Tracks: I’d Have You Anytime; My Sweet Lord; Wah-Wah; Isn’t It a Pity (Version 1); What Is Life; If Not For You; Behind That Locked Door; Let it Down; Run of the Mill; Beware of Darkness; Apple Scruffs; Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let it Roll); Awaiting on You All; All Things Must Pass; I Dig Love; Art of Dying; Isn’t It a Pity (Version 2); Hear Me Lord; Out of the Blue; It’s Johnny’s Birthday; Plug Me In; I Remember Jeep; Thanks For the Pepperoni
Best track: All Things Must Pass
Tracks to skip: I Dig Love, Art of Dying, I Remember Jeep, It’s Johnny’s Birthday
When I listen to this album two things always come to mind. First, I am always re-reminded that George Harrison is a great songwriter. And second, I really can’t stand Phil Spector’s production. I think that can sum up most of this album. I love the part that’s actually *George* and definitely don’t like the part that’s “Spectorized”. This was actually Harrison’s 3rd solo album, but first one following the breakup of the Beatles. Originally released as a 3 album set (the first rock & roll 3-disc album), All Things Must Pass probably shocked a few people who had no clue George could fill 3 albums worth of material. Yes, it took him a few years to get going, but once he did, and especially in the late 60’s, George had plenty of material that never came out on Beatles albums and could thus fill up 2 of these 3 discs. On the original vinyl, the first two discs were new compositions and the 3rd disc was called “Apple Jam” which is George and the other guys jamming.
The original CD issue, which I have, has the first 3 album sides (though the title track) on Disc 1 and sides 4, 5 & 6 on Disc 2. This means that my disc 1 gets a ton of play and disc 2 rarely gets put in the CD player. Why? Because disc 2 is not very good. The original Side 4 (I Dig Love, Art of Dying, Isn’t It a Pity (v.2) & Hear Me Lord) isn’t as strong as all of the previous material and really all of the Apple Jam stuff is useless. These Apple Jam songs are either 12 bar blues or 2 chord jams that really don’t go anywhere or say too much. True it is George jamming with Eric Clapton & what would become most of Derek & the Dominos, but it’s still not that exciting. It’s Johnny’s Birthday is a song George wrote for John Lennon’s 30th birthday, which I’m sure Lennon loved (since it’s a bit strange), but as a song on the album it’s not very good. Of the other songs on disc 2/side 4, I Dig Love and Art of Dying aren’t very good either. Art of Dying actually sounds like disco, although about 5 or 6 years ahead of its time. Still, not too good of a song. The other two songs here, Isn’t It a Pity (version 2) and Hear Me Lord are both great songs that continue the feel of the first disc. Hear Me Lord is a great way to end the album proper and Isn’t It a Pity doesn’t have the full, drawn-out bit that Version 1 has (I like both versions).
So, then we come back to disc 1/sides 1-3. I love this stuff here. Some of this material is so moving that it’s hard for me to listen to it without just breaking down. When George Harrison died I just had this disc playing CONSTANTLY for a few days. Esp. the song All Things Must Pass…it’s such a gorgeous song and nearly impossible for me to listen to with crying like a baby. It’s definitely one of the best songs George Harrison ever wrote, and that’s saying a lot. Anyway though, disc 1 has so many great songs on it and so many amazing parts. Like the verse of Let it Down…holy cow, that is so amazing. Beware of Darkness, I’d Have You Anytime, My Sweet Lord, Awaiting on You All…wow. There are moments here and there on disc 1 that aren’t as powerful, but they’re so small and infrequent that you really don’t notice. The only song that isn’t as great as the others is Apple Scruffs, written about all the kids who would just hang around the Apple offices all day long. I don’t mind it; it’s a silly song, but it doesn’t bother me at all. This album definitely has a serious spiritual side to it. Frankly, I love these spiritual songs: My Sweet Lord, Beware of Darkness, Awaiting on You All, All Things Must Pass, and Hear Me Lord. I love hearing it presented in such an honest way. You know that Harrison doesn’t have any ulterior motives and this emotional spiritualism just comes flowing out. It’s very refreshing and wonderful to my ears.
This album was remastered and re-released in 2001 with 5 bonus tracks. From the reviews and opinions I’ve read about it, it sounds a million times better than this original CD version. Yes, the production on this is really annoying. I really don’t like what Phil Spector does to recordings (like what he did to the original Let it Be) and this album has so many glaring spots where I just want to slap him for covering up such great music (and often obscuring George’s vocals). This “wall of sound”, as it’s usually referred to, just smothers songs like Wah-Wah, What is Life and Awaiting on You All. There’s just way too much going on all over these tracks. You know, it’s that “tambourine in an echo chamber” sound. It just covers this stuff. I really wish George would have totally remixed every song when it was re-released, but I guess he felt it wasn’t the best thing to for the album (even though he agreed that the production didn’t sound good 30 years later). As it stands though, Phil Spector’s production can’t defeat a well-written and great album. Regardless of how much crap Spector piled up on these songs, you can still hear that they’re great. I probably will end up getting the new version some day since I really love this album. Well, I really love *half* of it. From everything I’ve heard, All Things Must Pass is definitely the best solo album from any of the Beatles.