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George Harrison CD Review - Winnipeg Sun


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Harrison in good spirits on final effort

By DARRYL STERDAN

Winnipeg Sun

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BRAINWASHED

George Harrison

(Parlophone/EMI)

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"Give me plenty of that guitar," George Harrison cheerfully requests right off the top on his final studio album, Brainwashed.

And that's exactly what he (and we) get on these dozen posthumous tracks: Upbeat, celebratory guitar-pop as delivered by one of the most characteristic performers and songwriters in contemporary music. Given his health, we might have expected Brainwashed to be an overly serious, cobbled-together affair. Instead, on plenty of these cuts -- which were completed by producer Jeff Lynne and Harrison's son Dhani -- we find George in remarkably strong voice and good spirits.

Any Road revisits the Travelling Willburys' jaunty jangle and lyrical wordplay ("If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there"); P2 Vatican Blues (Last Saturday Night) is a lightly choogling little nugget of 12-bar pop; the zippy chestnut Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea captures Harrison rocking the mandolin; and the folk-blues of Rocking Chair in Hawaii is as lazy and relaxing as it sounds like it would be.

Even when George does get heavy -- like on Looking For My Life (which could be about his illness or his 1999 attack by an intruder) and the title cut (a searing indictment of our soulless society) -- his shimmering guitar licks and Lynne's full, ringing production keep the vibe optimistic. Naturally, Harrison's Eastern spirituality figures heavily here.

Along with plenty of lyrical references, the disc has the Indian-flavoured Marwa Blues and ends with George and son Dhani chanting over a hypnotic, droning tamboura. To his credit, though, Harrison doesn't spend his final public moments being preachy or strident. Instead, our final impression is of a simple man. A man at peace -- with his world, his family, his life and his music. And a man who just wanted to hear a little more of his guitar.

We know how he feels. (More on George Harrison)

Track Listing

1. Any Road

2. Vatican Blues (Last Saturday Night)

3. Looking for My Life

4. Rising Sun

5. Marwa Blues

6. Stuck Inside a Cloud

7. Run So Far

8. Never Get Over You

9. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

10. Rocking Chair in Hawaii

11. Brainwashed

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