Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

May 17, 2010

George Harrison ~ Cloud Nine

(Click on heading to visit official website).
Style: rock
Label: Dark Horse
Year: 1987
Home: England (deceased)

Musicians: George Harrison ~ vocals/guitars/keyboards/sitar
Jim Keltner ~ drums
Jeff Lynne ~ guitars/bass/b. vocals/keyboards

Guests: Eric Clapton ~ guitar
Elton John, Gary Wright ~ piano
Ringo Starr ~ drums

Additional: Ray Cooper ~ percussion/drums
Jim Horn ~ sax
Bobby Kok ~ Cello
Vicki Brown ~ b. vocals

When I was a boy I had the 45 single (remember those?) of "Got My Mind Set On You". I used to listen to it over & over while mom would be getting ready to take me to school. Coming home I'd go back to my little plastic record player. It was a couple years later that I really began listening to the Beatles, but by then it was too late as I was bound to be a life-long George Harrison fan. The Beatles? Yeah, they're okay, too. It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized that "Got My Mind..." isn't so much a traditional love song but a love song to God ... or I should say that it comes across that way in George's hands as it's not his composition. I always admired George's spiritual inclings, which I share but not because of his direct influence & his almost simplistic guitar solos & songs ... though I'll confess that his solo career is probably the most up & down of all the Beatles with as many oddities as hits. If you include the instrumental soundtrack Wonderwall oddities is an understatement. Cloud Nine, his comeback after five years not recording, is a polished George reining in many of his musical experiments to create almost folksy simple sounding songs, very much like what he'd do with the Travelling Wilburys later, that go for catchy arrangements over fancy musical foreplay with Indian instruments. Also, this album shows that one can write religious songs & still craft a hit ... ie. "Got My Mind Set On You". This album also features the hits "Cloud 9" & "When We Was Fab". One of the strongest traits of George's musical career & the thing that often sticks in my ear, were his simple guitar solos that were cluttered with notes. This album brings back that dynamic in soft arrangements that allow both his guitar & voice to shine. When you've listened to as much Eric Clapton as I have you recognize his sound immediately & he's also no stranger to playing with George, having been the first non-Beatle to play on a Beatles album ("While My Guitar Gently Weeps") & his guitar comes through ("That's What It Takes"). The other guests on the album, Elton John & Ringo Starr, are not so easily recognizable. Sadly, this would be George's last studio album before the incomplete Brainwashed outside of his work with the Wilburys. It's a highlight of his career no doubt & sad that he didn't follow it up, but it was a reminder of how creative he was. Match this album with All Things Must Pass & you've got George's albums & I'll even risk saying that these two far outweigh much of what his fellow Beatles have done with their ongoing plethora of recordings. George was not about holding hands or sing-alongs with catchy "Hey Jude" outros. His songs are introspective musical meditations with his dedication to his religious beliefs unrivaled by few other musicians outside of Cat Stevens. It's hard to not like him. Put this album on with a loved one when you're curled up on the couch & it's raining out & let me know if you agree.

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