George Harrison, ’Spicy Hari’s Songs’ (Tarantura TCDGH-3-1-2)
Disk One – Tune Up / Hari’s On Tour (Express) / Something. / While My Guitar Gently Weeps / Will It Go Around In Circles (Billy Preston) / Sue Me, Sue You Blues / Zoom, Zoom, Zoom (Ravi Shankar) Jai Sri Kalij (Ravi Shankar) / Naderdani (Ravi Shankar) / Cheparte (Ravi Shankar) / Anurag (Ravi Shankar) / Dispute And Violence (76:57)
Disk 2 – Hari’s Introduction / I Am Missing You (Ravi Shankar) / For You Blue / Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) / Sound Stage Of Mind (Harrison) / In My Life / Tom Cat (Tom Scott) / Maya Love / Nothing From Nothing (Billy Preston) / Dark Horse / Outta Space (Billy Preston) / What Is Life / My Sweet Lord (76:27
Seattle Centre Collseum, Washington USA, November 4th, 1974
Having dropped in late December 2019 on Dime, it didn’t take long for this torrent to be silver-disked (To coin a verb), unsurprisingly Moonchild were the first label to drop their version, Tarantura being the next, surprisingly however, there were no other pressed copies. George Harrison bootlegs are few and far between mainly due to the fact that George would have mainly recorded at home, so the closest we get to outtakes are more like rough mixes or promos, live shows were few and far between, good recordings are even fewer with a lot of source tapes used for the old LP pressings by now being fragile and brittle or having already gone south with their owners.
This show originally appeared a long, long time ago on the Babymoon Productions LP, (eroniously titled), “Cry For A Shadow”, initially a double LP, it was then pressed as both a double – all musicians – and single LP featuring just the George parts, with a second, double pressing later on. There have been a few pressings in the CD age as the popularity of the ‘Harri-leg’ continues including releases from the Scorpio subsidiary Gold Standard (The imaginative, ‘live In Seattle 1974’), a release on Green Grape (‘1974 North American Tour – Seattle, WA USA’ (Good grief!), Misterclaudel’s “Seattle Express’ (Yeah, alright) and is now produced here on Tarantura’s ’Spicy Hari’s Songs’. Taken from the JEMS archives of tapers, to be fair the reports of the set were straightforwardly diplomatic as to the sound when the story of the tapes recovery was posted on DIME:
“Back in the mastering studio, I swapped out the Otari heads with the new mono block, went to the shelf filled end to end with Stan’s Tandberg masters and looked for what would be my first transfer with the new set up. I pulled out the George Harrison masters, fully assuming we had previously released them from a direct Tandberg transfer given their historic importance. But after a quick bit of Internet research, a spin through the now defunct DIME search on Yahoo! (RIP), it turns out JEMS has never released a direct to digital transfer of Harrison Seattle, until now.
The Otari full-track mono playback was a revelation. The noisiness I had come to expect from any Tandberg playback was gone. The fidelity was everything I had always hoped we could extract from Stan’s incredible master recording.
Many consider Stan’s Seattle recording to be the best available document of George’s ’74 tour. With this new transfer, it has never sounded better. Samples provided.
Here’s how any earlier torrent of the Seattle recording and show described it:
“The second show of George Harrison’s ill-favoured 1974 North American tour, and the earliest to be circulated in its entirety. Occurring before the negative reviews/feedback started to come in (which seems to have started from the next show in San Francisco, where there was presumably more media scrutiny), the show is more upbeat than most from the tour. Clean and clear-sounding audience recording.”
Another review says, “”A truly wonderful set, much better than the alleged ‘best’ concert from Baton Rouge. The extended workout on “Hari’s on Tour (Express)” is missing from later shows, and the musicians’ excitement during the first songs is really palpable. It’s also interesting to hear the long intervals between George’s and Ravi’s set. Not soundboard, but very good sound indeed. A winner, as far as I’m concerned.”
Given his body of work in the ’70s and ’80s, I have come to think of Stan as the Mike Millard of Seattle, just as our late, great partner Jared was the Mike Millard of Detroit.”
The show is, as you’ve read, as complete as it gets – All of the support acts are in attendance, George, rocks most reluctant frontman gets a little time to show off but essentially gives up his post to Ravi and his family and Billy Preston who rather unwittingly shouts down George as they perform, acting less of a support more as the lead act with George adding in his parts as and when. The sound of the tape isn’t a huge upgrade on previous releases but does sound brighter, less muddied than previous. George has his work cut out trying to convince the rowdy crowds that the family are his guests and goes to pains to promote them. Whether it works for the crowd is a matter for the imagination but they do seem to fall quieter when the ragas play.
As the full concert was captured, the disks are pretty much full to capacity time and that makes the fee payable for the set a good value for money release – Pretty much 3 and a half hours of Harrison and friends.
The packaging is simple – two disks in plain CD sleeves with a neat photo of George in concert on the front then another on the back with a really clean text for the set list, a headache- inducingly small font for the performers (This includes Jim Kelters name though he wouldn’t join this tour until almost 3 weeks after this recording!)
A small upgrade to your Harrison collection but the smaller that is, the greater the need. Short of a Harrison estate official release (Whenever THAT might be – a very good pick up for the affordability too!If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)