Review: George Harrison – All Things Must Pass (50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) (2021)


I have to say I was never the biggest Beatles fan, maybe if I’d been born a decade before it might have been different. I do like a lot of their songs and if I’d had chance to meet any of them, George Harrison would have been my choice. He seems the most interesting of the quartet and maybe it`s his search for a meaning to life that makes him quite intriguing. `All Things Must Pass` is the third studio album by George Harrison and was a triple album on release. It`s a shocker to realise that it`s fifty years since its release and with a lot of anniversary releases there is a super deluxe edition released to mark this occasion.

The tracks on the original album have all been remixed and this updated version opens with `I’d Have You Anytime` which was co-written with Bob Dylan and it`s a delightful gentle ballad where the guitar chords seem to be to the fore, The song that the artist is most associated with `My Sweet Lord` follows. A track that was written in praise of Hindu god Krishna and sadly was at the centre of a heavily publicised copyright infringement suit. Who cannot like this wonderful hymn like offering?

`Wah-Wah` reflects the singer`s frustration with the atmosphere in the Beatles at that time it was written and has not only stunning horns and guitars but does express that sense of annoyance. All seven minutes of `Isn’t It A Pity (Version One)` is shared and it`s a poignant reflection on the Beatles’ raw breakup. An anthemic and understandably emotional ballad.

`What Is Life` is a pretty fast paced love song that fifty years on does sound quite retro but is still captivating. The horns on it were a joy. I wasn`t aware that Bob Dylan wrote `If Not For You` a number that seems more related with Olivia Newton John these days. The mix really brings out tambourine, piano, and harmonica in this fusion.

`Behind That Locked Door` was written in August 1969 as a message of encouragement to Bob Dylan who was making a highly publicised comeback to the concert stage. It`s a charming country flavoured sentiment. A song that was turned down for the Beatles’ final studio album “Let It Be”

Comes with `Let It Down` and it’s a dreamy touching love song.

`Run Of The Mill` is a tale of lost friendship and a kind of love song to the Beatles. George`s widow Olivia has named it among her favourites of all her late husband’s compositions. The horns on it are a delight. There`s a spiritual texture about `Beware Of Darkness` which reflects the influence of Harrison’s association with the Radha Krishna Temple and tells of not being distracted in your search for truth. An entrancing listen.

`Apple Scruffs` bounces along with a harmonica introduction. A light-hearted tribute to the die-hard Beatles fans The Apple Scruffs who congregated outside the Apple Corps building. We have another homage with `Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)` honouring a nineteenth-century lawyer and the original owner of Friar Park the Victorian gothic residence that the singer purchased in 1970. Another spellbinding offering.

`Awaiting On You All` is a gospel tinged aria where the singer has no fear in expressing his beliefs. Title song `All Things Must Pass` was another overlooked for the `Let it Be` album. A quite almost orchestrated piece which is wonderfully introspective on a number of levels.

` I Dig Love` is a piano led number with a quite repetitive feel and with the lyric of `Dig` has that “of its time” sense. We have real rock belter with `Art Of Dying` which I read was about reincarnation.

`Isn`t It A Pity (Version Two)` is the shorter adaptation of the two shared on the album but no less thoughtful and emotive. The flute really stood out for me on this. There`s obvious religious references on `Hear Me Lord` which seems to be the artist`s plea come invocation to a higher deity. A number that really has a spiritual feel about it.

There are four instrumental jams and a throwaway ditty that were included on the third LP bonus disc. `Out Of The Blue`, `Plug Me In` and `I Remember Jeep` are jams that move from a jazzy, groove laden through to a more harder rock outing while `Thanks For The Pepperoni` is played in a sort of Chuck Berry “Roll Over Beethoven” style. The interesting one is `It`s Johnny`s Birthday, a 49-second track sung to the tune of Cliff Richard`s “Congratulations” and recorded to celebrate John Lennon`s 30th birthday.

There are two other discs which comprise demos and session outtakes and jams.

I`d never heard this album before bar a couple of the more well known songs and was pleasantly surprised by how well it stands up after fifty years. As I listened, I pondered as to how many of the albums i`ve reviewed recently would sound as good in five years let alone fifty. There are too many legendary musicians whom the artist managed to encourage to help him share his vision on this album to name check here. I`m not embarrassed to own up and say I’d never heard this album before and i`m glad it didn`t cross my path on release as I think I’d have been too young to really appreciate what a work of genius it is.

Rating 9.5/10

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