Saturday, April 25, 2009

George Harrison - Dark Horse

(Apple, 1974)

Yes, we’ve all heard the “Dark Hoarse” joke that’s been made for over 30 years about George’s shredded vocal chords during these sessions. Ho ho ho. The real problem with the Dark Horse album, though, is not Harrison’s voice, it’s the fact that he was writing lousy songs with dull arrangements and lazy lyrics. Aside from the two singles and maybe the sarcastic cover of “Bye Bye Love,” it represents an alarming drop-off from the first two LPs. I remain convinced that the guy’s songs work best when shaped and ultra-produced by big-shots, whether George Martin, Phil Spector, or Jeff Lynne; this self-produced mess sounds thin and unexciting, with generally poor quality control in the songwriting department. At least the title track, released as the album’s first single in America, is an effective, groovy blend of flutes (!!), electric piano, and acoustic guitar. A unique and catchy record that is startling for – but not derailed by – Harrison’s gravelly croak. The B-side, “I Don’t Care Anymore,” can reasonably be read as an accurate indication of where George’s head was at this point, as he phones in a sproingy acoustic throwaway (opening line: “OK, here we go, fellas, got a B-side to make!”) that pretty much insults the consumer rather than adding any value to the disc. Probably not too surprising that this B has never made it onto a CD.


Donald Brown said...

now you make me want to hear that B-side!

George said...

The album has grown on me much more then the supposedly superior Extra Texture. "Maya Love" just might be my favorite post All Things Must Pass track. And songs like "Far East Man" "It is 'He'" and "Ding Dong" are much better then anybody gives them credit for being.