Wednesday, January 9, 2013


What a great way to get closer to George Harrison, through this collection of intimate demo recordings.  It serves as a great "alternate" version of his first solo album, "All Things Must Pass."  The surprise is a couple of songs he never properly recorded for an album: Bob Dylan's "Mama You've Been on My Mind" and the Everly Brothers' "Let It Be Me."  Here's hoping there's more in the vaults for Volumes 2+.

Do you have those films that you have to watch when you flip to it on TV?  "Coogan's Bluff" is one of those for me.  Lalo Schifrin's long association with scoring Clint Eastwood movies began here.  Available for the first time on CD, and never widely released on LP, Schifrin's jazzy score is here in it's entirety.  Plus, you get the psychedelic rock highlight "Pigeon-Toed Orange Peel."  Groovy, man.   
When "Ram" originally came out, it received brutal reviews, especially from his former bandmates.  I've always liked it, and McCartney dispels notions of it being underrated with this massive box set.  The four CDs are 1) the original album remastered in stereo, 2) some demos and B-sides, 3) the original album in mono and 4) Thrillington - instrumental versions of the songs on "Ram."  "Thrillington" is a true oddity, released six years after "Ram" by McCartney under the pseudonym Percy Thrillington, and not revealing the truth until 1989.  The box includes other treasures, and fans will appreciate the thought put into assembling this collection.

Years before the studio perfection of "Mr. Blue Sky", ELO's debut involved some Birmingham hippies rocking out on the cello and oboe.  While there's nothing new here, it does present all the material (original album, bonus tracks, quad mixes) in one place for the first time.  Time for me to install my surround sound speakers, as this set also includes a DVD with a higher quality transfer of the quad mixes.  A great beginning for a superior band that evolved from prog rock to disco to '80s-synth pop.
I became a John Denver fan as a kid, stemming from his work with the Muppets.  I received his Greatest Hits album for a Christmas or birthday and wore that thing out, then later received Volume 2.  This was all before my Beatles phase (1982 - present).  I never went back and bought the individual albums, but I still like hearing him.  I was annoyed that in the 1990s he was basically written off.  Once the biggest star in the the country, he had become something of a punchline by his untimely death in 1997.  So it was curiosity that caused me to buy this live recording, to see what he sounded like in his "has been" years.  The voice, the songs, the easygoing charm, they were all there, intact.  What a delight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Calypso" is a song I sing along with at the top of my lungs, much to the consternation of anyone else in the car at the time. Denver is an underrated artist by today's audience.