Dark Horse (1974)


 
1. Hari's on Tour (Express) 2. Simply Shady 3. So Sad 4. Bye Bye Love 5. Maya Love 6. Ding Dong, Ding Dong 7. Dark Horse 8. Far East Man 9. It is "He" (Jai Sri Krishna)

 

Quite possibly the worst solo album of any member of The Beatles. What's really sad is that it sounds like that just might be the intention - or at least that George wasn't really going to do anything to improve it while he was in the studio.

It must be stated that back in the time, record albums weren't necessarily always produced with the idea that they would be around forever. In many cases they were looked at as dispensable, or in this case, an excuse to go on tour. The whole album is belittled by bad songwriting, bad performances, bad ideas, bad concepts and even bad singing. George sounds on some songs that he's fighting a bad cold and needs to go back to bed. Many years later, no artist nor record company would dare think about recording an album where the singer can't even sing.

It's been well documented that Harrison was heavily into Eastern Mysticism throughout his solo career, and the early seventies seemed to be when he was in it the deepest. That shouldn't necessarily be a determent though, when you consider that we were inflicted by this same message on his first two solo albums. No, the problem here is that everyone sounds as if they're going through the motions. The very first track, Hari's on Tour (Express) is a prime example of things starting off very wrong. This is an instrumental track that doesn't sound like it should be an instrumental track. In other words, it sounds like the vocals were removed after the song was completed. It's not too difficult to imagine why since the vocals that are on the album are so poor. What's the real tragedy is that this song ends up being the best thing on the album.

It's debatable what the worst thing on the album is. There are so many prime contenders. My vote would have to be for the atrocious, almost unrecognizable cover of Bye Bye Love which actually features backing vocals from his ex wife - along with Eric Clapton - the man she ran off with in the first place. O.K., well, at least George was demonstrating his forgiving nature.

It also probably didn't help that he produced the album by himself. Had he had a professional person behind the controls, such as a Phil Spector, maybe the songs could have come across as slightly better. Maybe.

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