the engineer announcing the take and cuts about before there is any music. 

The final three tracks continue documenting Harrison’s fascination with Dylan with three versions of the New Morning track “If Not For You.”  The first is the initial acoustic demo from May, several weeks after he recorded a version in New York with Bob Dylan and which is included on the Dylan Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3.  This is followed by another take of the commecial version in stereo with the piano higher in the mix.  The final track on disc four is a mix of ”If Not For You” in mono.  

Disc 5 (77:43):  I’ll Still Love You (rehearsal), I’ll Still Love You (fragment), I’ll Still Love You (early stereo remix), Isn’t It A Pity (version one) (early stereo remix (mono)), Isn’t It A Pity (version two) (take 30 RS1), It’s Johnny’s Birthday (birthday tape stereo remix), Let It Down (acoustic demo), Let It Down (alternate vocal take), Let It Down (take 8, backing tracks with faint scratch vocal), Let It Down (take 8 vocal overdub onto take 8), Let It Down (keyboard overdub onto take 8), Let It Down (guitar and horn overdubs onto take 8), Let It Down (take 8 early stereo remix with overdubs (mono)), Mother Divine (acoustic demo), My Sweet Lord (early stereo remix), My Sweet Lord (stereo remix RS 1), My Sweet Lord (stereo single remix)

The fifth disc begins with three tracks devoted to “I’ll Still Love You.”  The first, marked “rehearsal,” is really just George strumming the guitar and humming the melody while Spector complains about problems with the headphones.  The second track is a sixteen-second fragment of Harrison singing the song accompanied by the guitar and harmonium.  The third is a complete stereo mix of the complete song (the same version that is found on the first disc of this collection).  The next three tracks are stereo remixes for “Isn’t It A Pity” (version one), “Isn’t It A Pity” (version two), and “It’s Johnny’s Birthday.”  “Isn’t It A Pity” (version one) starts with a count-in and is the same as the final version except with the strings, horns, and lead guitar.  Also missing is the “Hey Jude” coda which was added later in the process.

“Isn’t It A Pity” (version two) begins with Spector’s announcement and Harrison’s count-in.  It is the same as the commercial version except for the back up singers, strings and woodwinds.  “It’s Johnny’s Birthday,” Harrison’s birthday song to John Lennon which appears on the third Apple Jams disc, is the same mix as appears except it is several seconds longer. 

The outtakes for “Let It Down” are rather extensive with seven different tracks.  The first is the stripped down acoustic demo from the initial session in May featuring just Harrison singing the words to guitar accompaniment.  The second is the same musically as the final version but with a different vocal performance with heavier echo and sounding much softer.  Some of Eric Clapton’s lead guitar riffs are also absent.  Next is take eight with the lead guitar, bass and drums prominent with the lead vocals very faint beneath the instruments.  The next track is the same except the lead vocals are added into the mix and is followed by the same take except with piano and Hammond organ joining the mix.  The next overdub adds more Eric Clapton riffs in the song.  The final “Let It Down” combines all of the overdubs from the previous tracks into song closely resembling the final track.  There are still some differences in the mix and the vocals are buried deeper into the instruments.  

“Mother Divine” exists only as an excellent quality acoustic demo from the May session.  The words banal and repetitive and the melody is not really interesting, but it would have been good to hear where he might have taken this song.  However it never got past the demo stage.  Disc five ends with three takes of “My Sweet Lord.”  The first consists of vocal, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, piano and harmonium but nothing else.  Lacking are the backup singers and lead electric guitar.  The second track is the same take as the first but with the vocals deeper in the instruments.  The final track is the original single version of “My Sweet Lord” which is several second shorter than the album version but is otherwise identical. 

Disc 6 (79:48):  Nowhere To Go (demo with Bob Dylan), Nowhere To Go (demo), Pete Drake’s Talking Steel Guitar (outtake early mono remix), Pete Drake’s Talking Steel Guitar (outtake 1982 stereo remix), Plug Me In (stereo remix RS1-RS2), Plug Me In (stereo remix RS1-RS2), Run Of The Mill (demo), Run Of The Mill (basic tracks with scratch vocals), Run Of The Mill (overdubs onto basic tracks), Run Of The Mill (overdubs onto basic tracks), Run Of The Mill (stereo remixes RS1-RS2), Run Of The Mill (stereo remixes RS1-RS2), Tell Me What Happened To You (demo), Wah Wah (demo), Wah Wah (take #3 backing tracks early stereo remix), Wah Wah (take #3 backing tracks stereo remix RS1), What Is Life (backing tracks with guide vocal), What Is Life (overdubs onto backing tracks), What Is Life (overdubs onto backing tracks), What Is Life (take #25 backing tracks stereo remix RS1), What Is Life (backing tracks early stereo remix), Window Window (demo)

The sixth and final disc of this collection starts off with a rough sounding demo of “Nowhere To Go” from Dylan’s home in November 1968.  Both Harrison and Dylan are audible singing the song before it cuts off.  The second track is a more polished version of the song recorded in studio with Harrison accompanying himself on electric guitar.  It is an intriguing song which should have been finished and released but was never finished.  “Pete Drake’s Talking Steel Guitar” is a five minute improvisation dating from the Doris Troy sessions.  Harrison is playing with the newly invented vocoder that belonged to Peter Frampton and sings dummy lyrics and bits of “Danny Boy” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

The two tracks of “Plug Me In” are the same take as found on Apple Jams but with minor variations in the mix.  Six tracks of “Run Of The Mill” follow beginning with the initial May 1970 demo.  The next is laying overdubs onto the final track with lead vocal.  Two more overdubs follow, the first with piano and the second with the horn section.  This is followed by a fifteen second fragment of count-in and the first notes of the melody before it stops.  The final “Run Of The Mill” is the commercial version with the vocals buried deeper into the instruments.  “Tell Me What Has Happened To You” is a half-baked acoustic demo from the initial sessions that contains some interesting ideas but in this form is merely an interesting exercise.

This is followed by three takes of “Wah Wah.”  The first is from the initial demo session with Harrison playing electric guitar and accompanied  by bass.  The second track starts with a count-in and reveals the laying down of the backing vocals over the instrumental mix.  The final “Wah Wah” is the instrumental track without either lead or backing vocals.  Four takes of “What Is Life” follow.  The first is the instrumental tracks with guide vocals.  The second contains the electric guitar and piano being overdubbed onto the rhythm sections.  The third take is the rhythm section, guitars and piano with the horn section being overdubbed.  The final two are complete instrumental mixes with Harrison singing the first line of the song as a guide.  The collection ends with the “silly” acoustic demo “Window Window,” a song that was never completed.  A Quiet Storm is a phenomenal sounding and packaged collection of All Things Must Pass outtakes that stands as definitive.  It is also the final part of the complete, fourteen disc collection released by Mid Valley.      

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George Harrison - A Quiet Storm (MVR Sampler 431), 2.5 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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