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martes, 22 de septiembre de 2015

George Harrison - The Dark Horse Years, 1976 - 1992 (2004)


Artista: George Harrison
Álbum: The Dark Horse Years, 1976 - 1992
Año: 2004
Género: Rock, pop, new wave
Duración: 5:13:06
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra


Lista de Temas:
1.
33 1/3 
2. George Harrison
3. Somewhere In England
4. Gone Troppo
5. Cloud Nine
6. Live In Japan

Alineación:
- Son demasiados artistas.

Acá va un boxset de colección para quien sea o no fan de George Harrison. Y por qué digo esto? En lo personal pienso, sin ofender a los fans de John Lennon o Paul McCartney, que George Harrison ha sido el que más rápido mostró una evolución más interesante y creativa respecto a los demás miembros de The Beatles.

El álbum 33 1/3 es el álbum más comercial después del lanzamiento de Living In The Material World. Este álbum estaba precedido de contínuas demoras en la grabación, a causa de la hepatitis que sufrió por aquella época, lo cual lo obligó a cancelar el contrato con A&M Records y firmarlo con Warner Records. Sin embargo, la crítica lo consideró como el más grande error de A&M ya que el álbum fue un éxito de ventas. Este álbum marca el gran uso de los sintetizadores, como en la canción See Yourself. El pop tampoco está ausente y las canciones Woman Don't You Cry for Me y It's What Your Value son sinónimo de eso. La canción más comercial del disco es sin dudas Crackerbox Palace el cual alcanzó el puesto 19 en los charts americanos. This Song es una crítica al problema que tuvo debido a la denuncia de plagio de "My Sweet Lord" (los que saben la historia sabrán que todo fue armado por Allen Klein para quitarle dinero a George). Sin embargo, el disco refleja la marcada influencia de otros artistas como la canción Pure Smokey, que es un homenaje a Smokey Robinson. Las mejores canciones de este disco son sin dudas Learning How To Love You, See Yourself y Beautiful Girl. La crítica especializada de esa época criticó solamente al disco en un aspecto, el co-productor Tom Scott ya que comentaron que le dió el verdadero valor a las canciones y hubiera sido mucho mejor poner a Phil Spector en la co-producción. ¿Se imaginan este álbum co-producido por Phil Spector al estilo All Thing Must Pass? Comenten.


En el álbum George Harrison, se aprecia las grandes canciones como Blow Away y Here Comes The Moon (como una especie de continuación a Here Comes The Sun). La mejor canción del álbum es sin dudas Your Love Is Forever el cual desde el inicio te cautiva y el slide está a su máxima expresión. George Harrison comentó alguna vez que esta canción, junto como Learning How To Love You, estaban al mismo nivel que Something pero que como no eran canciones de la etapa de The Beatles no eran tan conocidas y subvaloradas.


Somewhere In England fue lanzado en una época de fricciones entre George Harrison y Warner Records. Warner lo obligó a descartar canciones y cambiar la presentación del disco lo cual causó incomodidad al ex-Beatles. Canciones como Tears Of The World, Flying Hour y Sad Singing fueron descartas (¿por qué Warner? ¡Eran excelentes canciones!) por no considerarlas comerciales.. Co-producido por Ray Cooper, refleja el marcado perfeccionamiento en la percusión del disco. Es uno de los discos más flojos de esta etapa pero sigue siendo igual de bueno. Writing's On The Wall, Baltimore Oriole son entre las canciones más innovadoras del disco por el contínuo uso de múltiples instrumentos y sintetizadores. La mejor canción del disco es sin dudas Life Itself, el cual refleja su lado religioso con un gran uso del slide guitar y excelente instrumentación. All Those Years Ago (canción dada primeramente a Ringo Starr y después de algunos cambios en la letra) es el homenaje a su reciente fallecido amigo John Lennon. Finalemente el álbum cierra con Save The World el cual fue usado para la campaña de Greenpeace en aquella época.


Gone Troppo es el álbum menos comercial de esta época y prácticamente lo lanzó sin realizar alguna promoción de este. A pesar que la crítica dió con palo a este disco y prácticamente no figuró en los charts americanos, incluye excelentes canciones como Wake Up My Love y Mystical One. Yo diría que este disco hay que escucharlo desde otro punto de vista ya acostumbrado del ex-Beatles. Es decir, escuchen el disco como si se tratara de otro artista y realmente lo van a apreciar. Personalmente me agrada este disco y pienso que no deberían tomar mucho en cuenta a la crítica.




Cloud Nine marca el regreso triunfal de George Harrison después de 5 años de ausencia y, junto al productor Jeff Lynne, formaron el dúo dinámico. Todas las canciones estaban a un nivel inalcanzable para un ex-Beatle (sino comparen este disco con el Press To Play de Paul McCartney que fue lanzado un año antes). Este disco, junto con el Imagine, All Thing Must Pass, Living In The Material World y Plastic Ono Band, es considerado uno de los mejores discos que un ex-Beatles haya sacado. 

El inicio de este disco refleja que ya estamos en otro mundo, Cloud Nine es una canción que incluye cierto elementos del jazz y una canción fuera de serie que es marcada por un gran final. That's What It Takes marca la clara influencia de Jeff Lynne en este disco. El uso de sintetizadores y los coros característicos de ELO dan a la canción un ambiente más sofisticado. El slide guitar de George Harrison y el solo final de Eric Clapton son los ingredientes importantes de este track. Fish On The Sand junto con This Is Love son canciones "ELO Harrisonianas" y refleja el claro nivel de estos artistas. Just For Today es una canción romántica, podría decir que es una de las más deprimentes del disco, ya que el slide guitar y toda la instrumentación refleja el gran sentimiento de la letra. Toda una joya musical! When We Was Fab es un sentimiento de nostalgia a las épocas en las cuales era parte de The Beatles. Es la canción más ELO del disco y el puente de la canción junto con la colaboración de Ringo Starr son sencillamente geniales! Devil's Radio podría ser considerada la canción más floja del disco pero es muy buena, puro Rock! Someplace Else es otra canción romática del disco esta la dejaré para que ustedes la analicen. Finalmente, Breath Away From Heaven junto con el éxito comercial Got My Mind Set On You son las canciones que dan un gran final a un disco que de por sí ya es un sí o sí que debas conseguirlo.


Live In Japan marca el regreso a las giras de George Harrison después de la crticiada gira de Dark Horse en 1976, que por cierto ya se comentó que será un futuro proyecto para lanzarlo en un disco dentro de unos años y esperemos se concrete. Esta gira fue realizada sin grabar los primeros conciertos, por esa razón no escucharemos Fish On The Sand o Love Comes To Everyone. Tuvo buena recepción y marcó la contínua mejora que tenía la banda concierto tras concierto. Hay bastantes canciones que son tocadas por primera vez, como Piggies e Isn't It a Pity, y refleja que aun George se mantuvo en forma después de años de ausencia en los escenarios.


Aplicaremos el método comentado en el post de Relayer, comenten sus apreciaciones y les dejamos los comentarios vintagerock.com:

1976's Thirty Three & 1/3 is a funky diversion for Harrison with a moderately light and humorous bite. This is especially evident in the self-effacing “This Song,” which pokes fun at his legal problems regarding the “My Sweet Lord” and the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine” sound-alike fiasco. It would become, along with “Crackerbox Palace,” another wry and airy tune, a Top 40 single. Filling out the album, tunes like “Woman Don’t You Cry For Me,” “Dear One” and “Beautiful Girl” show that Harrison was refining his songwriting skills and coming into his own, even if it meant becoming more mainstream in the process.
Three years later, George Harrison, unremarkable at the time, finds the lead guitarist in an advanced state of solemnity, perfectly at ease in his surroundings and loving every minute of it. Recently married to Olivia Arias and spending much of his time in Hawaii and at Formula 1 races, Harrison cut what one might interpret as a load of lofty and sanguine tunes with titles like “Love Comes To Everyone,” “Your Love Is Forever “ and “Soft Touch.” Sure, and then it gets really confusing when “Here Comes The Moon” (an incalculable follow-up to “Here Comes The Sun”; the bonus demo is much more interesting than the original version) and “Not Guilty” (check out Anthology 3 for the Beatle version) come lolling out of your speakers. Still, “Blow Away,” a Top 20 single, and “Faster,” Harrison’s ode to auto racing, managed to keep the former mop top in the vanguard for the time being.
Somewhere In England was Harrison’s first record of the 80s, released some six months after John Lennon’s untimely demise. The album’s single, “All Those Years Ago,” which featured Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, became a fitting tribute to the fallen leader of the Fabs. Once again, we get a bonus demo, one called “Save The World,” that outshines the original. For the most part, however, there isn’t anything particularly captivating here as Harrison apparently struggled to complete the album in the face of a changing music industry. For that, he managed to sneak in a jab or two, especially on the opening track “Blood From A Clone,” where the quiet one unapologetically chastises the powerbrokers pushing him into the MTV generation. Surly, the wry inclusion of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Baltimore Oriole” and “Hong Kong Blues” would have been the death knell for anyone else at the time; but in the hands of a former Beatle, the novelty slipped by the bean counters with one swift kick to the gonads. It wasn’t to last.
For 1982’s Gone Troppo, Harrison dutifully submitted to the modern day qualms and came out smelling like a dirty rat, albeit a disheartened man who needed a break from the studio. Whenever a superstar is thrown into a room with a group of session guys, the results are either highly inspirational or adversely miscalculated. This record falls narrowly in between, as it sort of bops along at its own pace, trying at times to be painfully contemporary, while occasionally dipping into impetus waters on things like the instrumental “Greece,” and “The Mystical One.” Harrison’s obsession with cement fills out the liner notes, and it’s easy to see he definitely needed an extended break.
And so it goes that in 1987, George Harrison returned to the frontlines with a stunning collection called Cloud Nine. Pulling out all the stops with a cache of A-list friends like Eric Clapton, Elton John and Jeff Lynne to pitch in, it was the beginning of an extremely active period for Harrison as he churned out videos, formed the Traveling Wilburys and even played a few select live shows. The sogginess of his two previous efforts from the decade was propped up and given a mild facelift by Lynne’s semi-autocratic production. One listen and “That’s What It Takes,” “Got My Mind Set On You” and the sumptuous “When We Was Fab” confirm that Harrison’s abilities as a songwriter, singer and guitarist had not diminished one iota. Even so-called filler, like the title track, “Fish On The Sand” and “Devils’ Radio” make this record a worthwhile spin.
In light of a hit album, Harrison suddenly was ubiquitous. Both his solo and Traveling Wilburys videos were in heavy rotation on MTV, and the world was suddenly caught up in a burst of Georgemania. So, as a cap off of sorts, Harrison joined Clapton in Tokyo and Osaka for a series of concerts. Recorded for prosperity, the resulting two-disc Live In Japan was released to a rather lukewarm response in the summer of 1992. It was out of print for years, fetching top dollar on e-bay. The reissue, which has been remastered for SACD, was well worth the wait. Backed by Clapton and his band, Harrison takes an enlightening walk down memory lane. The Beatle songbook is opened up wide and classics like “Something” and “While My Guitar My Gently Weeps” weave in and out of the more obscure numbers like “Old Brown Shoe” and “Piggies.” Harrison’s solo career also gets a comprehensive reading with “Give Me Love,” “Dark Horse,” “My Sweet Lord,” “Isn’t It A Pity,” and several others rolled out and given a nice, spit-shine polish. It may not have the historical significance of The Concert For Bangla Desh, but Live In Japan is a perfect snapshot of the reclusive musician during one of his most productive phases.
To top it all off, The Dark Horse Years, 1976–1992 includes a DVD featuring many of Harrison’s quirky little videos, the Dark Horse feature, interviews and live footage from the December 1991 shows in Japan. It’s not difficult to understand the allure of this package or its working parts, especially if you're tuned into George Harrison. As the pieces fall together, it becomes clear that the unevenness of his work was merely a reflection of the human foible swallowing up the Beatle myth. And it could be that's what George wanted all along -- a solitary and peaceful life away from the madness of being one of the most popular artists of his generation.
~ Shawn Perry

Acá va otro de brunchradio.com:

“Ubiquitous” is not a word that turns up in many George Harrison books. Yet, reminiscences of “the quiet one” have seemingly been everywhere in recent months. Just before the Christmas holidays, we saw the CD and DVD releases of the excellent tribute Concert For George (which coincidentally is currently getting air time during the annual PBS pledge drives). In the new year, we celebrated George’s Grammy award for the instrumental “Marwa Blues” from his Brainwashed album, and will be celebrating again this month with his long overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Along the way, the 40th anniversary of the Beatles coming to America made for some “fab” press, events and releases, and now we get a highly anticipated box set anthologizing an often overlooked phase of George’s career, The Dark Horse Years, 1976 – 1992.

Contained in the box are all of George’s studio albums released after the fold of Apple Records in the mid-70’s, up until the time of his death (not including a “best of” compilation and his work with the Traveling Wilburys). While each disc is also available separately, the box contains an added incentive in the form of a DVD containing many of George’s promotional videos of the era, as well as bonus interview and concert footage. With remastered sound, expanded inserts and bonus tracks, the set promises to be the Holy Grail for George buffs. On many levels, it succeeds, and on some it falls a bit short. To examine where, let’s take a guided tour of the box.

DISC ONE - Thirty Three and 1/3: Released in 1976, this was George’s age at the time, as well as the speed at which a record album (remember those?) played. Loaded with trademark slide guitar, the album marked a return to form following the disappointing Extra Texture and a greatest hits album that Capitol saw fit to load up with Beatles tracks. Just missing the top 10 (it went to #11), it contained the singles (remember those?) “Crackerbox Palace” and “This Song”, a mini-mockumentary about George’s tribulations in the “My Sweet Lord” / “He’s So Fine” lawsuit. A very well recorded album for its day, it sparkled on CD the first time around and sounds even better here. Peculiarly, the Somewhere In England album out take, “Tears Of the World” was selected as a bonus track and is tacked on the end.

DISC TWO – George Harrison: This self-titled 1979 release was perhaps George’s purest “pop” outing, cracking the top 20 (#14 this time around) and featuring the hit single “Blow Away”. Many were drawn to the curiosity of “Here Comes The Moon”, clearly a nod to his Beatle classic “Here Comes The Sun” (presented here in demo form as a bonus track as well), but the real throwback was “Not Guilty”, originally composed and recorded during the 1968 “white album” sessions.

DISC THREE – Somewhere In England: While not the most solid record George ever recorded, it is the one with the most troubled past. Rejected by Warner Brothers (the distributor for Dark Horse) in its original form, the album was reworked, dropping four songs and adding replacements, including the absolutely scathing opener “Blood From A Clone” in response to what George no doubt considered a major slap in the face. Upon release in 1981, much of the album’s warm reception was due to the touted “Beatle reunion” of George, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr on the tribute to recently slain band mate John Lennon, “All Those Years Ago” (which made it all the way to #2 on the singles chart). This time around, we see the album’s original cover art (that too was originally rejected upon its submission). While we get a demo of the album track “Save the World” as a bonus cut, be sure to check out “Unconsciousness Rules” which runs over half a minute longer than it did in it’s original form. Peculiarly, the four songs dropped from the original unreleased lineup are not presented here as the bonus tracks. Moreover, it might have been interesting to present both album lineups in context.

DISC FOUR – Gone Troppo: No doubt soured by the treatment by his record company last time around, and fundamentally at odds with the new phenomenon known as MTV, George did absolutely zero promotion for this album. The result was his first album to fail to break the top 100 since the experimental Electronic Sound from 1969. The box set gives us a chance to revisit this overlooked album, which contains many fine tracks, including “Mystical One” (also presented here in demo form as a bonus track), “Dream Away”, “That’s The Way It Goes” and the sunny title track. The “fab” moment here is the tune “Circles”, written back in 1968 and currently in circulation among collectors in demo form.

DISC FIVE – Cloud Nine: George’s top 10 comeback from 1987 is adorned here with two bonus tracks from the ill-fated movie Shanghai Surprise featuring the then Mr. & Mrs. Sean Penn. Having been George’s first album issued in the CD era, I find this to be a bit jarring, in that I’ve only ever known it in CD form (I guess on the other catalog reissues, bonus cuts are so commonplace as to be near obligatory). A great album top to bottom (perhaps his best single disc release), it featured the #1 single, “Got My Mind Set On You” and the irresistible “When We Was Fab”, an affectionate look back at the sixties.

DISC SIX – Live In Japan: Recorded in 1991, this collection was largely passed over, and perhaps would have enjoyed a warmer reception if the “with Eric Clapton and his band” subtitle had been more prominently emphasized. Listening back, it does sound a bit “sterile” and off center with the female backup vocalists on many tracks (I liken it to “the George Harrison revue”). Don’t believe the company line about there not be any bonus material available for this release; both “Love Comes To Everyone” and “Fish On The Sand” were performed on the brief tour, and were not included on either the original release or this reissued edition.

DVD: The main attraction here for the collector, this disc contains the promo videos for “This Song”, “Crackerbox Palace”, “Faster”, “When We Was Fab” (stunning and hilarious), “This Is Love” and two versions of “Got My Mind Set On You”. In addition, we get four live performances from the Japan tour, “Taxman”, “Cloud Nine”, “Devil’s Radio”, and “Cheer Down”, as well as interview clips, movie bits and in-studio footage from the recording session for “Shanghai Surprise”.

So, what’s not to like? Frankly, nothing. What is here is mostly first-rate, but as collectors and enthusiasts are prone to do, let’s look at a few “what might have beens”.

First off, the DVD could have easily accommodated George’s three remaining videos from the era, “True Love”, “Blow Away” and of course “All Those Years Ago”. Nothing subjective here, it just would have closed the loop nicely and given the fans something truly special. This is to say nothing of adding some truly rare TV material (like the Saturday Night Live appearance with Paul Simon).

As for the bonus tracks, the unreleased demos and alternate tracks are indeed a treat (most notably the exquisite “Here Comes The Moon”), but their alignment here leaves many gaps in the story. Earlier, I mentioned the four tracks left off Somewhere In England. OK, we get one here (tacked on to 33 1/3, yet). We had gotten one previously (“Lay His Head” as the b-side of “Got My Mind Set On You”, over 15 years ago. Why would that not be included here?). As for the other two (“Flying Hour” and “Sat Singing”), they remain available only in the limited edition Genesis Songs By George Harrison book and CD sets (and on various bootlegs, of course). Most noticeably absent are the three tracks exclusive to the 1989 (you guessed it – out of print) Best Of Dark Horse album, “Cheer Down”, “Poor Little Girl” and “Cockamamie Business”. The point is, these and several other stray tracks might better have been compiled on to a “bonus disc” for inclusion in the box, instead of scattering the bonus tracks and thereby leaving the album releases in their original context.

Perhaps some of these stray bits and leftover video clips may be compiled in the long-promised Portrait of a Leg-End anthology. Until then, there is much here to enjoy (getting past the presentation and compilation issues detailed here). For those of us who miss George every single day, the recent releases and accolades are something to savor.



2 comentarios:

  1. hola: ante todo, genial la pagina! no encuentro el link de descarga para este post. Me lo podrian indicar, por favor? un abrazo gigante

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    1. Hola Sanyu, debes leer el post de Relayer, ahí está bien explicado. Que tengas un buen día.

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