George Harrison – Wonderwall Music (1968) & Electronic Sound (1969)

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If it’s obligatory to have a favorite Beatle, mine has always been George Harrison.  Today he would have been 70 years old.  He is the only one out of the Fab Four who I still listen to with any regularity.  If you have never sat down and listened to the All Things Must Pass album, go out and find an original copy of it (*not* the butchered remaster/remixed version he put out a year or two before he passed away.  I’ve owned a few pressings so trust me on avoiding that one..).  And then do yourself an additional favor and seek out the demo recordings of these tunes pre-Wall of Sound, previously circulated on bootlegs (Acetates and Alternates and Beware of ABKCO to name a couple), some of which received an official release last year as “Early Tracks Vol.1”  I prefer the track choices and sequencing on Acetates andAlternates in case you’re wondering.    Particularly on the demos cut with just acoustic or electric guitar and voice, it’s screamingly obvious how much Harrison was chafing at the bit in the two-songs-per-record cage where he was kept in the Biggest Band Ever.

Before that epic album was even in the works, however, George had two ‘solo’ albums away from his band.  He was the first of them to do so, and the Wonderwall album was the first release by Apple Records.   It is a largely instrumental soundtrack to a film I’ve never seen, and on which George doesn’t take any instrumental credit (although I suspect he must have played something on it at some point) but rather writing, arranging and producing credits.   Dominated by droning pieces steeped in Indian instrumentation and a large handful of musicians from the subcontinent, this record is probably responsible for my interest in Indian classical and folk music.    It definitely proves to any doubters that his interests pushed beyond ‘Within You, Without You’.  These textures blend with manipulated tape experiments and sound
collage, with zithers and trumpets and Mellotrons and strange wind
instruments wafting in and out of its short tracks, all presented here
without gaps as one continuous experience.  But there are also a few choice forays back into psychedelic rock territory.  The saturated Ski-ing’ is the best candidate for featuring an uncredited Eric Clapton,  and the gliding ‘Party Seacombe’ sounds like an alternate version of “Flying” from the Magical Mystery Tour record.

The following year’s ELECTRONIC SOUND album is one of the stranger things ever released by a Beatle, a bit of musique concrète made on an early Moog analog synthesizer with some overdubbing.  It’s nothing mind blowing but worth a listen and having it in the stack with your other G.Harrison records.

I have vinyl copies of both of these, although if I remember correctly I am pretty sure my Electronic Sound is a much later reissue.  Rather than rip my own copy of Wonderwall, which is buried somewhere in stacks of LPs, I took the liberty of sharing an excellent job done by one Son-of-Albion, who has done a bunch of great needledrops over the years.  There was also a legit CD release of this (and plenty of bootleg CD in the 80s and early 90s, I owned one for a time that sounded sketchy indeed).  I’ve included the liner notes from that along with everything else here.

Well, whatever bardo or astral plane you’re currently on, George, you are missed.  Happy 70th in absentia.

 WONDERWALL MUSIC
Apple Records 1968 – SAPCOR 1

A1         Microbes     3:39
A2         Red Lady Too     1:58
A3         Tabla And Pakavaj     1:04
A4         In The Park     4:05
A5         Drilling A Home     3:08
A6         Guru Vandana     1:02
A7         Greasy Legs     1:27
A8         Ski-ing     1:37
A9         Gat Kirwani     1:15
A10       Dream Scene     5:33
B1         Party Seacombe     4:20
B2         Love Scene     4:15
B3         Crying     1:12
B4         Cowboy Music     1:22
B5         Fantasy Sequins     1:43
B6         On The Bed     1:03
B7         Glass Box     2:15
B8         Wonderwall To Be Here     1:23
B9         Singing Om

 

Artwork – Alan Aldridge, Bob Gill, John Kelly
Bass – Philip Rogers
Drums – Roy Dyke
Flugelhorn – John Barham
Flute – S.R. Kenkari
Guitar, Steel Guitar – Colin Manley
Harmonica – Tommy Reilly
Harmonium – Rij Ram Desad
Pakavaj – Mahapurush Misra
Shanhais – Hanuman Jadev, Sharad Jadev
Tabla-tarang – Rij Ram Desad
Thar-shanhai – Viniak Vora
Photography By – Astrid Kemp
Piano – John Barham
Piano [Jangle], Organ – Edward Antony Ashton
Santoor – Shiv Kumar Shermar
Sarod – Ashish Kahn
Sitar – Indril Bhattacharya, Shambu-Das
Sitar [Bass] – Chandra Shakher
Tabla – Mahapurush Misra

Producer, Arranged By, Written-By – George Harrison

———————

Electronic Sound
1969, Zapple 02

01.    “Under the Mersey Wall” – 18:41
Recorded in Esher, England, in February 1969 with the assistance of Rupert and Jostick, the Siamese Twins
02.    “No Time or Space” – 25:10
Recorded in California in November 1968 with the assistance of Bernie Krause

 

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12 Comments

  1. Your Rapidshare is all used up!
    I to am anonymous.

  2. use the alternate links for now. I don't think I understand how to use the new RapidShare or something

  3. could you tell me password please ?

  4. hey, great post, what indian records do you suggest listening to besides ravi shankar?

    cheers

  5. it's always nice to hear a clean copy of Electronic Sound vs. my scratchy lp – thanks!

  6. Just a few lines to say thank you.
    I really enjoy your texts, music history, curiosities.
    Takes listening to a next level.
    By the way, do you work with music some way?

    Many thanks for Brazil-SP

  7. bom dia Unknown. I used to write and perform a little, had a crappy rock band that went nowhere, but I have barely picked up an instrument in years. Now I am just a listener. Thanks for the comments!

  8. A mega upload re-up would be nice as the others are dead.

    • Hi Doc! These were actually Son-of-Albion rips so you might have them already? This was one of the rare cases where I shared someone else’s work just because I was very excited about the material. I have two copies of Wonderwall, one German and and one US pressing, and I ought to consider ripping one of them just for fun. My copy of Electronic Sound is a repress, probably from the 80s or possibly the early 90s, and might not be worth it. The record is kind of like listening to a Moog product demonstration anyway, which if you believe the Beaver & Krause story is exactly what it is!

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