All Things Must Pass – 50 Years On

George Harrison Released his immortal first solo album, All Things Must Pass, 50 Years Ago Today

One of the most popular albums ever, All Things Must Pass remains a time capsule and at its best, timeless

All_Things_Must_Pass_onemanz George Harrison

All Things Must Pass is the first solo album released recorded and released by English musician George Harrison. It consists primarily of songs he had written during his years as a member of the Beatles, as well as brand new songs that reflected his advancing interest in Eastern spirituality.

Technically, it was Harrison’s third album, as he had released a film soundtrack and a record of Moog synthesizer compositions previously. But he always considered All Things Must Pass to be his first solo album as the artist he considered himself to really be.

The initial demo of the title track was record at Abbey Road Studios on Harrison’s 26th birthday, February 25, 1969. It and other compositions were rejected by Lennon and McCartney for inclusion in the next Beatles album. In fact, tracks on All Things Must Pass date to as early as 1966.

I can’t help but wonder what some of those pieces would sound like recorded in the ’60s by the Beatles and produced by George Martin. Quite different to be sure! But as they are, mainly through the lush lens of Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” production techniques, they are part of a unique artistic endeavor on such a scale that it showed up in record stores in a large box, like were only used for operas or collections of classical music at that time.

Actually it consisted of a double album and a third disc of improvisations that was given the separate title Apple Jams. “For the jams, I didn’t want to just throw [them] in the cupboard, and yet at the same time it wasn’t part of the record; that’s why I put it on a separate label to go in the package as a kind of bonus.” Harrison later told Billboard Magazine shortly before his death.

The Legends Live On

I will not venture to share my opinion which tracks on the original double album withstand the test of half a century, to my ear. I mean, who am I to debate with the powers that placed All Things Must Pass into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and placed it on so many lofty “best albums of all time” lists?

But I will say that I absolutely love the third disc that was included in the original release. I wish there was much more of that music made available. Apparently there is a great deal of unreleased material from the multiple recording sessions.

It remains a mystery just exactly who played on what track. A recent book attempted to list the musicians by track. But it is guess work based on various interviews conducted many years after the fact. It has been dismissed as a misguided attempt with good intentions, with more errors than accuracy.

Part of the problem lies in the fact many songs were re-recorded and most had many overdub sessions as well, which included new players from those on the original takes. A commentary on a deep-dive music fan forum put it this way:

Different studios, Trident and Apple, using basically two different “core” groups with lots of help from his friends. The original sessions that started in late May/early June 1970, utilized Clapton and his soon-to-be bandmates… Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock and Jim Gordon. The other “group” mainly consisted of Ringo Starr, Billy Preston and Klaus Voorman. Sometimes Ringo would drum on tracks with Clapton, Radle and Whitlock. Sometimes Alan White would be the drummer of choice.

Later sessions that ended in October 1970 quite often featured Gary Wright, Ringo, Alan White, Pete Ham, Tommy Evans and Mike Gibbins from Badfinger, Pete Drake, Gary Brooker, Dave Mason (on occasion), Peter Frampton and others. LOTS of overdubbing at this point.

George re-recorded MOST of his lead and backing vocals at this stage. Whitlock and Clapton did a fair amount of backing vocals, along with George and probably popped in and out of the sessions as they progressed through the autumn. It’s quite likely that session folks played on specific tracks that were later wiped as the volumous overdubs progressed. Someone like a Phil Collins may well have played a conga drum on Art Of Dying, but there’s little audio evidence that his contribution made the final mix. It’s certainly possible that Peter Frampton contributed to many songs on acoustic guitar that may or may not have made it to record. There’s NO way to tell, since George, Ham, Evans did so much acoustic tracking.

Other possible participants like Rick Wright from Pink Floyd remain unsubstantiated rumor.

I highly recommend dusting this one off, if you haven’t heard it in a while. And especially I would recommend it to people who have never heard all of the material on this true work of art, even if it is not your normal cup of tea. Here is a link to a site where you hear all three discs in order, for free.

Stream All Things Must Pass

It has been a very enjoyable two hours or more, as I listened to the entire album straight through for the first time since the 1970s. And I will add some of the tracks into my rotation, which I had forgotten how much I liked way back when.

Color George Harrison All Things Must Pass onemanz

Related Reading

Remembering George  1943 – 2001

 

Happy 75th Birthday Neil Young!

Neil Young Never Rusts

Ever prolific, the Canadian-born troubadour has reached a venerable milestone as he turns 75 years of age.

Neil Young has performed in pop culture’s spotlight of fame since his singular, contra tenor vocals rose out of the folk-rock scene of the psychedelic ‘60s. A maverick among recording and concert artists, he has just as often performed outside of that proverbial spotlight, since he cares nothing forto the whims of public popularity or the critics who’ve blow hot and cold across his career, even as his legions of fans, both casual and hardcore, remain receptive and appreciative.

Whatever has inspired or driven this reclusive man to make public music, he has done so on his own terms, year after year, moving like a chameleon through the decades, at times absorbing current musical trends and letting them influence his artistic explorations, while returning again and again to the bedrock style of folkie acoustic music and turgid electric rock n roll that remains truly unlike any other artist. The possible exceptions are those who have emulated the rough edges and raw emotional effect of Young’s writing, playing, and singing, but are never able to come near his inimitable panache.

As far as I am concerned, no single composition encapsulates what it is to be Neil Young as Natural Beauty. A social ballad, more than political, it pleads for the preservation what little of pristine nature remains in the world, mixed with the artist’s feelings about the short-sighted results of modern consumerism. Natural Beauty is Neil Young at his most pure and unadorned, an artist who creates art in the spontaneity of the moment and who would likely be unleashing the same art into the world whether anyone showed up to listen or no. And here below is a very good performance of that song.

A melancholy mood is set from first notes, with music that is as languid and haunting as can be heard from an acoustic guitar, wafting and echoing, at times immense, as the tentative peal of his harmonica rises up, like the lonely call of some wild bird. So very Neil – unhurried, simple in construction yet as pregnant and poignant as the swollen, ancient river he will soon be singing about .

Then come the lyrics. Gruff and at times as cryptic as a Pinter play, his imperfect poetry glows with the power of the emotional depths surging below the surface, conveying much more than the words do when read at face value, as they float along the meandering current of his guitar, with the verses set out like musical bridges between the soul-wrenching laments wailing from his mouth harp, which seem to express what words cannot.

There was another performance of this song from around the same time period, recorded in Ireland, and put on the internet by someone who disabled the ability to embed it elsewhere. And now it seems to have been removed and is no longer available. A pity. But this one above, recorded for some television program or other, is still a good one. For me, this song gets me right in the heart strings every time I hear it, no matter the specific performance. Far from being a hit, or even well-known, I put it on the very short list at the top of his many worthy and worthwhile compositions.

Like Dylan’s original version of Visions of Johanna, I can only imagine what it must have been like to have been present in the room and heard Neil Young performing a previously unknown song and have Natural Beauty unfold in all its ragged glory.

Far from slowing down, the septuagenarian singer-songwriter has released three albums in less than a year, including his 40th LP album of original material, Homegrown, (June 2020, but recorded in 1974-75), and most recently, September’s solo EP entitled, The Times, featuring performances streamed from his home during the COVID-19 isolation, and November’s Return to Greendale, a live album recorded in 2003. And in June of 2019, he released his 39th LP of new original material, Colorado, recorded that summer with his time rock band, Crazy Horse, that now includes longtime sideman Nils Lofgren standing guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro, who retired in 2014.

And speaking of Sampedro and Crazy Horse, here I begin a slew of Neil Young Videos that remain close to my heart.

Powderfinger, when it was brand new:

Powderfinger from Live Rust

Unfortunately the version from Live Rust is only available on Facebook.

Here is a more obscure tune, but awesome Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

Ramada Inn:

Lookout for My Love, from MTV Unplugged:

Featuring Nils Lofgren: guitar,  Ben Keith: Dobro,  Spooner Oldham: keyboards, Tim Drummond: bass, Oscar Butterworth: drums,  Astrid Young & Nicolette Larson: backing vocals

Transformer Man:

That he certainly is.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – 1970

Various Excerpts from the film Time Fades Away

 

The Loner -1970

Appropriately enough, solo

Walk Like a Giant – 2012

Speaking of IMMENSE!

More videos in the article about Neil’s acoustic guitars at One Man’s Guitar (coming soon.)

 

 

T Spoon Phillips Live TODAY – 2:30 and 8:30 EDT Social Distancing

Music for a Social Distancing Audience – T Spoon Phillips

Same set, for different time zones

REMINDER: I will be performing on YouTube Live for the first time today. 2:30 PM Eastern time (7:30 British Summer Time) on channel tspnyc. And again tonight for Americans at 8:30 EDT on channel onemanzguitar.
Here is the link to tspnyc.
 
And the link for onemanzguitar.
T Spoon Phillips tspguitar.com

Three-Captain Mashup

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeahhhhh!”

I'm your captain kangaroo trips grand funk

This is pretty darn clever and very funny, if you are familiar with the references here displayed.

First, the words “I’m your captain” come from a 1970 Grand Funk Railroad song of the same name, still played frequently on Classic Rock radio.

But the photo shows the body and guitar of Jerry Garcia, of the Grateful Dead, known to his fans as Captain Trips, because of that band’s association with Sixties LSD culture and the musical genre known as Acid Rock.

But the head belongs to actor Bob Keeshan, known to America as Captain Kangaroo, the host of a children’s television program that ran from 1955 to 1984.

Depending upon your age, you may not remember Captain Kangaroo.

He most-beloved by most American children. The Walter Cronkite of the pre-schooler set.

But then, if you don’t know Captain Kangaroo, you may not know much about “Uncle Walter.”

Walter Cronkite was once “the most trusted man in America,” trusted by the American people even more than the President of the United States, at a time when that was really saying something.

And during his tenure as the face of American journalism, America went from the idealism of towering figures like Eisenhower and Kennedy to the tarnished figure and flawed ambition of Nixon, who still seems a giant of international diplomacy and political savvy compared to the abysmal abomination we are left with today.

As for Captain Trips, you may not remember him very well either, if all of this is new to you.

But when it comes to far out trips of a musical nature, few compare with the free-form composition “Dark Star,” from the 1960s, it is here performed in the late ’70s.

But that is a bit much, I have included another video below, of a somewhat more conventional medley performed around the same time.

Peace

Now see? Isn’t that meme funny?

Woodstock 1969 on PBS

American Experience: Woodstock – Three Days That Defined a Generation on PBS

This is an excellent documentary

Last night I watched this documentary on the Apple TV PBS app, which has a lot of free things to watch, as well as many more things to watch if you are a PBS Passport member.

It is being aired on Sunday, August 17 at 3PM on my local PBS station in New York City. Check your own local listings!

This is particularly good for people who do not know that much about the Woodstock music festival, but it is also good for people who think they know a lot about the event.

It makes a wonderful 90 minute primer for anyone who wants to go on to watch thing Oscar-winning documentary from 1970 that focused on the musical performances. This American Experience episode focuses more on how the festival came to be, the many obstacles facing the organizers, the many issues faced by all concerned throughout the event, and many first hand accounts with much previously unseen footage of the people who met as a temporary city, “half a million strong,” and left part of a world that would never be the same.

Given the horrifying trends of selfishness, bigotry, and greed plaguing America today, from the highest office in the land down to its smallest communities, it is refreshing to be reminded that the enlightened spirit love and peace that burst upon our collective society fifty years ago this weekend still lives in many hearts across the land, even if they are currently being shouted down and drowned out by the forces of hatred and violence.

I had tears in my eye at the end of the program, for what once was, and what may yet be, and so much that has been wasted on the way.

Check it out on PBS.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/woodstock/

PBS Woodstock American Experience

Woodstock Concert Broadcast on Anniversary

Entire Woodstock Concert “As it Happened”

WXPN Philadelphia 8/15 – 8/18 – Available On-Line

Thankfully, the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair aka An Aquarian Exhibition: 3 Days of Peace, Love, and Music starts on a Thursday, rather than a Friday as it did in 1969. This means the final act, Jimi Hendrix, will air at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, rather than on a Monday.

After all these years, I am shocked to learn the audio from the ENTIRE Woodstock concert has been preserved, and will be broadcast in its entirety, in order, at the same time of day. I had assumed many of the lesser-known acts were either never documented, or were left on the cutting room floors over all the years of released and re-released material.

I guess it is too much to hope that I can figure out how to record the many acts I will be sleeping through.

Broadcast Schedule –

Note: many nights reach way past midnight
These are the 2019 Broadcast days of the week!

Thursday, August 15: Woodstock poster
5:07 p.m. — Richie Havens
7:10 p.m. — Swami Satchidanadna
7:30 p.m. — Sweetwater
8:30 p.m. — Bert Sommer
9:20 p.m. — Tim Hardin
10:20 p.m. — Ravi Shankar
11:20 p.m. — Melanie
11:55 p.m. — Arlo Guthrie

Friday, August 16:
12:55 a.m. — Joan Baez
12:30 p.m. — Quill
1:20 p.m. — Country Joe McDonald
2 p.m. — Santana
3:30 p.m. — John B. Sebastian
4:45 p.m. — The Keef Hartley Band
6 p.m. — The Incredible String Band
7:30 p.m. — Canned Heat
9 p.m. — Mountain
10:30 p.m. — Grateful Dead

Saturday, August 17:
12:30 a.m. — Creedence Clearwater Revival
2 a.m. — Janis Joplin
3:30 a.m. — Sly & The Family Stone
5 a.m. — The Who
8 a.m. — Jefferson Airplane
2 p.m. — Joe Cocker
6:30 p.m. — Country Joe & The Fish
8:15 p.m. — Ten Years After
10 p.m. — The Band

Sunday, August 18
12 a.m. — Johnny Winter
1:30 a.m. — Blood, Sweat & Tears
3 a.m. — Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
6 a.m. — The Butterfield Blues Band
7:30 a.m. — Sha Na Na
9 a.m. — Jimi Hendrix

April is the Cruelest Month

Funny

How I’d almost forgotten what it’s like

That buoyant highline ride across a string of performances that just won’t let you stop til it’s all done.

But after two days of wake-up, travel, play til numb, stare at alien bedroom ceiling, get up too soon after a dawn ice storm, absorb coffee and carbs, play too many hours too long but not stop even after the last video is shot, prattle on over burgers before bed, and then performing for a third day at the Martin Museum despite swollen fingers and the unexpected construction of a special presentation site for a private, deep-pocketed tour heard just off-camera, and ending up in a hotel room rented to construct our own makeshift video studio because some new Martins suddenly became available at the Distribution Center, just as I was on my way to that stage coach home, I still ended up spending Friday night back in Brooklyn, vibrating in front of my best friends while gratefully absorbing their 21-year-old Balblair and Insanely-year-old Caol Ila, and then staring at my own bedroom ceiling only to not be able sleep past 7 on Saturday, what with my girlfriend sick as a dog in Florida when I can’t take care of her, and so much back log of writing to do after the soul-crushing fatigue of my own 30-day bout of the flu has finally dissipated just in time for this past week’s trip.

And here I am on Saturday night, now after midnight, after a good sushi dinner with “super dry” hot sake, after borrowing a pre-CBS seafoam green Stratocaster, after one too many glasses of the Great Malt Which Wounds from the Isle of Skye, after Season 1 episode 2 of Grantchester, here I sit, with roommates and cat having given up long before.

And 11 hours from now I head out, Strat in hand, to the plush Battalion Studios in Gowanus for a large amplifier reunion jam with my 1990s rock band, the Cheese Beads. (And me with no ear plugs!)

I have a sneaking suspicion that sometime Monday morning I will fall off the proverbial cliff…

Until the next tour gets underway.

But at least that one will require of my fingers little beyond giving massages to some very special toes situated near, if not always on, a beach in Florida, and lapping up some sun and sea.

I’ve never been that far south before. I hear it’s nice there.

 

Talking Heads

Live from Rome, 1980, Talking Heads featuring Adrian Belew

Hypnotic, Exhilarating, and Far Too Long Ago

Talking Heads had been together for five years at the time this concert film was shot. There is as much time between this performance and today as between this performance and the Attack on Pearl Harbor.

The band’s sneak attack on conventional popular music ultimately changed the musical world order, as ripples of the post-Punk revolution were felt ever afterwards. It could be said this was Talking Heads at their peak, just before they took a hiatus and returned as a slicker, well-established music industry entity that appears in Johnathan Demme’s cinematic release Stop Making Sense.

By this time, the core members of the band were supplemented with many more human components that gelled into one of the most original and influential contemporary concert acts of their time. This included the exuberant anarchy of guitarist Adrian Belew, whose compelling fretboard antics continued to be imitated by other Talking Heads guitarists (and elsewhere) after he moved on to other musical horizons.

Happy 70th Birthday to Jerry Harrison!