BMG Signs Deal with George Harrison’s Dark Horse Records

Billboard and Music Week are reporting that music distributor and publisher BMG has formed a new multi-faceted worldwide distribution partnership with Dark Horse Records, the George Harrison-founded record label now led by his son, Dhani Harrison.

The deal not only includes releases from the back-catalogue of Dark Horse, but also Harrison’s Indian label imprint, HariSongs. It’ll also include the solo work of Joe Strummer, including his work with The Mescaleros.

Dark Horse will also release entirely new recordings through BMG, like the recent Tom Petty estate charity single ‘For Real – For Tom’ that featured Jakob Dylan, Dhani Harrison, Amos Lee, Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson, and Willie Nelson.

Initial releases are digital only. The first slate of under the deal will include the George Harrison-produced Chants of India by Ravi Shankar; the live album Ravi Shankar & Ali Akbar Khan In Concert 1972; Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros’ albums Rock Art and The X-Ray StyleGlobal A Go-Go, and Streetcore; and Attitudes Ain’t Love Enough: The Best of Attitudes.

However, the good news for collectors of physical product is that future releases in 2020 will include compilations, live albums, and box sets featuring rare and unreleased recordings from the Dark Horse label. That means we might see new releases (plus bonus material) on CD and LP from the likes of Splinter, Stairsteps, Keni Burke, Jiva, the late Henry McCullough, and maybe even some Ravi Shankar…..

 

Strange/Unusual Find of the Month – George Harrison’s ‘Poor Little Girl’ Promo

Paid a visit this week to a new and second-hand record/book store we’d not visited before. It’s called Title, and they specialise in music, books and film.

One item in their “1/2 Price” sale bins caught our eye: 

It is a 12″ promotional-only single from Brazil containing two versions of a rare George Harrison solo song from 1989 called ‘Poor Little Girl’. Oddly enough the flip side of the disc is Rod Stewart singing a Tom Waits-penned song, ‘Downtown Train’:

Harrison’s ‘Poor Little Girl’ was only ever released on a 1989 compilation called The Best of Dark Horse 1976-1989, and it looks like this promo disc was issued to promote that album. The 12″ promo contains two versions of the song – an edited version that runs 3:25, and the LP version with a running time of 4:32.

As you can see, there was not great attention to detail by whoever prepared both the cover and label as they misspell George’s surname both times in the songwriting credits.

Strange to have come across this 12″ tucked away in the inner Sydney suburb of Surry Hills – but that’s sometimes the way record collecting goes…..

As usual, click on the images above to see larger versions.

Two New George Harrison Vinyl Collection Box Set Videos

The George Harrison Vinyl Collection box set is now accompanied by a short promo film showing some behind-the-scenes factory footage detailing the actual manufacture of the records and album covers that make up the set:

Also, Paul Sinclair from the great Super Deluxe Edition site has uploaded a good quality “unboxing” video:

Splinter – The Place I Love

One of our favourite places in Sydney to crate dig is Revolve Records and Relics, and it has come up with another Beatle-related treasure for the collection.

Splinter was one of the first bands signed to George Harrison’s Dark Horse record label in 1974, and The Place I Love was their debut album:Splinter coverSplinter rear coverThey were a two-man band hailing from the town of South Shields in England. Bill Elliott and Bob Purvis wrote all their own material, were produced by George Harrison, and were joined on this album by Harrison (on guitar, mandolin, bass, harmonium and percussion and using the pseudonyms Hari Georgeson, P. Roducer and Jai Raj Harisein), as well as the likes of Klaus Voormann (bass), Billy Preston (organ), Jim Keltner (drums) and Gary Wright (piano).

The album was recorded at Harrison’s Friar Park home studio.

This is an Australian pressing. The cover is a gatefold, graced with a sepia-toned historic street scene of The London Hotel, taken in the late 1800’s in Splinter’s home town of South Shields.  Splinter gatefold

Here’s the LP’s ever-stylish Dark Horse label:Splinter label

There’s also a single sheet insert with the song lyrics printed on each side:

Splinter insert

And an inner bag made of heavy paper and stamped with the Dark Horse logo to hold the record:Splinter inner

Splinter’s Bill Elliot has another strong Beatle connection. John Lennon had earlier invited him to perform the song ‘God Save Us‘ with The Elastic Oz Band. Released as a 7″ single on Apple Records in the US in 1971. This was a protest song in support of the underground publication Oz magazine, then embroiled in the famous Oz obscenity court case.God Save Us

 

Ravi Shankar – ‘In Celebration’ 4CD Set

In 1995 George Harrison was producer of an impressive 4 CD compilation box set honouring the musical life and genius of his friend and mentor, the Indian master musician Ravi Shankar. It was called In Celebration and it formed a key part of the celebrations that year marking Shankar’s 75th birthday.

The four CDs trace four distinct aspects of Shankar’s output: Classical Sitar; Orchestral and Ensembles; East-West Collaboration; and Vocal and Experimental.

The set was released on the Angel label (an EMI subsidiary specialising in classical music), and George’s own Dark Horse Records label.

Because it was expensive the following year (1996) there was also an In Celebration – Highlights single-disc version for those wanting a taste from each of the four CDs:Ravi Highlights1Ravi Highlights2Ravi Highlights3

We’ve had a copy of the single disc Highlights for years and have often enjoyed escaping into the world of Indian music. As a result we’ve been on the lookout for a long time for a reasonably priced second-hand copy of the full box set – now long out of print. At last we’ve got our hands on a copy (via eBay and from a seller based in France of all places).

The larger set is a much more detailed and elaborate affair, with silver embossed printing details and individual artwork for each CD. When we say “box set” this is actually presented as a tall, deluxe hard-back book, with the four CDs stored in holders inside the front and rear covers.Ravi 1Ravi 2

In between them is a beautiful 60 page book with a foreword by George Harrison and a lengthy essay, richly illustrated with photographs, on the life and work of Ravi Shankar by Timothy White, a former Editor In Chief of Billboard magazine: Ravi 4Ravi 3

There’s a handy glossary of terms included at the back – a big help in understanding and appreciating Indian classical music, its instruments and main themes and influences.

This is all really nicely done as a package and a great selection of, and tribute to, Shankar’s life and work.Ravi 5Ravi 6Ravi 7Ravi 8_0003

Four Beatles-related Finds at Record Fair

We’ve just returned from the annual Glebe Record Fair – one of the biggest of the year – held in the Sydney suburb of Glebe:Glebe-April-2015

The two photos below were taken just after opening time at 9.00 am. This was before the venue really became absolutely packed with patrons hungrily seeking out vinyl, books and CDs. As you can see it’s already very crowded:Glebe 2015 1Glebe 2015 2

And the crowds just got bigger and bigger. In the melee that ensued we were lucky to discover four interesting little 45 singles. First up, a US white-label pressing of George Harrison’s ‘This Song’ from 1976 on his Dark Horse label, complete in its original outer sleeve. First pressings of this came with these white labels, while later issues have the traditional colour label:Harrison This Song1Harrison This Song2

At the same vendor’s stall we also discovered this unusual New Zealand pressing of Paul McCartney and Wings controversial ‘Give Ireland Back to the Irish’, dating from 1972. As was the case in most of the rest of the world this is on a custom Apple label:Give Ireland Back

A little later in another pile of 45s we spied this nice US pressing (and original picture sleeve) of Mary Hopkin singing ‘Goodbye’:Goodbye1Goodbye2

By this time we were feeling pretty weary, and the crowds had built considerably. We were just about to leave and doing one final trawl through some singles at another table when out popped this rare little gem:Seaside Woman1Seaside Woman2Seaside Woman3

It’s a 1986 UK pressing with re-mixes of the Suzy and the Red Stripes song ‘Seaside Woman‘ (a.k.a Linda McCartney and husband Paul). This was originally released on the A&M label back in 1980 with this cover:Seaside Woman4

Unboxing “Living in the Material World” DVD/BluRay Box Set

Haven’t got this yet because it is only available in the UK so far….but one fan has posted a video of his unboxing of the Deluxe Edition of the DVD/BluRay/CD set: