Georgeous ( His Masters Choice HMC 019 )
Part One – Dehra Dun / Gopala Krishna / I Live For You / Going Down To Golders Green / Get Back / Your True Love / Awaiting On You All / Hear Me Lord / What Is Life / Let It Down / Art Of Dying / You / Dream Away / I Don’t Want To Do It / Shanghai Surprise / Breath Away From Heaven Prt 1-4 / Someplace Else / Abandoned Love / Horse To The Water / All Things Must Pass ( 79:24 )
Part Two – Ramblin’ Woman Medley / For You Blue / Beware Of Darkness / My Sweet Lord / Run Of The Mill / Apple Scruffs / If Not For You / Dark Horse / Here Comes The Sun / Your True Love / Rockline Prt 1 / Rockline Prt 2 / Rockline Prt 3 / Rockline Prt 4 / Rockline Prt 5 / Prabhujee / All Things Must Pass / George Rehearsing – Any Road / You Belong To Me / Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea / All Along The Watch Tower / I Saw Her Standing There / Johnny B. Goode / Two Faced Man / Gary Wright + George Rehearsing ( 77:31 )
The press release to the George Harrison release on HMC was a bitter-sweet moment. On the one hand it was great to see that the label that has taken care of us before, launching such great titles to the bootleg market with such great new items, upgrades and longer tracks was releasing something for the Harrison fans. The caveat though was that nothing was new, it just appears here in “the best quality ever”. Following the rush of releases that appeared in the mid to late 1990s and the rest that followed George’s untimely passing in 2001 the market has been quiet baring the occasional audience tape from the 1974 tour so why, if there’s nothing new, should we buy in to this release now?
Well, the hubris that announced the sound quality of the release was justified – the tracks do indeed sound mostly great baring a couple of telecast dubs. If HMC have been able to revisit Midnight Beat’s, Strawberry’s, Yellow Dog’s tapes and give them a spruce then that was worth the effort. There are few tracks that are a little below par but for the sake that these tracks have appeared on short run CDR pressings then they’re worth the effort.
The tracks steer in a figure of eight between songs that appeared from the John Barrett tape leak in the late 1990s – “Dehra Dun”, “Gopala Krishna”, “Going Down To Golders Green” & “Get Back” through to some of the tracks from the ‘All Things Must Pass’ sessions boxed set, via his sound track developments for his HandMade film developments ( “Dream Away” from ‘Time Bandits’, “Someplace Else” & “Shanghai Surprise” from the flop of the same name. ) Also included is a new composite mix of the various parts of “Breath Away From Heaven” from that same film ( The separate parts originally appeared on Yellow Dog / Orange’s “Shanghai Surprise” CD in 1995 ) and the Dylan cover that appeared in the ‘Porky’s Revenge Film’ ( The organ solo version from the film sound track. ) and the one that didn’t ( “Abandoned Love”. )
“Horse To The Water” from the Jools Holland album “Small World, Big Band” is also included, rather craftily as it is neither an alternate mix or even out of print, so falls in to the area of piracy.
The first disks leads off with the first of the ‘Ambient stereo’ version of songs from the ‘Get Back’ sessions. “All Things Must Pass” could be a great inclusion were it not for McCartney’s hopelessly horrid harmony vocals.
Disk two continues in the same vein and the infamous Dylan medley from January 3rd, 1969. “Ramblin’ Woman”, a Harrison original, strikes a good pose as a Dylan sound alike and serves to lead him on to “I Threw It All Away” and “Mama, You Been On My Mind” but, unfortunately, George isn’t miked up for the best of the rendition so, despite this stereo mix, his rendition still leaves a little to ambiguity. HMC mention in their liner notes that this medley is one of their favorites. It has appeared on quite a few bootlegs over the years and so it must be drilled in as everyone’s fave set of L.I.B tracks by now but the ambient mix does add a little extra to the performance.
The Get Back sessions conclude with a quick take of “For You Blue” recorded at the Apple studios on January 25th, 1969 which lifts from a Lennon / McCartney improvisation.
We return to the ATMP sessions for an early version of “Beware Of Darkness”, an acetate sourced ( but very sweetly mixed ) “My Sweet Lord”, an overdub session for “Run Of The Mill” and take 2 of “Apple Scruffs”.
The rehearsal of “If Not For You” featuring Bob Dylan is lifted from the “Concert For Bangla Desh” DVD. It may not be new but it makes it’s first appearance on silver disk here. “Dark Horse” is the rough mix from the David Geffen tape that was also presented on Strawberry’s “Harri-Spector Show” release.
At the point of the telecast / radio presentation portion of the gazette we begin with “Here Comes Emerson” a tribute to racecar driver Emerson Fittipaldi who had suffered a crash earlier on in 1996, “Your True Love”, a Carl Perkins original performed at Perkin’s funeral service.
The Rockline presentation, a show to promote the ‘Cloud Nine’ LP, re-appears as it has done since the inaugural appearance on Pegboy’s CDR “12 Arnold Grove”. The whole show circulates in collectors hands in fantastic quality. It’s a wonder no-one has pressed the full thing yet ..
George’s final TV appearance follows. The ‘Yin and Yang’ broadcast from VH1, 1997 that put George and Ravi Shankar together again to play. The first track is of Indian influence, “Parbhujee”, played by both George and Ravi before George is coerced by presenter John Fugelsang in to playing “All Things Must Pass”. The track “George Rehearsing” isn’t quite what it says as it is George tuning up between playing and before playing “Any Road”.
There’s a bit of a blunder with the track listing as “You Belong To Me” is listed as track 20 on the sleeve but it is actually track 19. Instead we have what should be track 21 ( “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea” ) as track 20. There are 25 tracks tracks listed on the artwork, which is correct, but two track 24s’ ..
“All Along The Watchtower” and ‘I Saw Her Standing There” are rarities from the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Concert in New York on the 20th of January, 1988. These have scarcely seen release since the event. In fairness this could be a blessing as, despite them being all-star jams, they get a little messy at times.
Another lesser heard track comes from the Prince’s Trust Concert in 1986, “Johnny B. Goode”, another knock about jam between rock’s kings with George forgetting the words at one point ( Something which the liner notes allude to. )
The final proper track “Two Faced Man” is Gary Wright, Wonder Wheel and “Friend” ( George on slide ) from the Dick Cavett show, November 23rd 1971 along with the final track a snippet from a recording session – “Gary Wright + George rehearsing” – a mystery to me as I can’t find the track referred to anywhere.
Thus this release is actually worth seeking out. True, you might have most of the tracks already, some of them are a little sloppy but, as noted, they haven’t appeared that often on silver CDR. The booklet is a cause for concern though. Apart from the jumble of the tracks listen on the back sleeve, the liner notes are stolen pretty much straight from the internet with scant proof-reading used ( Wikipedia’s “Citation needed” a point in case ) which leads to some rather unintentional blunders.
This gazette pales in the shadows of some of it’s other counterparts ( The McCartney US tour CDs, the Lennon oddities .. ) but as it stands it’s a strong competitor as a solid Harrison boot to have in your collection and one you might find yourself pulling out more than once or twice.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)