Nevermind that Harrison was the second worst Beatle. Nevermind that the only Beatle he could say he was better than was, well, Ringo. Forget that Harrison settled a lawsuit against the validity of “My Sweet Lord.” And no matter what, forget that Harrison video for “Got My Mind Set on You,” where the patron saint of dull sat in a chair and wouldn”t move, so the director had to move everything around him, (thank you VH1 Pop-Up video).

Paul Wong
Courtesy of W.W. Norton

Harrison is by no means a disposable member of the Fab Four. He is not to be confused with that Starr fellow.

Remember though, this is the album that outsold both Lennon and McCartney”s first solo releases, but the whole lawsuit thing kinda rained on that parade. What a bitch.

Nonetheless, despite all these things, Capitol Records went back, re-mastered and repackaged this Harrison vehicle, and made it a bit more road-worthy than the original.

All Things Must Pass is a lucidly layered record, thick with texture and filled with heavy rhythm tracks. Harrison”s album features Eric Clapton (unable to receive credit for the record till now, and Genesis post-Gabriel maestro Phil Collins “Invisible Touch” anyone?)

Complacent and lengthy (running 7:08) “Isn”t it a Pity” is a tunefully rueful love song winding behind a tambourine, piano and drums. The track is propelled by a series of lengthy guitar solos, and in my 90″s bred pop mind that translated to, “Hey, he ripped off “Champagne Supernova.””

Infectiously written riff-age launches “What is Life.” Harrison combines so much on this track like gang vocals, “Hello-Goodbye”-esque horn sections and a fabulous hook. Songs like this, “Band on the Run” and “Oh Yoko” show absolutely no drop-off in quality from when the mop tops were still together.

Harrison effectively moves back and forth between Beatles-y pop and his own ornately fashioned songsmithery. “Behind that Locked Door,” even teeters on the edge of being a country song, it does have that Bryan White twang to it a la 1996″s Between Now and Forever.

These Harrison hooks and arrangements do seem to find a niche somewhere in the back of my head. Exchanging confused glances with other Beatles” fans and then plucking the CD off of the shelf is more than a good idea, for a lot of you out there, it will be necessity. You will read this review and go, “Luke Smith, this dude, he knows his shit, and since he said that Beatles” fans should own this record and I certainly am a Beatles fan,” you will march your ass down to the record store and you”ll shell out something like $25 bucks for this Harrison joint. You”ll marvel at the packaging, which is a sexy black box with both CD”s stored in free fall small cardboard slippers because he says it”s “environmentally friendly,” or something.

Grade? What the hell do you mean “Grade?” It”s George Harrison.

Grade: A

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