Wednesday, October 7, 2009

George Harrison 12: Best Of Dark Horse

Cloud Nine had been a moderate hit, and likely carried in the wake of the other Wilburys’ solo successes that year, that this contractual obligation managed to chart. With a straightforward title, Best Of Dark Horse picks up where George’s other hits album left off, more or less. The selections from the five albums in the period are as obvious as they are head-scratching. (Three songs from Gone Troppo? Granted, one of those was only on the CD, but no “Dream Away”? And no “This Song”?)
No Wilburys tracks were included, but as something of an enticement, the album does include three new songs. Of the new songs, “Poor Little Girl” is pretty ordinary, wrapped around a honking sax, and probably a leftover from Cloud Nine. Some of the words over the chorus section deserve a better fate than this. “Cockamamie Business”, another complaint about the music industry, is grumpy without being clever or pertinent. The surprise is “Cheer Down”, co-written with Tom Petty and first heard over the closing credits of Lethal Weapon 2, of all things. It’s a treat. And it would be the last real new song from him for many years.
Best Of Dark Horse was a nice enough collection of some of the better songs from albums that weren’t worth it for the most part, but a little redundant for those of us who already had them. At least the lyric sheet clarified some of the lines in “When We Was Fab”. Within a few years it was out of print along with the rest of the Dark Horse catalog, and has stayed that way, leaving “Poor Little Girl” and “Cockamamie Business” all but forgotten to the mists of time.

George Harrison Best Of Dark Horse 1976-1989 (1989)—
Current CD availability: none

1 comment:

  1. What I appreciate about the period from “Cloud Nine” through “Live in Japan,” maybe shown well in the ability of “Best of Dark Horse” to chart at some level, is George would have known the world hadn’t forgotten about him. There were people enthusiastic about him and his work, and it would have been something he knew in his lifetime. I sometimes fear the idea he might not have known how well he was loved.

    “Cheer Down” included on any compilation album makes said compilation album worth purchasing. It’s a great tune; up there among my favorites due to the slightly wonky lyrics and incredible guitar at the end.

    And what the Hell are people listening to when they construct a George Harrison compilation anyway? Some omissions are mind boggling, and that goes for all of the compilation albums.

    Where there’s a Wilbury, there’s a way.