George Harrison – All Things Must Pass (US stereo) (MVR Limited Sampler)

All Things Must Pass (US stereo) (MVR Limited Sampler)

outer slip cover for the All Things Must Pass collection on Mid Valley

Disc 1 (76:11):  I’d Have Your Anytime, My Sweet Lord, My Sweet Lord, Wah-Wah, Isn’t It A Pity, What Is Life, If Not For You, Behind That Locked Door, Behind That Locked Door, Let It Down, Run Of The Mill, Beware Of Darkness, Apple Scruffs, Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll), Awaiting On You All, All Things Must Pass, I Dig Love, Art Of Dying, Isn’t It A Pity, Hear Me Lord

Disc 2 (29:04): Out Of The Blue, It’s Johnny’s Birthday, Plug Me In, I Remember Jeep, Thanks For The Pepperoni

Mid Valley released the needle drop of the stereo All Things Must Pass several months ago using the well known Dr. Ebbett transfer.  This is identical to the silver pressed Dr. Ebbett released in sound quality and track times.  The only difference is that Mid Valley utilize much better artwork.  The insert is an eight page booklet with photos of the LP labels from the original release, much like the mono transfer where they duplicated the Brazilian labels.  This is for those who want the stereo with great artwork and to complete the Mid Valley All Things Must Pass boxset which also includes the mono, A Quiet Storm and The Art Of Darkness

Many collectors complain that the 30th anniversary edition, while much louder, is taxing to get through and one can suffer from “listener’s fatigue.”  Spector produced the LP to be a massive wall of sound with multitudes of instruments doubling one another so that much of the music is felt rather than heard.  The officially remastered edition, by bringing up the volume and fidelity, is an onslaught of music and it’s hard to determine what to focus your attention. 

Another valid concern is the addition of bonus tracks on both discs disrupt the flow of the original sequence.  And the “apple jams” on disc three were rearranged to follow the more “proper” sequence.  Contrary to the review of the other Dr. Ebbett pressed release, this is an excellent transfer worth having.  The Dr. Ebbett is more faithful to the original vinyl in sound and sequence and is no wonder it has received praises from collectors since it was released.  This release by Mid Valley is recommended for the artwork, but either this or the more affordable Dr. Ebbett silver release, since they are equal in sound quality, are recommended to collectors.

Author Nicholas Schaffner, in his masterpiece The Beatles Forever, writes:

All Things Must Pass has been characterized by Melody Maker’s Richard Williams as ‘the rock equivalent of the shock felt by pre-war moviegoers when Garbo first opened her mouth in a talkie: Garbo talks! — Harrison is free!’ It was certainly a thrilling occasion not only for the quiet Beatle, but also for fans who, having long placed their bets on the dark horse of the group, were at last being shown the jackpot.

“The very fact that the Beatles had kept George’s flowering talents so under wraps proved to be his secret weapon. By mid-1970 he had accumulated enough material to fill no mere double album, but a triple — rock’s first elegantly boxed three-record set. The final disc, containing superstar jam sessions revolving around the usual three chords, may have been dispensable; but on the two main L.P.’s Harrison generally sustains the high standard set by his compositions on the White Album and Abbey Road — even if much of All Things Must Pass would have seemed out of place on those Beatle albums. One can hardly picture John and Paul Hare Krishna-ing along with ‘My Sweet Lord.’

“George painted his masterpiece at a time when both he and his audience still believed music could change the world. If Lennon’s studio was his soap-box, then Harrison’s was his pulpit. Though increasingly jaded rock critics sometimes found tart words for his sermons, George’s music, at least, seemed to indicate that his mystical explorations had unlocked creative resources that only three years earlier few of his fans could have imagined existed.

All Things Must Pass consists primarily of Hindu scripture set to music, and each of the major tenets of the philosophy get at least a passing mention. ‘All Things Must Pass’ advises a resigned attitude toward external events, and ‘Beware Of Darkness’ warns against maya, the material world’s wonderwall of illusion. The two most eloquent songs on the album, musically as well as lyrically, have mysterious, seductive melodies, over which faded strings and horns hover like Blue Jay Way fog.

“There is an essay on karma, ‘Run Of the Mill’ (‘it’s you that decides… your own made end’) and one on reincarnation, ‘The Art Of Dying.’ For George, like the adherents of most Hindu sects, the ultimate goal is to break the endless cycle of rebirth by attaining oneness with God. According to the Bhagavad Gita: ‘He… who is spurred by desire, being attached to the fruit of action, is firmly bound.’ In ‘Awaiting On You All,’ Harrison seems to agree with his friends in the Krishna movement that the best way to avoid distraction by such fruit is ‘chanting the names of the Lord.’ (On ‘My Sweet Lord’ George did just that, and was rewarded with a Number One single all over the world.)

“None of this allows for many light or witty moments; according to Ben Gerson, who reviewed All Things Must Pass for Rolling Stone: ‘His words sometimes try too hard; he’s taking himself or the subject too seriously, or, if the subject is impossible to take seriously, he doesn’t always possess the means to convey that impression convincingly.’ The same critic, however, hailed the sheer sound as ‘Wagnerian, Brucknerian, the music of mountain tops and vast horizons,’ and summed the album up as an ‘extravaganza of piety and sacrifice and joy, whose sheer magnitude and ambition may dub it the War and Peace of rock’n’roll.’

“This miracle would not have been possible without Phil Spector and his sublime walls of sound. Instead of superimposing these on two-minute throwaways such as ‘Da Doo Run Run,’ Spector was at last working with a talent comparable to his own. The producer’s cosmic sound proved a perfect complement to the artist’s cosmic vision.

“For All Things Must Pass, Harrison and Spector assembled a rock orchestra of almost symphonic proportions, whose credits read like a Who’s Who of the music scene. Ringo; Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker, Gary Wright, and Billy Preston (all on keyboards); Dave Mason and Eric Clapton (electric guitars); and dozens more. George himself painstakingly overdubbed his voice dozens of times, and credited the result to the ‘George O’Hara-Smith Singers.’ Apple house band Badfinger was assigned the task of strumming four acoustic guitars, usually buried deep in the mix in keeping with Spector’s credo that some instruments should be ‘felt but not heard.’

“‘Isn’t It a Pity’ starts out, like many of the selections, as a plaintive dirge, with a backdrop consisting of brooding strings, the steady clanging of chimes, and the shimmering harmonics of Badfinger’s guitars. At the signal of the first cosmic thud of Ringo’s foot against the bass drum pedal, however, instruments begin to break out out of their metronomic straitjacket to attain an almost ecstatic release. Strings burst into thunderous crescendos; gently weeping guitars start to soar. Like ‘Hey Jude,’ which it strongly resembles, ‘Isn’t It a Pity’ is a work of towering simplicity with few and basic chord changes and an almost endlessly repetitive fade-out that somehow manages to be hypnotic instead of boring. ‘Isn’t It a Pity’ even clocked in one second shy of ‘Jude”s seven minutes and eleven seconds.

“Besides Spector, another presence is strongly felt on George’s album, in spirit if not in person. Harrison had developed a close musical rapport with Bob Dylan over the previous year; in June they even recorded together, though the result has yet to see the light of day. The Dylanesque numbers, if a minority on All Things Must Pass and somewhat overshadowed by their Spectorian counterparts, have a distinct character of their own and are far more intimate, both musically and lyrically, than the rest of the album. They include Dylan’s own ‘If Not For You’ from New Morning, ‘I’d Have You Any Time,’ based on a lyric Bob gave George to set to music, and ‘Sir Frankie Crisp,’ an olde English ballad dedicated to the man who built Friar Park, George’s 17th-century castle. (On the album cover, George is seen in the Friar Park garden with part of Sir Frankie’s collection of stone dwarfs.) ‘Apple Scruffs’ — complete with blasts of harmonica, the most Dylanesque of the lot — is George’s tribute to those fanatical Beatlemaniacs who literally lived on the steps of Apple. New York Post writer Al Aronowitz, who was with George for many of the All Things Must Pass sessions, reported: ‘Outside the studio door, whether it rained or not, there was always a handful of Apple Scruffs, one of them a girl all the way from Texas. Sometimes George would record from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and there would be, waiting through the night, beggars for a sign of recognition on his way in and out. In the morning they’d go off to their jobs and in the evening they’d be back outside the studio door again.’

All Things Must Pass was phenomenally successful, quickly reaching Number One on both sides of the Atlantic, staying there for many weeks, and ultimately outselling many of the Beatles’ albums — no mean achievement at $13.98. ‘My Sweet Lord’ fared even better in the singles sweepstakes, and remains not only the best-seller among all the ex-Beatles’ solo singles, but also the only one to reach Number One in Britain (where the fragments of the Fab Four have generally been received with less awe than in America). Oddly enough, George originally gave his biggest hit away to Billy Preston, who released ‘My Sweet Lord the previous summer, and went nowhere with it.

“‘My Sweet Lord”s resemblance to the early Sixties Chiffons hit ‘He’s So Fine’ did not escape the notice of the latter’s publisher, Bright Tunes, and in late 1976 a judge ruled George guilty of ‘unconscious plagiarism’ and ordered him to fork over a portion of the Harrisong’s accumulated royalties. These were doubtless considerable; as John Lennon said in late 1970: ‘Every time I put the radio on it’s ‘oh my Lord’ — I’m beginning to think there must be a God!’

All Things Must Pass first appeared on the Billboard chart on December 19, 1970, reaching #1 and spending a total of 38 weeks.”

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