George Harrison, ‘All Things Must Pass – Alternates’ (Golden Oldies GS20071/2)
Disk 1 – I’d Have You Any Time (RS 1) / My Sweet Lord (RS 1) / Wah – Wah (RS 1) / Isn’t It A Pity (Version 1 – RS 1 / What Is Life (Take 25 – RS 1) / If Not For You (RS 1) / Behind That Locked Door (RS 1) / Let It Down (RS 1) / Run Of The Mill (RS 1/2) / Beware Of Darkness (RS 1) / Apple Scruffs (Take 18) / Ballad Of Sir. Frankie Crisp (Let it Roll) (RS1) / Awaiting On You All (RS 1) / All Things Must Pass (RS 1) / I Dig Love (Take 20 – RS 1/2) / Art Of Dying (Take 26 – RS 1) / Isn’t It A Pity (Version 2) (RS 1) / Hear Me Lord (RS 1) (79:49)
Disk 2 – Alternate Album – Apple Jam – Thanks For The Peperoni / Out Of the Blue / It’s Johnny’s Birthday / Plug Me In / I Remember Jeep – Additional tracks – I Live For You (RS 1) / Down To The River (RS 1) / I’ll Still Love You (Whenever) (Take 43/44) / Plug Me In (RS 1) / Plug Me In (RS 2) / It Don’t Come Easy (1970 Original Version / You (1970 Ronnie Spector session) / My Sweet Lord (1970 single mix) / What Is Life (2016 Mix) / All Things Must Pass (2020 mix) (70:37)
Of all the Beatles solo albums, there have only been a handful that have had the recordings opened up sufficiently. The Lennon estate have done a great job of tending to the ‘Plastic Ono Band’ and ‘Imagine’, Yellow Dog and Vigotone did the rest of the work. However, McCartney and Starr have been much tighter holding on to the keys. Both have the virtue of being alive and still recording which might be one reason that nothing escapes – Macca doesn’t think that anyone wants to hear his past-sessions either and so drips out a couple of piecemeal snippets occasionally – A dumb move.
Presumably, the record company doesn’t think that anyone needs the takes from ‘Ringo’ and so doesn’t bother suggesting a boxed set for the market – A smart move.
Rather annoyingly George stands astride the market – Most of the work already done by the bootleggers for ATMP – Midnight Beat, Strawberry and Unicorn have all pushed product featuring various outtakes or session mixes from possibly the most beloved solo album but where George and his estate have stood firm on not letting you peek behind the magicians curtains (Until this year!), the boots have been both brilliant and frustrating – They allow enough detail to entice and excite – but don’t go far enough in to revealing what went on in Friar Park at the time. Various other bootleggers have wrung out their own variations over the years as, well, who feels that they’ve ever got too much?
Now that the multi-disk 51st anniversary set has been announced (At time of writing) and we have those bootlegs as nature intended or cloned from the originals do we need another compilation? Apparently, the answer is yes.
The Goldies label – Who brought us some very nice ‘Get Back’ compilations that you can read about on this website have decided that THEY want a slice of the All Thing Must Pie and have delivered their own variation on what they think we want.
Taking from various boots that featured early sections derived from multi-track tapes or pre-production acetates, generally all de-Spectorised, these takes are a great argument for never have letting Phil produce in the first place and also hearing these takes as naked as they could generally be without the 2020 remix. If they’re from tape, they sound clear and pure here, if they’re from acetate, you may detect the odd click and pop here and there (A couple of omissions though as some of the tracks – Though speed corrected – feature a bit of a nagging draggy sound through the right channel once the volume raises, no doubt via a rip from a scratchy plate) though a lot of this seems to have been washed off using modern tech and it sounds beautiful.
All rounded off, the label have included some (un)official rarities that have only been released in the far past as well as recent(ish) reissues – the three best known outtakes from the sessions (Down To The River, I Live For You, I’ll Still Love You – Only two of these might have maybe made for the argument suggesting they were a mistake to discard), the original version of ‘It Don’t Come Easy’ (The George song that was written and demo’d for Ringo), a couple of different stereo mixes of one of the ever popular Apple Jams as well as ‘You’, a track that George would ultimately resurrect later in the decade but demo’d at the sessions.
There’s also an era-specific single mix from the time. Add to the mix a couple of noughties-era ATMP mixes (Including, naughtily enough, the 2020 mix of ATMP – If that’s an indication of how things are going, the boxed set is going to be pretty, fucking amazing) it’s pretty damn complete (If they could have included the Billy Preston jams from the Empress Valley “single”, that would have been great, though would have meant a massive over-run on the CD itself, so .. there are some John Barratt takes that are missing that I might have switched in too .. )
The package once again comes with it’s own variation on that famous cover – Using one of the alternate photos from the shoot. The label have issued the set with the collectors dream – A neat little obi-strip – that completes the look.
Each and every George release sells off of it’s own regards anyway but to have something that’s compact, collectible and packed with goodies without being too exhaustive, maybe, this set holds it’s own. I can’t hold my argument as, as the owner of every ATMP boot I’ve found so far, I needed this one. If you’re a George fan, I think you’ll want it too.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)