Saturday, June 13, 2009
REVIEW: LET IT ROLL
As an ELO fan who has seen dozens of compilation CDs come and go over the years, I found it rather amusing to watch George Harrison fans completely blow a gasket over Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison. Nevermind the track list, they wanted 2CDs.
I feel their pain. Really I do. Then again, it didn't take ELO until 2009 to get a career-spanning collection either.
But here we are at last. 19 songs with practically no pause in between the tracks whatsoever. Frankly I don't think there was room for it. All the hits the masses remembered are here: My Sweet Lord, Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth), What Is Life, Got My Mind Set On You and Blow Away, which was a radio staple when I was growing up... at least the radio station playing in my house at the time.
It struck fear into my heart when I read the live tracks were cross-faded with their neighboring tracks, two of them rarities. Turns out, not so bad. When We Was Fab (again not crediting Jeff Lynne as a co-writer) suffered the worst, but it works anyway. The lone Jeff Lynne-produced rarity Cheer Down sounds hugely improved, by the way.
So, what's the problem?? Well, three of his albums were completely shut out of this collection. Two of them are still awaiting the remastered treatment. I thought Crackerbox Palace would make a good way to shake up the track list's steady pop/rock flavor.
But folks, we're in the era of the iPod and/or digital playlist now. I've long thought that while having a good comp CD (or two) for the masses is essential, having the original songs in their original context (ie their original albums) should be a bigger priority. And in this new age of buying music piecemeal, it's easy to make a playlist with your favorite hits and select album tracks. Better comp CDs and remasters would offer unreleased session material, but let's not split hairs for this one. I wasn't expecting it on this. Bonus material on Harrison releases, in general, has been skimpy at best.
In the end, the songs sound great. It's a good CD to have handy in the car. And using this CD as a guideline, I'll build a George Harrison playlist that'll keep me happy for a while.
By the way, there's also chatter that there will be a George Harrison demo as a bonus track for the digital download edition of Let It Roll...
UPDATE: The bonus track is a demo of Isn't It A Pity... immediately following the full 7 minute version.