George Harrison, ‘Twenty Years Adrift’ (White Books / White Publications 1129_2001)
You / Dark Horse / I Don’t Want To Do It / While My Guitar Gently Weeps / Dehrarun / Awaiting On You All / That’s What It Takes / Who Can See It / The Day The World Gets’Round / It Don’t Come Easy / Mo / Beautiful Girl / While My Guitar Gently Weeps / My Sweet Lord / Give Me Love / Radhe Shaam / Sour Milk Sea / This Guitar / Dream Away (79:39)
Released in the East is this compilation of George Harrison rarities and outtakes. The source is apparently a mixture of a DAT cassette tape from a Japanese collector, Mr. Leg, who set about upgrading his collection from regular tapes for archival purposes. These DATs were burned on to a limited edition of twenty CDRs and distributed around a small and clandestine group of collectors in 2001, ‘Entomology’ style. 20 years later, they have now been liberated and form part of this release. The rest of the release has White Books adding a few extra rarities from the recent past. The border lines are not made clear but, to me, I’d make an educated guess that tracks 1-16 are from the original tapes, the rest a little more filler.
None of the outtakes here are new to circulation, however, the white books label suggest that because of the source, this should be the very best versions of these tracks that you’ll own. Here’s a breakdown;
‘You’ (All Things Must Pass session from master DAT) – The same as Midnight Beat’s ‘The Making Of All Things Must Pass’ boxed set. The song, originally written for Ronnie Spector, is band demoed in the studio. The CD has a digital slip at 0:33, though this could also be part of the source material, I struggled to get the CD to play in my machine the first time around.
‘Dark Horse’ (Home demo, 1974, from acetate) – This acetate sounds a lot like the acoustic version played for Allan Freeman for his ‘Rock Around The World broadcast from 1974. That it’s about 4 times as long is a solid give away, however. This version was also released, cleaned up, on the GH boxed set The Apple Years 1968-1975.
‘I Don’t Want To Do It’ (Taken from test press vinyl) – One of the real oddities from George’s catalogue, most famously it appeared on the soundtrack to ‘Porky’s Revenge’ and, despite being a single success, doesn’t seem to have stuck around for long enough. It’s a lighter version of the track before being beefed up for commercial release – It doesn’t appear to sound like it was taken from vinyl, however, it sounds much more like the version released on Pegboy’s, ’Somewhere In England’.
‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (Yokahama, Japan. 3rd row recording from 1st generation tape) A somewhat distant audience tape from George and bands appearance in Yokahama, Japan on the 1991 tour. There’s a very excitable audience all over this while a Sony recorder is obviously secreted around. It’s a lovely performance, however, a real dip in quality for this rarities comp.
‘Dehradun / Any Road Will Take You There ’ (Alternate take, 1970 from master DAT) – ‘Alternate’ being a little cloudy here as it sounds exactly like the recording that has circulated from the John Barrett tapes since 1999. ‘Officially unreleased’ would be more appropriate here.
‘Awaiting On You All’ (Unreleased mix from master dat) – A live take from what sounds like the 1974 tour. A spirited and lively take from this tour.
‘That’s What It Takes’ (Unreleased early mix from master DAT) – An alternate take that was mixed and added to tape to offer to Mo Austin before the release of ‘Cloud 9’ and before the final over dubs were added.
‘Who Can See It’ (Live recording, Vancouver 1974 from Baby Moon vinyl) – A horrid sounding audience tape lifted from an old crackly vinyl bootleg. Of the limited pressing of the bootleg, some versions came without this track where it was added to an even more limited run.
‘The Day The World Gets Round’ (Basic track 1973 from acetate) – This take first appeared on Roaring Mouse’s ‘Living In The Alternate World’. I would suggest that it’s the same take as there is a skip at 1:16 also apparent on the Roaring Mouse CD.
‘It Don’t Come Easy’ (George’s demo from master DAT) – Not a demo as such, this is a full studio run through but with George’s vocals replacing that of Ringo’s. The track first appeared on Orange / Yellow Dogs ‘John, Paul, George and Ringo’, also appearing on Midnight Beat’s shaped single disk, ‘It Don’t Come Easy’, it sounds as good as it does there too.
‘Mo’ (No commercial release from acetate) – This cringy tribute to Mo Austin which thankfully never made it out of the studio ideas department to much wider speculation, however, it has made the listing on pretty much every unofficial George CD compilation from the year dot. I would suggest this is also a tape copy as opposed to acetate.
‘Beautiful Girl’ (Longer take, 1970, from master DAT) – Previously first heard on ‘Beware Of ABKCO’, this wide stereo studio demo performed for Phil Spector is listed as a longer take. At 3:17, it features a rounding off of George turning over his sheet music and the sounds of him trying to shift a bit of a heavy cold.
‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (Audience recording 1971 from old bootleg) – Another just-about-average quality recording from an old bootleg. This would appear to be taken from a ‘Concert For Bangladesh’ bootleg (The only live shows from 1971).
‘My Sweet Lord’ (Demo 1970 from acetate) – Complete with count in, this acoustic version of George’s biggest hit. The crackles from the source may suggest that it was taken from Black Dog’s ‘All Things Must Pass Acetate’.
‘Ding Dong’ (Demo 1974 from demo cassette tape) – This demo features from an old cassette recorded tape. It’s of a good quality though it suffers with some terrible tape crunch towards the last 3rd of the track
‘Give Me Love’ (LA show 1974 – Soundboard recording by Bill Graham) – A shrill sounding soundboard tape that was apparently recorded on November 12, 1974 though there’s very little evidence to back that up.
‘Radhe Shaam’ (1968 unheard song from Radio Merseyside, 2021) – Unearthed in late 2021 on a local BBC radio news station (More info can be found on the Daily Beatle), this Indian / rock cross over is quieter than a lot of the source material already on this set (As it’s supplemental to the Mr. Leg tape obviously)
‘Sour Milk Sea’ (Esher demo, 1968 with count in) – An obvious outfake using the Esher demo mixed with an instrumental take of the Jackie Lomax version.
‘This Guitar’ (Platinum Weird, 1992, from original demo master) – Released on Dave Stewart and Kara DioGuardi’s “Platinum Weird” project though it was never used. This demo saw release on the 2014 re-release of George’s, ‘Extra Texture’ and also appears here.
‘Dream Away’ (Withdrawn soundtrack CD) – Originally written for the “Time Bandits” soundtrack, this version is different to the “Gone Troppo” soundtrack in that it features an extended intro made especially for the film. The soundtrack having been long deleted, this is the best way to easily catch this version of the song.
Though it’s a nice compilation – Baring a few couple of rare promo oddities – Available if you’re taking a deep dive in to the internet, nicely rounded up here. This hotch-potch of a compilation was no doubt quite the grab 20 years ago – Nowadays, not so much – but still essential for a few rarities.