George Harrison, ‘All Things Must Pass Sessions’ (Goldies GS2008CD1/2)
DEMO AND OUTTAKES – ISN’T IT A PITY (Apple Studio Demo) – Get Back Sessions at Apple Studio, London January 26th 1969 / RUN OF THE MILL / ART OF DYING / EVERYBODY NOBODY / WAH-WAH / WINDOW WINDOW / BEAUTIFUL GIRL / BEWARE OF DARKNESS / LET IT DOWN / TELL ME WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU / HEAR ME LORD / NOWHERE TO GO / COSMIC EMPIRE / MOTHER DIVINE / I DON’T WANT TO DO IT / IF NOT FOR YOU – Pre-Production Session at Abbey Road Studios, London May 27th 1970
DEHRA DUN / I LIVE FOR YOU / GOING DOWN TO GOLDERS GREEN / GOPALA KRISHNA / GET BACK / PETE DRAKE’S TALKING STEEL GUITAR
Sessions at Abbey Road Studios / Trident Studios, London May-October 1970
MULTI-TRACK OVERDUB SESSIONS / WHAT IS LIFE (Guitar And Piano Overdub) / BEWARE OF DARKNESS (Basic Track) / LET IT DOWN (Vocal Overdub) / HEAR ME LORD (Piano Overdub) / AWAITING ON YOU ALL (Guitar And Piano/Organ Overdub) / RUN OF THE MILL (Vocal And Piano/Organ Overdub) / ART OF DYING (Percussion And Piano Overdub) / BEWARE OF DARKNESS (Guitar Mix Overdub) / LET IT DOWN (Guitar And Piano/Organ Overdub) / WHAT IS LIFE (Horn Section Overdub) / BEWARE OF DARKNESS (Orchestra Overdub) / AWAITING ON YOU ALL (Horn Section Overdub) / RUN OF THE MILL (Horn Section Overdub) / ART OF DYING (Horn Section Overdub) / APPLE SCRUFFS (Take 18 More Vocal Overdub) – Sessions at Abbey Road Studios / Trident Studios, London May-October 1970
UNRELEASED CASSETTE TAPE SAMPLER – DEHRA DUN – SEE YOURSELF – GOING TO GOLDERS GREEN – EVERYBODY NOBODY – HERE COMES THE SUN – BEHIND THAT LOCKED DOOR – ALL THINGS MUST PASS – LET IT DOWN – COME AND GET IT – FIVE YEAR SLOG (SON OF TAXMAN) – WINDOW WINDOW – LAY LADY LAY – MOTHER DIVINE – GET OUTTA BED YOU LAZY BUGGER – WE’RE GONNA MOVE – MR.TAMBOURINE MAN – LONG, LONG, LONG – Sessions at Clatterbridge Rd, Birkenhead, Wirral UK May 1970 (77:21)
Goldies second celebration of George Harrison’s triple LP filibuster, ‘All Things Must Pass’ goes on to feature the sessions rather than outtakes that went on to form this majestic album. There is a lot there that you will very probably own if you’re a long standing George fan, however, thanks to a flight of downloading, there will also be works here that you’ll very possibly have heard but will be less than familiar with and make their premier on silver disk. There’s a reason for that, maybe, but we’ll discuss that a little later in the review.
As mentioned, disk one is made up of maybe one of the most famous solo Beatles bootlegs or indeed boots full stop of all time. The first track is a Get Back session outtake that has circulated on many boots for many years. A diminutive version of this heavily orchestrated track, here George is on acoustic with minimal backing by the rest of the band.
Tracks two to sixteen are from the infamous bootleg, ‘Beware Of ABKCO’, first released in 1999 on the Strawberry label then rehashed countless times since (Hey, I have a few of these in my collection!) – My review of the initial release can, helpfully, be found here.
The rest of the disk is rounded of with material from the John Barrett tapes, also released in 1998/1999 when these cassettes made themselves out on to the collectors market in a big way. A few companies nixed them from their schedules preferring to concentrate on the Beatles output from these tapes, there were other solo compilations too – They all fit within the same time frame for ATMP however so on they go.
Disk two features a multitude of session outtakes in fantastic quality. A break down; WHAT IS LIFE (Guitar And Piano Overdub) – A near-instrumental version of this track, preceded by a piano riff and George’s count in. The only lyrics are the first three words as George lines up the parameters of the song before the first, second and third verses. It ends with a falling apart of the session – presumably where the band would have then faded out. BEWARE OF DARKNESS (Basic Track) – George vox, acoustic guitar, drums and xylophone with bits of bleed-through from the other over dubs (piano, electric guitar)
LET IT DOWN (Vocal Overdub) – An extraordinary take pushing George’s electric guitar, bass and drums, joined on the chorus by Eric and Duane on harmonies. Imagine if THIS had been the finished track – It sounds just as menacing reference – Pink Moon era Nick Drake covering a Harrisong. It also adds a whole two minutes extra to it’s running time. HEAR ME LORD (Piano Overdub) – A sparser take than the album track with Nicky Hopkin’s piano track to the fore with organ, guitar below and a rough vocal line. George grinningly asks if the band are happy with that take at the end.
AWAITING ON YOU ALL (Guitar And Piano/Organ Overdub) – Featuring an almost muted guide vocal, this take is very much piano / bass / slide, no horns. There is a count-in at the very start. RUN OF THE MILL (Vocal And Piano/Organ Overdub) – Again, hornless and naked baring the mournful piano and sluggish organ lines. There is also a double-tracked George vocal. It concludes to a comment by George seemly wondering if he could have added more.
ART OF DYING (Percussion And Piano Overdub) – Consisting of George’s spare guitar lines, bass and drums. There are no piano lines to be heard! This ends with a muffled line of studio chatter and some spare guitar lines. BEWARE OF DARKNESS (Guitar Mix Overdub) – Begins with a couple of stray guitar notes but is once again a very spare take of the guitar tracks before the wall of sound.
LET IT DOWN (Guitar And Piano/Organ Overdub) – Another pre-overdub mix. Guitar, piano, bass, drums and organ with trumpet along the mix. George sounds like he’s singing from a box, though more like likely he’s singing through a Leslie-speaker. There’s a natural ending with George incredulous that they’ve found themselves an ending. WHAT IS LIFE (Horn Section Overdub) – Pretty much the same as track one but with a layer of horns prior to them getting topped up.
BEWARE OF DARKNESS (Orchestra Overdub) – Sweeping strings are layered upon this one in a mix that preceeds the finished article. Ends with a clipped announcement from the control room. AWAITING ON YOU ALL (Horn Section Overdub) – No count in, the other instruments are practically buried under the orchestration and horns. Someone apologises to George for a wrong chord.
RUN OF THE MILL (Horn Section Overdub) – A much smaller rinse of horn overdubs here. ART OF DYING (Horn Section Overdub) – The layer of horns are added here. Very delicately placed, it appears that this is the very base of where Phil anticipates that the orchestra will go.
APPLE SCRUFFS (Take 18 More Vocal Overdub) – One before the final take of this ode to the Apple followers. Discernible at the end of the choruses for the showy ‘dang-a-dang’ choruses, the track also features part of the final guitar overdub.
The rest of the disk is completed with the ‘Hospital Tape’, as down to the research by Mark Ashworth revealed, George played a private audience to his mum while she was being treated at Clatterbridge Hospital in Bebington, The Wirral. I’ve included the link to Mark’s blog here for the rundown. Here the songs are as they were posted on YouTube – As snippets but unedited meaning the track lasts 12:27 – They’re no better quality than, if you were quick enough to catch them on all music or YouTube, their prior appearance.With respect to the circumstances, it would still be great to hear the unedited tape, however, without knowing the full extent of the conversations included within, this might be the best way to listen thus far.
Unless the Goldies label are planning a third release of these tracks, the set is still slightly incomplete – The acetates that Strawberry, Repro-Man / Unicorn have all released are in accounted for as are the various takes of ‘Apple Scruffs’ that circulate. We can still live in hope that the archives still hold some takes that weren’t a feature on the ATMP official boxed set (The Allmusic dump in 2020 seemed to suggest that there was MUCH more that the Harrison estate passed over too)
Still a very enjoyable set, it features enough interest if you are looking for something to add to the collection but if you’re insatiable for Harrisongs, you’ll still have a bit of digging to do.