all-things-must-pass

Who is that dour fellow on the front cover? Get out of sour milk sea, brother. He looks the way I feel right around side three whenever I try to listen to this album all the way through. A sprawling double (triple if you count the dull Apple Jam bonus) album overproduced to an echoing mess by Phil Spector, George’s proper solo debut is still a fine collection of songs. But some of the production choices along with the sheer amount of material make it a chore sit through all at once. I love side one, with “I’d Have You Anytime,” co-written by Mr Dylan; “My Sweet Lord,” which is not as smart (nor as good) as John’s god song from the same year but still much better than the old Chiffons tune from which George supposedly stole the melody; “Wah-Wah,” one of the few instances where the Spector production actually works, with its cacophony of guitars backing the wry lyric supposedly written the day George bailed from a Let It Be session; and “All Things Must Pass,” a gorgeous song nearly overdone with all the strings and drama layered on – check out an acoustic or stripped down version for a better reflection of its beauty. After that, the production really gets the better of some of this material, particularly in the odd R&B-with-horns flavor of some of the tracks. George, try as he might, is not an R&B guy. Sitars, man. More sitars. Two of my favorites, “Run Of The Mill” and “Beware Of Darkness,” didn’t really jump out at me until I heard the acoustic versions; both fine songs with sharp lyrics (“Watch out now, take care/Beware of greedy leaders/They take you where you should not go/While weeping atlas cedars/Just want to grow and grow”) that don’t stand out as much as they should amid the mucky production. Get the Beware Of ABKCO boot for the acoustic versions; don’t get the remastered “anniversary” version of this album with an inferior mix; don’t bother with the bonus Apple Jams; don’t let Phil Spector produce your album; don’t let Phil Spector near your wife; or kids.

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