Capitol Records


George Harrison CD.jpg (35148 bytes)

  The final chapter in Harrison’s musical book reads like a forceful prayer. The fact that the record was recorded with limited time from Harrison doesn’t show. Rumor has it that when he was too sick to go into the studio, he wrote notes to his son Dhani and producer Jeff Lynne on everything from track order to details on how he wanted the songs mixed. If you’re familiar with the last couple of albums that Harrison released (1987’s Cloud Nine and a pair of Traveling Wilburys collections), you know what to expect. Lynne’s uncluttered yet amazingly slick production is the order of the day, but he was smart enough to leave some rough edges and (even more importantly) make Harrison’s glistening guitar work shine like never before. One instrumental, “Marwa Blues,” is particularly stunning. Clear as a bell slide guitar rings through the gentle tune like a glass breeze. Obviously, under the circumstances, much of the lyrical content is an honest and at times humorous look at life and death. When he sings, “I lost my will to eat” in “Stuck Inside A Cloud” (the title itself a veiled reference to the addiction that eventually took him), it’s hard not to be touched. Of course, when one remembers that his first ever solo single was about meeting his maker (“My Sweet Lord”), it becomes clear that this poignancy is merely circumstantial. The man was on a spiritual quest for forty years and this was just another day of searching. Perhaps only a Beatle could Zen his way through lines like “I’ll be swimming until I can find those waters, that one unbounded ocean of bliss that’s flowing through your parents, sons and daughters but is still an easy thing for us to miss” and also mention how “Canadian geese crap” in the same song. It’s that down to earth brand of head in the sky attitude that made Harrison and The Beatles what they will always be. Brainwashed ends with the title track literally segueing into a prayer. That’s when the Eastern music that Harrison (for all intents and purposes) introduced to the Western world shows up for the only time. It’s haunting, relaxing and fitting, or as he says on the opening cut, “There was no beginning, there is no end. It wasn’t born and it never dies. There are no edges, there is no sides…bow to God and call him Sir, but if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

(Chris McKay/