George Harrison & Ravi Shankar – East & West, Yin & Yang (Yellow Cat YC 074)
East & West, Yin & Yang (Yellow Cat YC 074)
(73:42): Raga Private Instruction (with George & Ravi), David Frost Show (with George & Ravi), All Things Must Pass (acoustic guitar rendition, EPK 2001), “I like a lot of music”, Ride Rajbun (with Dhani Harrison and Ravi Shankar), Yin & Yang (with George & Ravi), All Things Must Pass (acoustic guitar rendition), Bangla Desh (with George & Ravi), Prabhujee (with George & Ravi), Anoushka (EPK with George & Ravi), “40 Years” (ATMP EPK 2001), Saturday Night Live NBC-TV: Here Comes The Sun (with Paul Simon), Saturday Night Live NBC-TV: Homeward Bound (with Paul Simon), Mo (promotional tribute song), Abandoned Love (Bob Dylan, unreleased studio recording), Rockline Radio Medley (acoustic guitar renditions), Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea (pre-recorded performance), Don’t Try To Own Me (vocals only, with Gary Wright), Here Comes Emerson (acoustic guitar rendition), Your True Love (Carl Perkins Memorial Service), All Things Must Pass (acoustic guitar rendition)
East & West, Yin & Yang was released by Yellow Cat in July, 2002 about ten months after the passing of George Harrison. This is a one disc tribute filled with interviews, rarities, and difficult to find tracks scattered throughout his solo career in chronological order with emphasis upon his work with Indian classical music in general and Ravi Shankar in particular. The sound quality on of these tracks is generally excellent with a majority taken from professional sources.
The first track is a ninety second clip from the rare film Raga, East Meets West, filmed at Big Sur, California on June 10th, 1968. In it Shankar confesses his confusion in hearing sitars in popular music and how Harrison “really wanted to learn” when he first approached him to learn the instrument. The “David Frost Show” clip comes from December 3rd, 1971 and is three minutes long. Harrison discusses how long he played sitar and his returning to play the sitar after many years. “All Things Must Pass” begins with a few words from George, saying how “philosophical” the lyrics are and a short acoustic guitar rendition. This comes from the electronic press kit for ATMP in January 2001 lasting forty-one seconds.
“I like a lot of music” is a minute long clip from a press conference in Sydney on November 11th, 1985 during a promo tour with Derek Taylor to promote the press secretary’s memoirs 50 Years Adrift. He states that his favorite music is Indian classical music and his favorite rock and roll artists are Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Bob Dylan who “says more in one song than the average songwriter said in many lifetimes.” It ends with Harrison saying how the future is now for him.
“Ride Rajbun” is a song from the very rare soundtrack for The Bunbury Tails. Harrison wrote the tune in March 1988 and the soundtrack was released in October 1992. This is a project by the Bee Gees and David English for the cartoon “The Bunburys” and the Bee Gees play reggae inspired songs like “We’re The Bunburys” and “Bunbury Afternoon.” Perhaps the best song in the collection is Eric Clapton’s “Fight The Good Fight.” Harrison’s song is a five minute track in the Indian classical style and is joined by his son Dhani.
The next four tracks are a document of Harrison and Shankar’s appearance on VH1, recorded on May 14th, 1997 and televised on July 24th. They were in New York to promote Shankar’s latest CD Chants Of India. The ten minute interview is conducted with both artists where they discuss the work. Fugelsang convinces Harrison to sing a Beatle song, but he responds with a rough two minute version of “All Things Must Pass.” “Bangla Desh” contains a clip of the song from the film as they discuss the famous benefit concert from 1971 and it ends with Shankar’s own composition “Prabhujee.” Finally there is a short radio spot for Chants Of India. This was taped off of the television and a better sounding version can be found on Yin & Yang With Fugelsang (Queensboro, QBR-002). “Anoushka” is George’s contribution to Anoushka Shankar’s CD Anoushka in 1999. “40 years” is a fifty second clip from an interview where Harrison discusses the transitiveness of time and the immortality of the soul.
The following two songs, “Here Comes The Sun” and “Homeward Bound,” date from Harrison’s appearance on the November 20th, 1976 episode of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” Paul Simon was both the host and musical guest and sings the two classics as a duet with Harrison, each trading the verses. The episode famously began with Simon entering the studio, passing Chevy Chase busking by the front door, and passing by Harrison who is arguing with producer Lorne Michael about receiving part of the check he offered earlier in the year for the Beatles reunion on the show. Although it is great to hear these two tracks, they fall outside the concept of this set.
“Mo” was written spring 1977 tribute to Warner Brother’s executive Mo Ostin. Harrison played it at the exutive’s 50th birthday and appears on the very rare Mo’s Songs (Warner Bros. PRO-MO-1994). This is a promotional 6-CD mini album set produced by the artists and staff of Warner Brothers Records and presented to Mo Ostin at his retirement party in December 1994. Superior crafted in a custom photo-album style bound packaging, the CDs include songs by George Harrison, John Lennon, The Travelling Wilburys, REM, Madonna, Neil Young, Rod Stewart, Tiny Tim, Grateful Dead, Prince and many others. Rarely offered for sale as most of the copies went to employees / attendees of the farewell dinner. The 600 copies for employees were shrink-wrapped with a paper insert. The personal copies for Mo and producer Jeff Gold were issued with a die-cut custom-printed outer cardboard box with the title in silver print.
“Abandoned Love” is a cover of a song written by Bob Dylan for Desire but was omitted in favor of Joey and was finally released in 1985 on Biograph. The following “rockline medley” is a nine minute track from Harrison’s appearance on rockline radio on February 10th, 1988 in Los Angeles, several months after the release of Cloud 9. He is joined by Jeff Lynne and this predates the Travelling Wilburys by several months. During the medley Harrison sings “Drive My Car,” “Here Comes The Sun,” “The Bells Of Rhymney,” “Mr. Tambourine Man” (“you write too many words, Bob” he quips), “Take Me As I Am,” “That’s Alright,” “Let It Be Me,” “Something,” and ends with Dylan’s “Every Grain Of Sand.” He also takes phone calls from listeners and engages in funny exchanges. “I liked the album quite a bit” one caller says. “Quite a bit?? Well get off the line, man. If you don’t love it get off the line.”
“Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea” is a tribute to George Formby recorded 1991 in London and broadcast on channel 4 on June 6th, 1992. “Don’t Try To Own Me” is an a capella version of George and Gary Wright fooling around with the lyrics (“I don’t need another wounded heart”) during a break for a promotional videoclip for “Don’t Try To Own Me.”
“Here Comes Emerson” George appeared (via tape) from the lawn of his Henley-On-Thames, Friar Park estate on this Brazilian TV programme “Gente Que Brilha,” broadcast on October 31, 1996, performing an off-the-cuff version of “Here Comes The Sun” with amended lyrics for his Formula 1 racing pal Emerson Fittipaldi, George was congratulating Emerson on his recovery from a recent plane crash in Araraquara, Brazil, in which he had fractured his lower back. Apparently the two liked to share a drink now and then as was reflected in the modified lyrics.
“Your True Love” Four days after good friend Carl Perkins died on January 19, 1998 following a long battle with cancer, George performed this number at Perkin’s memorial service at the urging of Wynonna Judd. Armed with Ricky Skagg’s acoustic guitar, George paid tribute to his old pal, backed by Garth Brooks, Johnny Rivers and other music glitterati. This took place at the R.E. Womack Memorial Chapel, Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee on January 23, 1998. Yin & Yang, East & West is a fitting tribute for Harrison and a good way to obtain some of the rarest of the rare tracks scattered over many different releases. Yellow Cat include an eight page booklet with detailed liner notes and a note from Harrison.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)George Harrison & Ravi Shankar - East & West, Yin & Yang (Yellow Cat YC 074),