George Harrison - Early Takes Volume 1

What The Quiet One did at home

Last year’s marathon Martin Scorsese documentary about the former Beatle included several teasing snippets of previously unheard Harrison recordings: demos and rough takes of songs that would later come to define his solo career. This compilation acts as a belated companion piece of the full takes, offering a gloriously intimate insight into his working methods.

The title suggests that more will follow so, for the most part, the tracks here
are chronological; ie, songs
featured on 1970’s All Things
Must Pass and ’73’s Living In
The Material World. My
Sweet Lord is represented by
its very first attempt –
clunkier and less ethereal
than the familiar hit version –
while the latter album’s The
Light That Has Lighted The
World appears beautifully
tentative and embryonic.

Shoehorned into the running
order are a couple of covers
from the 80s; Bob Dylan’s
Mama, You Been On My Mind
is suitably folky and rustic, and
a multi-tracked George
harmonises with himself on Let
It Be Me, just hours after seeing
the Everlys sing it at the Royal
Albert Hall at their ’85 reunion
show. Producer Giles Martin,
brought in to clean up the
original tapes, stays faithful to
their low-key origins – to the
point where it often sounds
like Harrison’s sat strumming
just a few feet from the
listener.

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

Universal | 2799042 (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Terry Staunton
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