Saturday, April 23, 2016

CD Retro (Fan) Review – The Best of George Harrison, by George Harrison

This album is both a fantastic introduction to and an efficient overview of Harrison’s early career as part of the Fab Four and as a budding solo artist.

As others have pointed out, yes, the Beatles songs included on this record are available on several Beatles collections. However, this is the only place you’ll find many if not all of Harrison’s Beatles compositions by themselves in one place, and there is nowhere better to have them than on his first greatest hits compilation.

First of all, the seven Beatles tunes here are quintessential George Harrison songs, written and performed by him with backup by his fellow Beatles. Second, their inclusion facilitates a true appreciation of Harrison’s artistic evolution from writing and performing his songs with the Beatles to writing and performing his songs with his own band.

What sets Harrison apart from the other Beatles and makes him unique as a singer-songwriter are his folksy, soul-searching compositions and his humble, earnest vocals.

As a guitarist, Harrison is very underrated and underappreciated, and aside from a couple of guitar parts played by other Beatles and Harrison’s friend Eric Clapton, the album is flush with Harrison’s intricate lead and rhythm guitar work.

The record also shows Harrison’s transition from a skillful and creative rock guitarist with the Beatles to slide guitar virtuoso, whose tight, soulful solos reinforce his melodies without being flashy or over the top.

Album highlights include Harrison Beatle classics “Something,” “Here Comes the Sun,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (featuring Clapton on lead guitar) and early solo hits “My Sweet Lord,” “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth),” and “What Is Life.” Interestingly, “Here Comes the Sun” sounds more like Harrison’s later solo work on his own Dark Horse record label.

This is an excellent showcase of Harrison’s formative years, especially his metamorphosis from Quiet Beatle to enigmatic solo superstar.

--Raj Manoharan

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