Living in the Material World [Bonus Tracks]

Living in the Material World [Bonus Tracks]

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by George Harrison
     
 

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How does an instant multimillion-selling album become an underrated minor masterpiece? George Harrison's follow-up to the triple-disc All Things Must Pass (which had been comprised of an immense backlog of great songs that he'd built up across the last years of his time with the Beatles), Living in the Material World was necessarily a letdown for fans

Overview

How does an instant multimillion-selling album become an underrated minor masterpiece? George Harrison's follow-up to the triple-disc All Things Must Pass (which had been comprised of an immense backlog of great songs that he'd built up across the last years of his time with the Beatles), Living in the Material World was necessarily a letdown for fans and critics, appearing as it did two-and-a-half-years after its predecessor without that earlier album's outsized songbag from which to draw. And it does seem like Harrison narrowed his sights and his vision for this record, which has neither the bold musical expansiveness nor the overwhelming confidence of its predecessor. And while there are still some beautiful and delightfully lyrical, charming moments throughout, few of the melodies are as instantly memorable and compelling as those of most of the songs on the earlier record, and some of the most serious songs here, such as "The Light That Has Lighted the World," seem weighed down with their own sense of purpose, in ways that All Things Must Pass mostly (but not entirely) avoided. What Living in the Material World does show off far better than the earlier record, however, is Harrison's guitar work -- unlike the prior album, with its outsized contingent of musicians including Eric Clapton and Dave Mason on guitars, he's the only axeman on Material World, and it does represent his solo playing and songwriting at something of a peak. Most notable are his blues stylings and slide playing, glimpsed on some of the later Beatles sessions but often overlooked by fans. "Don't Let Me Wait Too Long" is driven by a delectable acoustic rhythm guitar and has a great beat. The title track isn't great, but it does benefit from a tight, hard, band sound, and "The Lord Loves the One (That Loves the Lord)," despite its title, is the high point of the record, a fast, rollicking, funky, bluesy jewel with a priceless guitar break (maybe the best of Harrison's solo career) that should have been at the heart of any of Harrison's concert set. Vocally, Harrison was always an acquired taste, and he isn't as self-consciously pretty or restrained here, but it is an honest performance, and his singing soars magnificently in his heartfelt performance on "The Day the World Gets Round," a song that resembles "Beware of Darkness" and also, curiously enough, "Across the Universe." Perhaps a less serious title would have represented the album better, but nobody was looking for self-effacement from any ex-Beatle except Ringo (who's also here, natch) in those days. Even in the summer of 1973, after years of war and strife and disillusionment, some of us were still sort of looking -- to borrow a phrase from a Lennon-McCartney song -- or hoping to get from them something like "the word" that would make us free. And George, God love him, had the temerity to actually oblige, to the extent of painting a few signs here and there suggesting where he'd found it and where we might, all with some great playing and some laughs. And it wasn't all serious -- there are pointed moments of humor throughout, especially on the title song; and "Sue Me, Sue You Blues" was a follow-up to Beatles-era tracks such as "Only a Northern Song," dealing with the internal workings and business side of his lingering involvement with the group, in this case the multiple, overlapping, sometimes rotating lawsuits that attended the breakup of their organization. And one track, "Try Some, Buy Some," which he'd given away to Ronnie Spector at the time, actually dated back to the All Things Must Pass sessions. [The 2006 remastered edition appeared as both a standard CD with bonus tracks and the same disc with a bonus DVD. The new edition features cleaner, crisper sound, remastered at a higher volume level that brings out the details of the playing as well as what expressiveness there is in Harrison's voice in sharper relief. There are also two important bonus tracks added on, "Deep Blue," which was originally the B-side of the "Bangla Desh" single, and a fantastic showcase for his acoustic guitar work (and a very personal song inspired by the death of his mother); and "Miss O'Dell," an exuberant and richly produced, light-hearted number (George cracks up audibly twice on the finished recording) that contrasts about as sharply as it is possible to do, with most of the original album's content and the other bonus track (and perhaps Living in the Material World could have used it, and maybe one other song like it, originally). The DVD, running a total of about 15 minutes, included some choice footage of "Give Me Love" from the 1991 George Harrison tour of Japan, featuring George, Eric Clapton, and Andy Fairweather Low (the latter playing the slide guitar part); and outtakes of three more tracks, set to still-frames, and promotional footage at the time, of the album's original manufacture. Dedicated fans will love the outtakes, though many may ask where the rest of the footage of the 1991 tour is and when it might surface (and, while they're at it, where the Splinter recordings are, which featured some of George's finest work in conjunction with other artists).] [The 2006 reissue was also released with two bonus tracks.]

Product Details

Release Date:
09/26/2006
Label:
Capitol
UPC:
0094636689920
catalogNumber:
66899
Rank:
13936

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

George Harrison   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Ringo Starr   Drums
Gary Wright   Keyboards
Nicky Hopkins   Keyboards
Jim Keltner   Drums
Jim Gordon   Drums
John Barham   Strings
Zakir Hussain   Tabla
Jim Horn   Flute,Saxophone
Klaus Voormann   Bass,Bass Guitar

Technical Credits

George Harrison   Composer,Audio Production
Phil Spector   Producer,Audio Production
Kevin Howlett   Liner Notes
Dhani Harrison   Producer
Olivia Harrison   Producer
Drew Lorimer   Art Direction

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Living in the Material World 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
George Harrison's followup to his 1970 #1 album 'All Things Must Pass' (if you're not counting 1971's 'Concert for Bangladesh') was highly criticized back in the summer of 1973 for being 'better than Sominex'. George did not have the 'Wall of Sound' production by Phil Spector this time around (except for one song), so the change of sound was imminent. George did hire a group of great musicians again - Jim Keltner, Jim Horn, Nicky Hopkins, etc. - which provide strong support for his music (George himself plays exceptionally well in this record). What happened here is that some songs took a 'holier than thou' attitude that critics hate. And with George producing the record, he seemed to allow his vocals to be less important than his message. As a result, the slow-tempo songs such as 'That Is All', 'The Light That Has Lighted the World', and 'Who Can See It' contain vocals which, although sincere, sound whiny and are just not that good . The vocal in 'Try Some, Buy Some' is downright painful to listen to (where is George Martin's double-tracking production when you need it?). The album, though, does contain bright spots. The uptempo songs, such as the title song, 'Sue Me, Sue You Blues','Don't Let Me Wait Too Long', and 'The Lord Loves the One' are first rate. Lyrically, the album is just as strong as 'All Things Must Pass' even if it gets 'preachy' sometimes. (Note: Though the album art is filled with Krishna references, musically, George applies his Krishna-based beliefs tactfully). 'Living in the Material World' was, also, a #1 album, probably launched there by the massive popularity of 'All Things Must Pass'. Unfortunately for George, this album help seed the upcoming criticisms of his next two self-produced albums, 'Dark Horse' (1974) and 'Extra Texture' (1975) which, I admit, lack the quality of this effort.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is DEFINATLEY and album to buy if you are a fan of George Harrison's work.This is probably his best album of all.For those of you who love the thundering Sitar that became a Harrison trademark,listen to the title track.Sue me Sue you Blues takes you back to the days of Taxman with all the money problems that McCartney caused at the time by suing the remaining Beatles.Give me love was a number 1 hit.Much better work than anything McCartney released at the time.Buy it now,you won't be disappointed!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
George Harrison is still on form with this follow up to ATMP, the big band wall of sound has gone (Good!) and it tails of a touch towards the end, but a very good mellow ablum with one or two religious bits, very enjoyable to listen to, nice and mellowish.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Each of the Beatles were given a blank check after the band was dissolved, so the inconsistency of the solo projects is no surprise. Still they all carried on making records in their own way. This album has the best of the past and the current (at the time) and is an honest expresion of what he was going through then. I loved it when I was 12 (1973) and still dig most of the tracks today.
brdhouse1197 More than 1 year ago
It's hard to believe that this music was recorded in 1972 (released 1973), the range of tempo, messages in each song (whether it's a prayer or story)and the clarity of each instrument (the variety is uncanny), George Harrison et al is refreshing, spiritual and thoroughly enjoyable for any music lover. Listen with any open ear, open heart and an open mind. Enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I didn't get into 'Material World' until 2003, and that was after I heard the David Bowie cover of "Try Some Buy Some" on his 'Reality' album. As a life long Beatles and Harrison fan, I felt that I neglected this album far too long, then got it soonafter hearing the Bowie cover, and thought it was a great album (perhaps not as great as All Things Must Pass, but that was too hard an act to follow). So now I got the deluxe remastered edition, and it does sound improved over the original CD. It has the b-side "Miss O'Dell" which I did have for years on the "Give Me Love" single (one of my favorite non-LP tracks ever). I believe I avoided the Material World album for years because of the presumed spiritual, almost preachiness air that I thought Harrison was giving off (song titles such as "The Lord Loves the One (who loves the lord)" were evidence of this), but in the end, that wasn't a very good reason to neglect this gem of an album. George happened to be a certain frame of mind, and simply wrote about it, and in fact all the songs are very good -- I especially like the slower paced tracks ("The Light that has Lighted the Word", "Be Here Now", "That is All") and Hari's cynicism and social commentary lyrical bite that he did with the Beatles on "Taxman" and "Piggies" is here on "Sue Me Sue You Blues" (as 'material world' a song as it gets!). I also didn't realize until recently that on the album, George Harrison is the sole guitarist, so all the slides, acoustic, etc are all him, and beautifully done. Highly recommended if the only solo Hari you own is 'All Things Must Pass', and even if you have it on CD and not this version, it's worth getting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You don't. Having said that, this was a fantastic album. It didn't get the credit it was due. "Give me Love" was a great lead off single. The gentle guitar that blends accoustic blues with Eastern religion is a perfect blend of yin and yang. The guitar solo at the end of "The Lord Loves the One" may be George's best ever. The Title cut is pure fun, with Jim Horn and George trading licks on Sax and slide guitar on the fade out. Comes to a glorious climax of jazzy confection. The two bonus tracks were hidden B-side gems of "Bangladesh" and "Give Me Love". "Deep Blue" is about George's Mom dying of cancer and his inability to help her. One of his best songs ever. "Miss O'Dell" shows the humor George had that few took note of. The Limited Edition has some nice videos. The "Miss O'Dell video is my favorite. The odd Last Supper like group picture on the lawn of his then home is funny and comes to life in the video. The picture on the inside sleeve of the gatefold album cover was black and white, except for George. The colorized pictures are amazing. Thanks George for the memories. Slide guitar never sounded better, than it did in your hands.