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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 6 March 2017
A very interesting sample of how the songs evolved into the final production versions. Very good album.
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OK - Apparently this album was already included in the expensive "Living In The Material World" DVD & CD box set. However, because I haven't got that, this CD was new to me and I have really enjoyed it. What I'd read before on Beatles forums etc. was that this was some kind of unofficial release/bootleg, but it's not - it's an official Harrison product - it's got Olivia Harrison as executive producer and the compilation was produced by Giles Martin. You can't get more official than that.

Regardless of whether this should have been released in this form, I think what is important here is the content of the CD - the music. Being a fan of George, especially his "All Things Must Pass" period, this album really appeals to me and it's wonderful to hear early demos and alternative takes of George songs which haven't been polished and slickly produced. I particularly enjoyed George's version of the classic "Let It Be Me", a beautiful "I'd Have You Any Time", a fragile, honest "All Things Must Pass" and - on the whole - the raw, stripped down feel of the whole album. I've read some very negative reviews, but they've focused mainly on the fact that it was available with the box set before (and those people making negative noises are probably peeved that they haven't got an exclusive any more) and the fact that it's only 30 minutes long. Well, I'd have preferred this CD to be longer too, hence four stars instead of five, but I'd rather focus on what IS on the album rather than what isn't.

Hopefully, seeing as this album is entitled "Volume 1", we're going to get a series of albums and this is the start of an "Anthology" type collection of George's demos and rare tracks throughout his solo career. Fingers crossed. As for this particular release - frankly, if you're a serious Beatles and/or George Harrison fan, you really do need to own this album. Mainly because it's simply lovely.
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George Harrison's solo work around the time of 'All Things Must Pass' was brilliant, but he himself said in later years that he felt his famous triple album was over-produced. Well, here's the antidote - a short collection of songs in demo or early form that show the underlying beauty of the material he was producing at the time.

I thought, when I received this, that it would be an album of interest to completists only but unlikely to be played repeatedly for its own merits. That is wrong. This album is well worth listening to as a free-standing release in its own right.

The analogy I would draw is with the the acoustic version of 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' on the Beatles Anthology. That song is achingly beautiful in its reduced-production form and the same is true of much of this album.

This album brings out the depth and sincerity of Harrison's words as well as the music and is well worth listening to for those values. A bit short but well worth owning. Four stars.
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In typical company fashion, a DVD box set is released with a CD of alternate versions and demos to tempt the fans into parting with big money thinking they're getting something exclusive. Those loyal fans are then dumped on six months later. You can hear the mocking, "Suckers!" from distance. Right, that's got that out of the system. On with the review.

Other than five songs on the reissued `All Things Must Pass', the five spread across `The Dark Horse' box set and the scandalously download only demo of 'Isn't it a Pity', George fans have been underepresented in the `previously unreleased' stakes. Until now, that is. The seven demos and three discarded takes are a mixture of acoustic and electric set-ups with George announcing the title to some of the tracks with occasional studio chatter included. Listening to these, you can hear that George knows exactly what he wants from the song and where he wants to go with it. Whereas many of the Lennon demos changed somewhat, Harrison sticks religiously to how he can hear it in his head and won't be swayed. Actually, the seven `ATMP' tracks wouldn't have sounded out of place on that release in the form in which they're presented here.

MY SWEET LORD. This sounds strange without the wah-wah guitar and backing vocals. In fact, so familiar is everyone with this, you'll find yourself taking the place of those backing singers at the appropriate junctures. Fading at the end, it's missing the closing mantra.
RUN OF THE MILL. A minute shorter than the familiar version, Harrison seems to run out of ideas, maybe because he hadn't finished writing it.
I'D HAVE YOU ANYTIME. The best track on the CD, in my own opinion, I think this is superior to what was eventually decided. It sounds a tad sparse without the added strings but it sounds better for that.
MAMA YOU'VE BEEN ON MY MIND. Double tracked George on a previously unreleased Dylan song that probably got no further than this. Interspersed with his trademark electric guitar and joined at the end with a heavenly sounding organ, it's strange that this was never revisited.
LET IT BE ME. Never released in any form until last years deluxe DVD set (at least on anything legal), it might seem enticing to hear a Beatle trying his hand at something recorded by hundreds of other artists but, in all honesty, it's a bit of a mess with a fairly weak breathed vocal double tracked in parts and a `crying` guitar in the background. This isn't the same version you can hear elsewhere, if you know where to look. It was wise to leave this `in the can', as I think it's the worse thing here.
WOMAN DON'T YOU CRY FOR ME. The most substantially different track to that eventually issued, what sounds like a Jew's Harp prominent in the background makes this a country hoe down that keeps you waiting for the medicine jar to kick in. I'm still deciding whether I prefer this or the finished article.
AWAITING ON YOU ALL. This is take 1, which George announces as, `Awaiting for you all' before launching into a fuzz guitar version. Chugging along nicely, the vocal is clearer.
BEHIND THAT LOCKED DOOR. With its slide guitar bridge, this is something you could imagine someone like Hank Williams singing. Here, it's delivered with a softer vocal.
ALL THINGS MUST PASS. Augmented with bass and drums (Ringo?), this could have passed for an unadorned master.
THE LIGHT THAT HAS LIGHTED THE WORLD. George and just his acoustic guitar making this sound very sad indeed.

As with that deluxe DVD box CD, what is shamefully missing is any semblance of information on any of the tracks. This cardboard sleeve opens out to reveal a few pointless lines of text from Giles Martin and Dr. Warren Zanes (whoever he might be) and wrongly claims, in capitals, that all the tracks are previously unreleased. Twice! (See photo.) It's unforgivable that there is nothing to read. I think I should compile the next volume.

As the title of this is suffixed with `Volume 1', it does suggest there may be further releases in the pipeline, which may be why this CD is short. Clocking in at 30:19, this could, and should, have had more tracks; it's not as if there's any studio time to be paid for. Having said that, as CDs go, it's reasonably priced and, with two previously unissued tracks, this can be looked at favourably.
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on 2 January 2015
I think the main concern with any type of album that contains allegedly unreleased material is, is it worth purchasing if you already own the act's entire back-catalogue, with this release defiantly.
Containing stripped down to the core versions; you get to hear the soul of the songs (waxing lyrical), & the great musicianship that get sometimes get buried in the 1970's production (especially Phil Spector's recording techniques).
There are to new songs on the CD, "Mama You've been on my mind", which Dylan originally recorded in 1964 (Harrison & Dylan were pretty close in the late sixties early 1970's) & "Let it be me" which was a hit for the Everly Brothers & a big influence on The Beatles at the start of their career.
Highlight for me is "Awaiting On you all" which has some great fuzzy, distorted guitar, giving the track a real edge.
So great selection of songs (if a little short on running time) & according to Harrison's wife the tip of the iceberg, although It's already been a couple of years since this album was released, so she'd best pull her finger out.
Track listing:

All Things Must Pass:
"My Sweet Lord"
"Run of the Mill"
"I'd Have You Anytime"
"Awaiting on You All"
"Behind That Locked Door"
"All Things Must Pass"

Living in the Material World:
"The Light That Has Lighted the World"

Thirty Three & 1/3:
"Woman Don't You Cry for Me"

Previously unreleased tracks:
"Mama You've Been on My Mind"
"Let It Be Me"
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on 19 December 2015
This is really enjoyable as a collection of some of George's most melodic songs where for once we can hear a rounded tone to his voice, un-bullied by instrumentation. All Harrison fans will enjoy this somewhat short collection. Vol 1 suggests a vol 2 - where is it it? After all, the songs were recorded many years ago; can't be that much trouble to add to these gems. So many of George's solo records were slightly compressed by close mixing. His voice is fairly thin (some have said "reedy") at the best of times, but it is melodic and subtle and full of wit and character. It needs to be heard in the round - what a pity the "remasters" of his solo work did not involve remixing the placing of his vocals. One suspects the Beatles recordings had developed a sensibility in George he found it hard to escape from - there, the vocals, so often in harmony, did not receive the kind of loving sound-attention given to say, Frank Sinatra on his mature Reprise recordings. George's melodies and song structures would have been well covered by Sinatra, incidentally. he did "Something" but there was much more of Harrison's oeuvre that would have suited him well. perhaps it was the production that put him off. Well, here is George sans production, and it's better.
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on 30 April 2012
- beware: all tracks were previously released on the expensive "Living in the material world" DVD/CD box set, which many collectors especially bought because of the "unique" demo CD that was unavailable elsewhere at the time. The sleeve now says "all previously unreleased". That's nonsense.
- there's only 30 minutes of music on this release. A shame. They could easily have added 4 or 5 more songs to give value for money. 26 pounds for an LP, are you kidding ?????
- there is no information whatsoever on where these tracks were recorded, when they were recorded and who else played on them (at least there is no such info with the LP release). Only some scarce liner notes by a certain dr Warren Zanes (who cares he's a doctor anyway) that add nothing really.
+ good quality vinyl pressing, nice cover art, although previously seen on the DVD/CD box.
+ nice to hear early versions of familiair songs, but probably you won't play this LP very often, as the released versions sound much better.
- On the later demos (e.g. Let it be me, Mama you've been on my mind) Harrison's singing and guitar playing is quite poor. I'm a Harrison fan, but on these tracks he is certainly not at his best.
My conclusion: quick moneymaking by "the Harrison Estate" (as they call themselves) by simply reissuing an half hour of music that was already available a months ago without paying attention the details. But as always, anything Beatles-related will sell anyway and they know it.
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on 20 March 2014
Of course this is George playing and singing tracks from the beginning. VERY good! But there must be
more!? Awaiting for Them all,
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on 30 December 2015
I'm a huge fan of the Beatles and loved some of George's solo work including the classic album 'All things must pass'. This cd is a nice but not great reflection of some of the songs on that album and showcase George's light and gentle work before Phil Spector worked on them. Album only contains 10 short songs so quite limited in content.

Certainly recommended for diehard fans though.
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VINE VOICEon 26 August 2013
Some lovely demo material here that only served to make me eager to get a volume 2 and 3 and so on. Most of these tracks come from the All Things Must Pass/ Material World eras and show George at his most sweet sounding. I would have given this five stars but the packaging is s**** - the songs are great, though. Now how about a volume 2?
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