Category Archives: George Harrison

Songs That Move Me, 90-81

90. Wah Wah – George Harrison.
On an album, All This Must Pass, of mostly lovely little tunes, this really rocks. I love the harmonies. And is that a race car engine revving at the end?
Feeling: like playing air guitar.

So you want to write a fugue by Glenn Gould.


The Diversity of (Man In Black) Thought

I was reading this website called Racialious, “a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture” late last year when I came across this post about a black country singer, who I admit I’ve never heard of. But like the writer, I am happy that a black artist can go into whatever niche of music he or she chooses. I remember all too well what grief artists as diverse as Dionne Warwick (pop), Jimi Hendrix (rock), Charley Pride (country) and Leontyne Price (opera) got, from black people as well as white people, about not performing the “right music”.

Then one commenter wrote:
worth Netflixing when available: Johnny Cash openly championed bucking the Nashville crowd and his (thankfully) just released on-DVD 1970s tv show featured more black performers from the jazz, pop, soul/r&b arena as well as emerging rock/pop acts who were unable to get air time in the South during Nixon/Vietnam for politics/appearances/cultural “issues” (long hair, pot, etc.). He purposefully counter-programmed what “Hee Haw” had on and made a point to play with the artists, promoting them as well, driving the suits nuts, but boosting his show’s popularity. The artists were his friends and he knew talent when he saw it. Open your eyes to some sizzling performances with great audio (just forgive the fashion sense).

And I thought that was nice. Then this comment:
Just want to back up Hy on the “Johnny Cash Show” DVD. The costumes and pompadours are giggle-worthy, but the music is AWESOME. I got the DVD set as a gift for my mom (not that I don’t go over to her place and watch it, oh noooooo).

And this:
I too have enjoyed the “Johnny Cash Show” DVD but agree it needs a “wide lapel” warning. I skipped to the obvious treats right away, including an amazing early Stevie Wonder cut of “Heaven Help Us All” and Ray Charles doing “Ring Of Fire”.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with the other items, and didn’t think I would like it, but the history lesson was worth it! The show only ran two years (1969-1971) and there’s no way it could ever run on the networks today.
It basically took top artists from the counter-culture folk arena, artists written off as past their prime who influenced Cash, anti-establishment country stable, and anti-corporate rock and soul wing (despite their star power) in a “down home” environment.
It’s weird to think of Dylan and Cash playing live together on TV one moment and Cash and Louis Armstrong performing “Blue Yodel #9” then just…hanging out with “traditional” country folks like the Statler Brothers(?)… then shifting to all the “long haired hippies” (Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Neil Young) that show up with the “old guard” of rock (Carl Perkins, Everly Brothers) all viewed during Vietnam and Nixon.
It may not have solved much, but it was a pretty bold statement to make on a lot of levels. I highly second it as a viewing recommendation as well.
Still humming a few of those tunes too, damn…

Three recommendations for the The Johnny Cash Show: The Best of Johnny Cash 1969-1971 from what I would have considered a most unlikely place. Not so incidentally, John R. Cash would have been 76 tomorrow.
And George Harrison would have been 65 yesterday, though for most of his life, he thought his birthday was today, and many sources still cite February 25. I was listening yesterday to a CD a friend made for me of George’s Beatles songs, including those on the Anthologies.
I was talking to a fellow about the expected death of someone, and even though I knew knew that person was going to die, it still hit me, albeit differently than when someone you admire dies quickly via accident or violence. Sometimes that slow and inevitable death doesn’t catch you right away as you rationalize that he or she’s been sick for a long time, and somehow it’s “for the best”. And then – after the rationalizations have all worn away – then you grieve.


The Posthumous Still Have It

A couple months ago, I noticed the Rolling Stone lunchtime poll for Best Posthumous Album. What was interesting is that the two albums that seemed to dominate, among those who actually knew what “posthumous” meant, or weren’t into fossilizing the Rolling Stones, picked Johnny Cash’s American V: A Hundred Highways (a Rolling Stone pick) and Brainwashed by George Harrison, both artists were born around this time of the month.
There seems to be three major topics among American Beatles fans these days:
1)Whether that Cirque du Soleil songtrack, LOVE, is any good
2)Whether Heather Mills McCartney is Satan or merely the spawn of Satan
3)What’s going to be in the next box set of American LPs. The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1, included Meet the Beatles, The Beatles Second Album, Something New, and Beatles ’65. Vol. 2 contained The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, the Help! soundtrack, and the U.S. version of Rubber Soul, all of which were released in 1965. There won’t be boxes of albums where the US and the UK versions are exactly the same (Sgt. Pepper, the White Album, Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road, Let It Be). Magical Mystery Tour is off the table, because it was an American album that the Brits adopted. So what does that leave?
A Hard Day’s Night soundtrack- Originally on United Artists Records. It does have three Beatles songs, including the title cut, plus four soundtrack tunes not on Something New. But there are the five that overlap.
Revolver-the 11-song version instead of the 14. Do they really want to draw attention to this treachery?
Beatles Again/Hey Jude-The late Capitol/early Apple singles. But two of the HDN soundtrack songs are here as well.
The only album everyone agrees on is Yesterday…and Today. Why did I buy this at the Rexall store for $2.99, rather than waiting to get it from the Capitol Record Club? Maybe I was impatient. Why do I remember it cost $2.99?
Anyway, this is an odd album, oftentimes documented:
Side A
1. Drive My Car-Lennon/McCartney (Rubber Soul UK)
2. I’m Only Sleeping-Lennon/McCartney (Revolver UK)
3. Nowhere Man-Lennon/McCartney (Rubber Soul UK)
4. Doctor Robert-Lennon/McCartney (Revolver UK)
5. Yesterday-Lennon/McCartney (Help UK)
6. Act Naturally-Morrison/Russell (Help UK)
Side B
1. And Your Bird Can Sing-Lennon/McCartney (Revolver UK)
2. If I Needed Someone-Harrison (Rubber Soul UK)
3. We Can Work It Out-Lennon/McCartney (single)
4. What Goes On-Lennon/McCartney/Starkey (Rubber Soul UK)
5. Day Tripper-Lennon/McCartney (single)
My thoughts then: I love(d) Drive My Car. The album was good, but TWO Ringo songs? Also, What Goes On is in the same key as Day Tripper; I wouldn’t have put them next to each other.
My thoughts now: If you’re gonna butcher the UK albums, the pulling of four tracks from Rubber Soul, essentially one by each Beatle, was pretty deft. I know a number of folks who still think I’ve Just Seen a Face (from the UK Help album) is the better starting song for the Americanized Rubber Soul. Conversely, the three Lennon songs pulled from Revolver made the US version of THAT album lopsided, with 1 Ringo, 3 George, 5 Paul but only 2 John songs.
Oh, yeah, my copy of Yesterday…and Today got stolen in the Great LP Theft of 1972, so I’ll never know if I owned the butcher cover or not. It’s just as well.
Consider this my Underplayed Vinyl for the month.