Living In The Material World

George Harrison

Arriving almost three years after All Things Must Pass, George Harrison’s Living In The Material World would establish a stylistic precedent that would take root for the next 30 years. The quiet Beatle’s second album was more restrained and immediate without the wall of sound whitewash of its predecessor, but its flow and elegance are unmistakable. It would go on to become Harrison’s second Number One, while “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth),” the album’s leadoff track, was his second Number One single. Now, this underrated, classic record has been remastered with two bonus tracks and a 12-page booklet with lyrics, liner notes, and photographs. A deluxe version includes an expanded 40-page booklet and an DVD with previously unreleased and rare film clips.

Overflowing with spiritual overtones, Living In The Material World features many of the same musicians who appeared on All Things Must Pass, including Nicky Hopkins, Gary Wright, Klaus Voorman, Jim Keltner, Jim Horn, and Ringo Starr. Harrison’s slide work slithers in and out over most of the record — playfully bouncing over the acoustic rhythm of “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth),” digging in obtrusively for "Sue Me, Sue You Blues," an acerbic diatribe regarding the Beatles litigation headaches, and soaring effortlessly over the lightness of “Don’t let Me Wait Too Long” and “The Lord Loves The One (That Loves The Lord).” Seamlessly added to the original 11 songs are “Deep Blue” (a 1971 B-side to “Bangla Desh”) and “Miss O’Dell” (the B-side to “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)”), unremarkable yet special enough to thrill the hardcore fans.

The pièce de résistance of the entire reissue may well be the DVD included in the deluxe edition. A live version of “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” from Harrison’s appearance with Eric Clapton at the Tokyo Dome in 1991 finds the dapper-looking singer in resolute form with Andy Fairweather-Low astutely adding the inimitable slide parts to the mix. An alternate version of “Miss O’Dell” is accompanied by a still photo slideshow of Harrison and his pals eating, drinking, and frolicking on the grounds of what may or may not be Friar Park, the former Beatle’s estate. A demo of “Sue Me Sue You Blues” plays along with lyrcis and snapshots of Harrison’s National Resonator guitar. “Living In A Material World” works as the soundtrack for a short film depicting a record pressing plant printing up what else but... Living In The Material World. Whatever configuration you chose, this package is a beautiful tribute to the late and great guitarist any Beatles and Harrison fan will cherish.

~ Shawn Perry

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