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Michael Jefferson
7.27.09, 11:05 AM
http://rcm-images.amazon.com/images/P/B0026NWBY2.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/B0026NWBY2/w3pgcoffeeroomss)
Let it Roll: The Songs of George Harrison
George Harrison (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/B0026NWBY2/w3pgcoffeeroomss)
3 out of 5 stars
Reviewed for Coffeerooms by Mike Jefferson

My sweet Lord, the quiet Beatle gets his due with "Let it Roll," the first George Harrison collection that spans his entire solo career from 1970's "All Things Must Pass" to 2002's "Brainwashed."

For those of you keeping score, this is at least the third Harrison greatest hits collection. Half of the tracks on 1976's "The Best of George Harrison" were songs from George's Beatle years (most notably, "Something," "For You Blue," "Think for Yourself," and "Taxman."). 1989's "The Best of Dark Horse (1976-89)" highlighted Harrison's solo output for his own label, including substandard curios such as "Gone Troppo," "Life Itself," and "Wake Up My Love." "Let it Roll" attempts to blend the best of both worlds - George's Beatle past and his substantial solo career - and for the most part, it succeeds.

"Let it Roll" includes a 28-page booklet with unseen and rare photos and liner notes by Warren Zanes. Last time I checked, Warren was writing children's music. Maybe that was his brother, Dan. I got an advanced copy without the art work and liner notes so I can't comment on whether Warren's observations are worthwhile, but I can only hope he's a fan.

Hari Hari Krishna... (Or George's Best Bits)

Capitol Records solved the problem of getting some of Harrison's best Beatle tracks together with his solo work by including three live (and coincidently Beatle-less) performances from "The Concert for Bangladesh": "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Something," and "Here Comes the Sun." With Eric Clapton cranking out the solos (just as he did in 1968 on the original studio version), "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is an extravaganza that approaches axe nirvana. The mini-guitar duel between Clapton and Harrison is a nice musical conversation between old friends. "Something" could have been better. One problem is even after you've heard an I-Pod's worth of cover versions of the song, you still can't top the original - it doesn't get any better than Ringo's lead in drum roll, George's honey-dipped solo, or George Martin's intuitive strings. The second and larger problem stems from George - he messes up the lyrics to own song! He makes an admirable ad-libbed recovery, but since its live there's no reset button to correct his muffs, so "Something's" sentiment is temporarily derailed. The live version of "Here Comes the Sun," recorded with Badfinger's suicide twins Pete Ham and Mike Evans (they both hung themselves eight years apart), is a little rushed, but it brightens when the back up singers join George to produce sunny harmonies - "Sun, sun, sun, here we come."


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