Uncut - 4/04, p.1183 stars out of 5
- "[T]he set is welcome - and strangely comforting."
THE DARK HORSE YEARS contains: THIRTY THREE & 1/3 (1976)/GEORGE HARRISON (1979)/SOMEWHERE IN ENGLAND (1981)/GONE TROPPO (1982)/CLOUD 9 (1987)/LIVE IN JAPAN (1992).
The 2-CD LIVE IN JAPAN is a multi-channel hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players. THE DARK HORSE YEARS also includes a bonus DVD featuring song videos and concert footage from LIVE IN JAPAN.
Personnel includes: George Harrison (vocals, guitar, mandolin, marimba, synthesizer, bass, percussion); Jeff Lynne (guitar, keyboards, bass); Eric Clapton (guitar, background vocals); Jim Horn (tenor & baritone saxophones); Tom Scott (saxophone, flute, lyricon); Herbie Flowers (tuba, bass); Richard Tee (piano, Fender Rhodes piano, organ); Billy Preston (piano, organ, synthesizer); Elton John (piano); David Foster (Fender Rhodes piano, Clavinet); Steve Winwood (harmonium, Polymoog, Mini Moog, background vocals); Gary Wright (piano, Oberheim, keyboards); Emil Richards (marimba); Willie Weeks (bass); Ray Cooper (drums, percussion); Ringo Starr, Jim Keltner, Andy Newmark, Alvin Taylor (drums).
Producers include: George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Russ Titelman, Ray Cooper, Phil McDonald.
Includes liner notes by Olivia Harrison and David Fricke.
A beautifully packaged collection, this set compiles all of the solo albums George Harrison released on his own Dark Horse label, from 1976's THIRTY-THREE & 1/3 to 1992's two-disc LIVE IN JAPAN. Although this period marked some creative valleys for the former Beatle, his slightest songs still outshine most artists' best offerings, and THE DARK HORSE YEARS boasts numerous high points.
Confident yet relaxed, THIRTY-THREE & 1/3 and 1979's self-titled album are particularly notable for the inclusion of songs that were nearly Beatles tracks ("Beautiful Girl" and "Not Guilty," respectively). The following albums, SOMEWHERE IN ENGLAND and GONE TROPPO find Harrison flirting with a distinctively '80s, synth-based sound, while 1987's blissed-out, Jeff Lynne-produced CLOUD NINE marks Harrison's welcome return to the pop charts ("Got My Mind Set on You"). Finally, LIVE IN JAPAN features Harrison performing solo and Beatles hits (including "Something," "Here Comes the Sun," and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps") onstage with longtime friend Eric Clapton and his band. On each of these Dark Horse records, Harrison's past with the Beatles is still tangible, but the Fab Four connection never eclipses his own distinctive songwriting and always-impressive guitar playing. The six-album box set also includes an exclusive 75-minute DVD that presents concert footage, videos, and interviews, making THE DARK HORSE YEARS essential for any Harrison fan.