Written by General Jabbo
The quiet Beatle gets the best of treatment on the career-spanning Let it Roll: Songs by George Harrison. At a single disc however, the problem with this collection isn’t what was included — it’s with what wasn’t.
While Harrison’s legendary All Things Must Pass LP is heavily represented with five of the 19 tracks, the CD selects “The Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let it Roll)” over “Wah Wah” and “If Not For You.” Similarly, “Devil’s Radio” from the Cloud 9 album is nowhere to be found. Other notable omissions include “Crackerbox Palace” and “Not Guilty,” the latter of which was originally written during Harrison’s time in the Beatles. For a collection that seems to want to remind listeners of Harrison’s time with the Fab Four, its non-inclusion seems strange. Perhaps the biggest track left off the CD though is “Bangladesh.” With The Concert for Bangladesh, Harrison practically invented the modern benefit show and for that reason alone it should be included here. No songs from either Traveling Wilburys release are on the CD either.
What is included though is prime Harrison material that is vital to any fan’s collection of his music. From the opening “Got My Mind Set On You” — the last number-one single by any Beatle in the United States — to the spiritual “My Sweet Lord” and “All Things Must Pass” to the pure pop of “Blow Away,” Harrison was a diverse artist whose music didn’t really sound like anyone else’s.
Of course the reason Harrison had a solo career to begin with is due to his time in the Beatles, and three live versions of Beatles tracks from The Concert For Bangladesh are included here. In addition, both of his Beatles tributes — “All Those Years Ago,” which featured both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and “When We Was Fab,” which featured Starr, are included here as well.
Let it Roll includes three songs from Harrison’s posthumous release Brainwashed, including the beautiful “Marwa Blues,” which showcased his unique style of slide-guitar playing. Also included are two soundtrack songs — “I Don’t Want to Do it” from Porky’s Revenge and “Cheer Down” from Lethal Weapon 2.
While long-time fans will have most or all of these tracks, Let it Roll is a nice introduction to the music of George Harrison for new listeners. Still, for an artist of his stature, an extra disc would have been more than appropriate.