George Harrison and Bob Dylan “Legends Working Together” ( No. Mftr. Listed )
Recorded at the Columbia Studio B, May 1st 1970 – Ghost Rider In The Sky / Cupid / All I Have To Do Is Dream / Gates Of Eden / I Threw It All Away / I Don’t Believe You / Matchbox / True Love / Telephone Line / Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance / Rainy Day Women / Song To Woody / Mama You’ve Been On My Mind / Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright / Yesterday / Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues / Da Doo Ron Ron / One Too Many Mornings / Working On A Guru / If Not For You – Bonus Tracks – Nowhere To Go (1968 demo) / I’d Have You Anytime (1968 demo) / If Not For You (Rehearsal at Concert for Bangla Desh 1971) / If Not For You (Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary 1992) / Absolutely Sweet Marie (Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary 1992)
DISC 2 – All Things Must Pass (Rough mix) / My Sweet Lord (Rough mix with count-in) / Isn’t It A Pity (Rough mix – version 2 – with count-in) / Wah Wah (Demo / rehearsal) / Wah Wah (Take 3 instrumental) / What Is Life (Rough mix, instrumental) / If Not For You (Rough mix) / Behind That Locked Door (Rough mix) / Let It Roll (Rough mix) / Run Of The Mill (Demo Take 1) / Beware Of Darkness (Demo) / Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) (Rough mix instrumental) / Awaiting On You All (Rough mix instrumental) / Art Of Dying (Take 9) / Hear Me Lord (Demo with electric guitar) / I Live For You (Outtake) / Plug Me In (Rough mix) – Bonus Track – Abandoned Love (Bob Dylan Cover)
The collaboration between Bob Dylan and George Harrison has been much bootlegged before. This double CD set is the just the latest in a line of cataloguing the Nashville rehearsals between the two, the New York demos that they cut together and George’s tribute to Bob on the 30th anniversary of Dylan’s launch as a recorded artist along with some prime cuts from the sessions for George’s first solo album since leaving the Beatles.
The bulk of the first disk (The “Bob” disk) is made up of the recordings from “Possum Belly Overalls” (Gold Standard) reviewed substantially on this site here – if you missed that release the first time around and don’t seem to be able to find a copy anywhere now, you’ll be pleased to know, there’s scant difference to that source.
The rest of the disk is tailed off with the demos that George and Bob recorded in situ at the Dylan residence in 1968. A scrappy piece of a run through where George leads Bob through the words while sounding more like George has essentially finished off the song, he’s just recording the two at work for his own amusement.
A sole track from back stage at the Concert For Bangladesh follows (“If Not For You”) as George again sings one of his own in the hope that the pair might play this duet on stage. It was included as an extra on the home DVD release of the concert’s movie and is great fidelity and a lovely performance.
The song is played again 21 years later by George at Dylan’s 30th anniversary bash, this time without Bob but with a group consisting of the remaining members of Booker T. and the M.G.s along with Anton Fig, Jim Keltner (One of George’s favourite drummers) and G.E. Smith. Of the two songs performed by George, “If Not For You” was broadcast but never made it on to the official VHS or LP release. “Absolutely Sweet Marie”, the second song performed by George and band, was.
Introduced by Chrissie Hynde, George’s beautiful electric takes on these tracks find him in fine voice after stretching out his vocal chords on his late 1991 Japanese tour. He does his very best to elongate the ‘Ooo’ rhyming words in tribute to a Dylanish style and sounds happier than he did on that Far East tour.
Disk two contains a collection of the best of the George harrison boots that appeared in the early to mid 90’s – namely “Beware Of ABKCO”, “Songs For Patti” and “The Making Of All Things Must Pass”. While not a straight copy of either of these disks it’s a nice compilation of the five of them for those that like their Beatles outtakes manageable and not over 5 or 6 disks. As they’re adopted from these releases, the sound on these tracks is wonderful.
George’s other Dylan cover “Abandoned Love” comes from sessions that George recorded in the 1980’s while recording his contribution for the Porky’s film sound track. A Dylan original that was never released as intended but came out belatedly on the “Biograph” boxed set ( The rest of it’s history is easily Googleable.) Previously available on Vigotone / Pegboy’s “12 Arnold Grove”, this studio demo wraps up the set quite nicely.
This release was originally produced on a CDR set of, I believe, Japanese origin. This set upgrades it to a silver set but changes the artwork to something a little less attractive. As mentioned, if you missed “Possum Belly Overalls” previously and have no need for the various Harrison ATMP CDs then this is a great set for you. If you’re a completist, lets hope there are more outtakes that are still waiting to be heard.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)