George Harrison Three-Way Special Edition: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 22, 2022

OK, get your mind out of the gutter — I am referring to George as a triple threat: performer, songwriter, and producer!

423) George Harrison — “Beautiful Girl”

George demo’d this beautiful song for his All Things Must Pass triple-album magnum opus, but didn’t finish/release it until ’76’s 33 & 1/3. I find his haunting demo from ’70 infinitely superior to the too slick album track. Rob Sheffield writes of the demo that:

[“Beautiful Girl” is a] disarmingly romantic folk tune, with a touch of Smokey Robinson in the melody and the intricate touch of his own songs from Rubber Soul. It’s still a work in progress, which is probably why he salted it away for his 1976 solo album Thirty Three and a Third—it took his wife Olivia to inspire him to finish it.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/george-harrisons-new-all-things-must-pass-box-set-an-exclusive-guide-1203846/amp/

Back before the release of the 50th Anniversary edition of All Things Must Pass, Richie Unterberger wrote of the bootlegged demo that:

Some of the[ All Things Must Pass demos] were obviously too weak for inclusion on the final album, but others are good, or would have been strong contenders for the LP with more polishing of the songwriting and production ([songs including] “Beautiful Girl[“] . . . are standouts). One regrets that Harrison didn’t take the time to work these into shape for the third disc . . . instead of filling out the triple album with half-baked jams.

https://www.allmusic.com/album/beware-of-abkco%21-mw0000942420

“Never seen such a beautiful girl, got me shaking inside. Calling on me from deep within her eyes. Not the kind you go handing around. Want to keep her right there. But this love it don’t come as no surprise. . . .”

Here is the 33 & 1/3 version:

424) Doris Troy — “ Gonna Get My Baby Back”

George produced, co-wrote (along with Troy, Ringo and Stephen Stills) and maybe played guitar on this smokin’ track from Doris Troy’s ’70 album on Apple Records. Joe Marchese writes that “Troy jams with two Beatles (Harrison and Starkey) and Stills for a track that would make a great sing-along, if only one could possibly keep up with Doris’ insistent vocals! (https://theseconddisc.com/2010/11/18/review-the-apple-records-remasters-part-4-harrisons-soulful-trio/)

Of Troy, Richie Unterberger relates that:

Surely one of the most talented one-hit wonders of the rock era, Doris Troy hit the Top Ten with “Just One Look” in 1963, but also recorded many other fine pop-soul sides for Atlantic between 1963 and 1965. Unlike many soul performers of the time, Troy wrote most of her own material . . . . [H]er Atlantic sides blend elements of gospel, girl group, blues, and pop into a rich New York soul sound. Troy never reached the charts again . . . but was more appreciated in England, where she toured occasionally and where the Hollies covered her “What’cha Gonna Do About It” on their first album.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/doris-troy-mn0000801573/biography

Wikipedia, citing a bunch of books, says that:

[Troy] increasingly looked to Britain for continued success as a solo artist. Her brand of soul music was revered there throughout the 1960s . . . . Troy settled in London in 1969 and became a sought-after vocal arranger, most notably contributing the gospel-inflected chorus to the Rolling Stones’ song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. In the early summer of 1969 . . . Troy attended the overdub sessions for Bully Preston’s first album on Apple Records . . . . On meeting Preston’s producer, George Harrison, Troy was surprised to learn that he was a fan of her work, and following the sessions, Harrison offered her a recording contract with Apple. . . .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doris_Troy_(album)

Joe Marchese adds that “by 1970, [Troy had] established herself as a grande dame of background singing (you can hear her on “You’re So Vain,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and Dark Side of the Moon, to name just a few) . . . .

Unterberger continues the story:

An all-star cast supported Troy on her lone Apple effort: George Harrison, Billy Preston, Peter Frampton, Stephen Stills, Klaus Voormann, Jackie Lomax, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, and Delaney & Bonnie all contributed, and Harrison, Stills, Lomax, Preston, Voormann, and Ringo Starr pitched in on the songwriting, though Troy wrote or co-wrote most of the songs.

https://www.allmusic.com/album/doris-troy-mw0000677070

Wikipedia adds that: “Harrison co-produced all of Troy’s Apple sessions [and] other associates of Harrison offered to contribute to Troy’s album, which [according to Harrison biographer Simon Leng] soon “[mutated] into an all-star affair” with an emphasis on spontaneous collaboration.”

“I see my baby walking down the track. I’m gonna try to get my baby back. There goes my baby walking down the track. I wanna get my little baby back. Well, I know I did my little baby wrong. That is why I am singing this song. And in my heart I know I did him wrong. And that’s why I’m singing this song. I wanna tell him how sad I’d be if he leaves me alone. Oh, I wanna tell him how glad I’d be if he comes back home. I’d be a fool if I should let him go. No, no, I love him so. Please, darling, please give me one more try. I can’t let you say goodbye. Please, baby, please give me one more try. I can’t let you say goodbye. Oh, I see my baby walking down the track. . . .”

425) Jackie Lomax — “The Eagle Laughs at You”

“The Eagle”, the B-side to “Sour Milk Sea” (see #164), the first single from Lomax’s ’68 Apple Records album Is This What You Want “featured Harrison and Clapton playing rhythm and lead guitar alongside Lomax”. (https://www.beatlesbible.com/1968/06/24/george-harrison-produces-jackie-lomax-sour-milk-sea/) Derek See says that “‘Sour Milk Sea’ is stellar, but the b side is a CRACKING piece of psychedelic English soul. (Sounds like Eric Clapton blazing away on guitar, too (caught at a precious time before he became a big bore.)” (http://dereksdaily45.blogspot.com/2008/12/jackie-lomax-sour-milk-sea-bw-eagle.html) Without commenting on God, the song is indeed a cracking piece of psychedelic English soul, in my mind the best song on the album. 00individual calls it a “raucous Heavy-Metal-tinged Rocker” and “an uptempo barnstormer” and quotes Lomax as noting that “[i]n the middle of it, there was some guy who was sweeping up the studio who played the cornet, so we got him on it and overloaded it so that it sounds like a bloody elephant screaming through the place.” (https://00individual.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/1960%E2%80%B2s-1970%E2%80%B2s-album-track-gems-jackie-lomax-home-is-in-my-head-1971/)

As to Lomax’s back story, Bruce Eder explains that:

Lomax should have been one of Liverpool’s homegrown rock & roll stars — that’s what the Beatles believed . . . . [He was first in the Undertakers,] who occupied the front rank of Liverpool bands . . . both the Undertakers and the Beatles worked behind [the Liverpool vocal group the Chants], and it was through those alternate gigs, as well as crisscrossing each other’s paths on the Liverpool and Hamburg scenes, that the two groups got to know each other. . . . Lomax . . . began working with an R&B band that evolved into the quartet Lomax Alliance . . . [which was then] signed by Brian Epstein . . . . . The quartet only ever put out one single, “Try as You May,” in May of 1967, but Epstein’s death late in August of that year ended whatever interest [CBS] had in the group . . . . [W]ith the founding of Apple Records . . . . George Harrison  remembered [him] well . . . and recorded Lomax on a pair of songs, “Little Yellow Pills” and “Won’t You Come Back.” He was happy enough with the session to have Lomax . . . record . . . “Sour Milk Sea[” b]acked with Lomax’s “The Eagle Laughs at You[.]” Buoyed by positive reviews and an enthusiastic response on the radio . . . Harrison recorded . . . additional songs with him . . . . result[ing in] Is This What You Want . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/jackie-lomax-mn0000130486/biography

Unfortunately, the album didn’t chart.

“Jump inside your limousine, run right round the world. Flash a hundred notes of green, get yourself a girl. But all the time you’re standing there looking like you’re talking, the eagle laughs at you Just barely walking. Run around your office block tell me what to do. Regulating life by clock, that’s the life for you. But all the time you’re standing there looking like you’re talking. The eagle laughs at you just barely walking. Hey, hey, hey, there’s nobody who has got enough money to pay the entrance fee to paradise. And if you haven’t got enough then you’ll find it pretty rough, after living your luxurious life. Run around your mansion with a hundred servants clean. You will never do without a million dollar dream. But all the time you’re standing there looking like you’re talking, the eagle laughs at you just barely walking. You know, the eagle laughs at you just barely walking. . . .”

live

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