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Music Review: George Harrison – Let It Roll: Songs By George Harrison

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It’s hard to believe that George Harrison passed away over seven years ago. Despite producing an excellent catalog of solo work, he will always be remembered as the silent Beatle behind John Lennon and Paul McCartney. And while he contributed some memorable songs within the group, his guitar work ultimately stands out most.

When I heard that another George Harrison compilation album was being released I questioned if it was really necessary. However, after listening to Let It Roll: Songs By George Harrison I am a convert. The set may not be essential but it is enjoyable. When you gather the better part of his solo output onto one disc you have a very listenable collection.

George Harrison scored three Number One hits during his solo career, his most famous being “My Sweet Lord.” Taken from All Things Must Pass, it became one of his signature songs. The gentle and catchy spiritual tune established him as a respected and viable commercial artist, allowing him to escape from the Lennon and McCartney shadow. His other Number Ones were “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth),” in which he appealed for peace and “Got My Mind Set On You,” which was a pure pop creation.

Three tracks are lifted from his Concert For Bangladesh album. I have always thought that this particular version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was superior to the studio release. Rolling Stone ranked it as the 7th greatest guitar song of all time and hearing Harrison play it live is a treat. Also, performances of “Something” and “Here Comes The Sun” are also included and, while I understand that these were recorded after his Beatles career had ended and so fit the theme of this album, I still prefer the original studio versions.

Among the other tracks included on this set are “All Those Years Ago,” which was a poignant tribute to John Lennon,  and “When We Was Fab,” which was Harrison's tongue-in-cheek look back at the Beatles. “Isn’t It A Pity” and “What Is Life” were both pulled from All Things Must Pass and further show that album’s brilliance.

Let It Roll: Songs By George Harrison is a good overview to George Harrison's solo work and worth seeking out for anyone who desires an introduction to his post-Beatles work.

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About David Bowling

  • http://tellingstories.typepad.com/telling_stories El Loco

    I cannot say I agree with this review. Although I’m a big George Harrison fan, I can’t really go for this compilation. First, other than, perhaps, “I Don’t Want to Do It” (you know what they say: it’s “new” if it’s “new to you”), there’s nothing new here. Second, I really disagree with your take on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” The “Live in Japan” version is far superior than the CFB one as both Eric Clapton and George are in great form. Finally, there are no tracks from three of George’s albums – “Dark Horse,” “Extra Texture,” and “33&1/3.” While “Dark Horse” and “Extra Texture” are weak albums, “33&1/3″ had at least two songs – “This Song” and “Crackerbox Palace” – that should have been included instead of, say, “Cheer Down” or “This is Love.” Personally, I would have rather seen “Dark Horse” (the song) included over either of those two or “The Ballad of Sir Francis Crisp.”

    I was looking forward to this release but now, I have to ask myself why would I go out and buy it? And I can’t find a good reason to do that.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I haven’t heard the compilation per se, but “Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp [Let It Roll]” has always been one of my favorite songs, by anyone. Too bad that it was all downhill after that album [“All Things Must Pass”].

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