Music Matters - with John Murray

John Murray
John Murray

UNRELEASED material from any ex-Beatles source has always been met with critics and fans taking notice.

From McCartney re-masters and Lennon box sets both following Beatles Anthology sets, album re-issues and ‘Let It Be – Naked’ where the whole album was re-imagined, meant no stone remained unturned. Well the ‘third force’ in that song writing trilogy, George Harrison recently had reappraisal with Martin Scorsese’s stunning critically acclaimed documentary ‘Living in the Material World’.

This week we have a companion album Early Takes Volume 1 (Universal) with ten unreleased tracks from his first solo sessions. Unearthed by his widow Olivia, these tapes from his beloved Friar Park reveals an intimacy only early home recorded demos can provide. The title track from his 1970 debut album ‘All Things Must Pass’ still has drums, guitar and bass but has rarely been so passionate. His early version of the massive ‘My Sweet Lord’ shows how it may have ended up with no slide guitar and no ‘Hare Krishna’ chants yet his early take on ‘I’d Have You Any Time’ has slide guitar overdubs as does his cover of the Everly’s ‘Let It Be Me’, the latter with harmonising vocals.

His later work with the Travelling Wilburys seemed lightweight by comparison and that was reflected in record sales despite the supergroup status. Founder Wilbury Jeff Lynne himself has a celebratory album released too. Electric Light Orchestra (Harvest), debut album was very different to the singles hit machine

it would become. With a core of Lynne, Roy Wood and Bev Bevan they would merge rock with classics resulting in ‘10538 Overture’. They would feature cello as main instrument and toy with instrumentals like ‘Manhattan Rumble’ and ‘First Movement’ which was suspiciously like the hit ‘Classical Gas’. Now expanded to a CD/DVD double with two hours of bonus material including quadraphonic mix this 40th Anniversary Edition surely has every worthy take out there by now?