Friday, May 19, 2006

A Beautiful Song In The Wrong Hands


My friend Sound has some things to say about George Harrison’s solo work. I tend to agree with him, but to a lesser degree. What I’ve come to with George is that he was a better songwriter (though spotty at times – songs like “Crackerbox Palace” come to mind) and guitarist than he was arranger / producer. I don’t like the sound of his solo records so much. The arrangements and the instrumentation. I know he was trying to move on from his Beatle years, and no one can blame him for that, but what he moved on to was a sound that I didn’t much care for.

Take for instance, the official studio version of “Let It Down” from “All Things Must Pass.” For some reason George thought that he needed Phil Spector to turn his demos into records. I think George needed Phil Spector the way that The Beatles needed Yoko. Critics like to use words like "bombastic" or "overblown" to describe records like that.

Listen for yourself.

I've heard worse, but I don't find myself jonesing for that one. Imagine my surprise when I first heard George's home demo of the same song?

Listen.

Too bad he never did a whole album like that.

I have an unreleased all acoustic demo of the song "Dark Horse." Let me know in the comments section if there is any interest in hearing it.

10 Comments:

Blogger roxtar said...

There is a reason they called George Martin the "fifth Beatle." His influence was pervasive, but never ham-handed. When he did a production piece, in was integral with the music.

Spector is just so obvious.

6:25 AM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Spector is just so obvious.

He made some good records (I especially like "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling") but he was so wrong for the Beatles. I thought he was ok for "Imagine." "All Things Must Pass" would have been light-years better in George Martin's hands.

11:38 AM  
Blogger roxtar said...

Can you imagine Spector's version of the plaintive opening notes of "Golden Slumbers"? "Cue the bassoons! Tympani, give me tympani! More cowbell!

7:46 PM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

I've got to say my sister and I adore 'Crackerbox Palace', but we were probably the right age for the excedingly silly video that went along with it. I enjoy an artist being playful now and then.

Ever read 'I Me Mine'? Turns out what sounds like painful forced rhymes in that song are actually true. He really did meet a Mr. Grife.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

I remember liking many of George's tunes as they were released but never wanted to hear them more often than simply catching them on the radio. To this day I don't think I own any of his stuff. (Somewhere I have a couple of early LPs.)

Was just listening to solo John yesterday. Some good stuff there, despite Spector. Of John's final records, I actually like "Watching the Wheels" - it sounds earlier somehow. Maybe the piano?

8:30 AM  
Blogger Employee of the Month said...

Driving home yesterday and "Wah-Wah" came up on shuffle. Love the song but talk about 20 pounds in a 5 pound sack.

9:30 AM  
Blogger XTCfan said...

Damn, sounds as if we need a Fuzzy Warbles from George.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

Finally listen to this from home. Very nice, indeed.

His vocal is a little shaky at first. Nature of demos, I guess. But he's cookin' by the end.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous anita said...

love it. but i have to say ... 'all things must pass' is definitely in my top 100 albums of all time, despite, and even because of the spector influence (hey, don't bash him now just 'cause he's finally given us all proof that he's a bona-fide mad-man !!) and i even place 'all things must pass' in the top 10 of former beatle solo albums (of which i think the last paul mc cartney album was nice ... just nice, not much more than nice, which is sad).

now, i do have to take exception to the 'bob dylan' (or any of the others listed) as a band your friend used to like but doesn't any more. the whole concept of 'not liking any more' is flawed. i think that what he (and you) mean is that you don't like what they are doing NOW. which is fine. but you surely can't be saying that just because you don't like who they are now, or how they are presenting themselves today in anyway makes their earlier works less compelling? artists go through phases, some get burned out early, or mid-career, or, like neil young, it seems never.

5:12 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

but you surely can't be saying that just because you don't like who they are now, or how they are presenting themselves today in anyway makes their earlier works less compelling?

Indeed. I can't speak for Sound, but I'm not sure what I said to make you think I would disagree with you. I adore Dylan's work from the 60's and nothing he has done since could make his contribution any less compelling.

Perhaps you'd be interested in seeing some of my earlier posts regarding Bob Dylan...

John Brown Went Off To War

Masters Of War

A Hard Rain Has Fallen

In any event thanks for your interest in my blog. Please stop by anytime.

8:02 PM  

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