While we are STILL awaiting a release date from Mobile Fidelity for their audiophile vinyl re-issue of the George Harrison-produced Shankar Family & Friends, Dark Horse has decided to put it out on CD, and on purple coloured vinyl.
It was initially slated for a June 9 release, but it looks like the date has recently been pushed back to July 14:
There could also be a black vinyl version but we’re not exactly sure. This image is appearing on some store sites:
Image (from l to r): Dhani Harrison and Yusuf with David Zonshine (Dark Horse) and Yoriyos Adamos (Yusuf’s son and manager) at F.P.S.H.O.T.
A number of digital back catalogue albums were almost immediately put up on the Dark Horse releases site indicating they were now available on streaming services. These are all what might be considered his second tier works, definitely not his top-selling LPs. So the wait has been on to see what new content from Yusuf/Cat Stevens might be made available for the first time – and on physical media.
In March the label made this announcement about a brand new studio work and now the wait for that release is almost over because next month (June 16) sees King Of A Land issued on Dark Horse:
The album’s artwork is created by award-winning Canadian children’s illustrator Peter H. Reynolds. As well as the cover art he has created illustrations for each song portraying the album’s lyrical themes in an accompanying 36 page booklet. The vinyl and booklet are housed in a gatefold sleeve.
Dark Horse, with it’s direct association with founder George Harrison, seems to be a natural home for Yusuf. “George has been an immense influence on me, spiritually, from the very beginning. He pioneered certain thoughts and ideas, which stretched way east, and that was very important. He was beginning to explore Eastern mysticism around the time I was hospitalised with TB, in 1968. Lying in bed, I had a lot of time on my hands and ended up reading a Buddhist book called The Secret Path. That was the beginning of my own search for the light.”
“Looking at the jagged journey of my music, beginning as I did in the 60’s, I would say this new record is a mosaic. A very clearly defined description of where I’ve been and who I am.”
In welcoming the singer to the Dark Horse Record label, Dhani Harrison said “I’m thrilled to welcome Yusuf/Cat Stevens to the Dark Horse Records family. Not only is he a great musical legend but his songs could not fit the Dark Horse mythos any better. From his back catalogue, through to the new music we can’t wait for you to hear. Yusuf is without question one of the most influential singer-songwriters of all time. It is a great honour to be able to give his music a home on our humble yet historic label.”
Yusuf has started to tease King Of A Land with some very charming lyric videos:
King Of A Land sounds like it could be something special, very reminiscent of his early 1970’s work. Definitely looking forward to this one.
In addition to the two Dark Horse Records releases that came out on Record Store Day just past (see our post here), there are two more physical titles from the newly-revitalised label you might like to track down.
The first came out just a couple of weeks prior to Record Store Day.
Its the late, great Leon Russell’s Signature Songs, an album of solo piano and vocal recordings originally released in 2001 and which has been long out-of-print since.
Signature Songs features stripped-down, unique takes of songs from across Russell’s long and illustrious songwriting career. Songs you will definitely know either recorded by him, or the many artists who covered his songs and had hits with them: ‘A Song For You’, ‘Tight Rope’, ‘Delta Lady’, ‘Stranger In A Strange Land’, and the classic ‘This Masquerade’.
Signature Songs is available on CD, digital download, and is now pressed on vinyl for the very first time.
Here’s the hype sticker:
And the label:
Sometimes you just have to bide your time when it comes to waiting for new releases.
We reported way back in January 2022 that the Mobile Fidelity company intended to issue an audiophile pressing of the1974 George Harrison-produced Dark Horse album Shankar Family ૐ Friends. On it Indian musical virtuosos Ravi Shankar, Alla Rakha, Ashish Khan, Kamala Chakravarty, Hariprasad Chaurasia are joined by Western musos like Ringo Starr, David Bromberg, Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, Jim Keltner, Klaus Voorman and Tom Scott.
Well, truth is we’re still waiting for this one, so you’ll have to be patient.
But, there has been movement at the station…
A press release page has appeared on the Mobile Fidelity website inviting pre-orders. Still no firm release date sadly, but at least you can now pre-order and secure this Dark Horse “Beatle-related” extra for your collection:
We’ve had readers doing a lot more detective work and research into the photographs that Klaus Voormann used for his collage and line drawings for the famous Revolver cover.
In case you’ve missed it the story on our blog started here and here when we stumbled across a terrific montage detailing all the then known images used for the cover.
Turns out the author of that montage was Ukrainian Beatle fan Sergey, one of our readers! He wrote to us letting us know he’d first created it (way back in 2012!) for a Russian Beatles discussion forum called beatles.ru.
Sergey has since tracked down the source of the image of Ringo used as inspiration for the line drawing of him Klaus placed at the bottom left of the Revolver cover – the one where he is looking skywards.
We’re still not sure of the photographer, but it was published in a German booklet Das sind die Beatles which features a series of black-and-white photographs and short comments about each. It was produced by Bravo magazine for the 1966 Bravo Blitztournee tour, under the auspices of Beat Publication Ltd. The photographer details are not indicated, but Sergey sent us these photographs of the actual publication:
We then published what we feel is another piece in the mystery – the photograph of John Lennon that was very likely the inspiration for Klaus’s line drawing of John at the top right-hand side of Revolver. You can read about that here.
That prompted two other readers – Tom and burnham42 – to offer up even more clues. These revolve around the source images for the three small Beatle faces (and two hands) on this part of the cover:
I think the one of the three small photos top left is in The Beatles Anthology book page 70 (in my French edition). You can also find it on pinterest. The photo was taken on the way to Hamburg. There is John, Paul, George and Gerry and the Pacemakers in the photo. The man on the floor (George?) is pulling a face and you even have the hands that Klaus also used.
Well, drag out your English edition of The Beatles Anthology book too if you have one because the image is also on page 70 there as well:
The Anthology Book says the photo is from George Harrison’s private collection. The caption in the book reads: In a lay-by on the road to Hamburg and the Ost See. Me, Paul and John with Gerry and the Pacemakers.
We have George and Paul, who are standing on the left, and John sitting on the ground pulling a funny face.
Voormann has cut out three sections of this image. Paul has been placed to the left, his raised arm now just below George’s face. And he’s cropped John’s face to make it appear he has a Beatles hair-cut, and tilted it so that it is more upright. His hand from the image is also used, but also at a different angle.
So, one more mystery solved!
Following all this, Sergey has been back in touch and has offered up a revised, updated version of his original Revolver cover “sources” montage. Here it is:
Please click on the image to see a larger version.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Concert for George event at London’s Royal Albert Hall on November 29 2002, the Harrison Estate, film distribution company Abramorama, and Craft Recordings have announced a global theatrical screening of the film of the same name.
The Concert for George is to be shown – for one night only – in select theatres around the world on November 29, 2022:
First released in 2003, the GRAMMY®-winning concert film captures the concert event which celebrated in spectacular style the life and music of George Harrison. It features performances by Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Ravi Shankar, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston and many others.
You now have the opportunity to experience the concert on the big screen in immersive Dolby Atmos sound for the first time – newly remastered by GRAMMY-winning engineer Paul Hicks. The anniversary screenings will also feature a brand-new introduction by Olivia and Dhani Harrison.
Paul Hicks has also produced a new Dolby Atmos mix for the film’s accompanying Concert for George soundtrack album – available now on digital platforms. Listen here.
Certified 8 x Platinum by the RIAA, the acclaimed 27-track album is also still available in a variety of existing physical formats including a 180-gram 4-LP box set; 2-CD/2-DVD and 2-CD/2-Blu-Ray box set; and a 2-CD package. Order here.
This is a really special film of what was an amazing, star-studded tribute to George filled with top performances of his songs. It would be well worth seeing again on the big screen, and with great sound.
With the 2022 remaster and remix of The Beatles‘ Revolver album due to hit stores next month, there’s renewed interest in solving some of the remaining mysteries of just where cover designer Klaus Voormann sourced all those little images that make up the collage he created for this now-famous cover:
As you know last year we published an article about the latest thinking. There were still at least four images (circled in yellow) that remain mysterious as to their source (click on the image to see a larger version):
Now at least three of those four yellow circles have been solved (to an extent) by German fan and YouTuber, Yaacov (Jack) Edisherashvili.
Jack actually took a trip to visit Klaus Voormann in person and spoke with him about the Revolver cover. While there he asked him about where he’d sourced some of those photos.
You can see that video below. It’s interesting because in this first video Klaus talks about the cover and how it will be explained in the new book that’ll be included in the new 2022 release:
After Jack visited Klaus he wrote to us to say:
“The image on the top left corner – the three faces – was never published. This was given privately to Klaus by the band.
The Ringo image – on top right corner – Klaus says was shot on a boat trip.
The John Lennon image with cigarette – I forgot to ask, but looks to me taken from press conference pictures?“
So, that’s more information than we’ve had previously. Following his visit to Klaus, Jack has also uploaded this comprehensively researched YouTube with a detailed breakdown of the Revolver cover:
As you can see still a couple of mysteries remain.
If anyone knows the origins of the John Lennon photo with the cigarette – please let us know.
Also, two other outstanding questions are around the origins of the image of Ringo that Klaus used as inspiration for the drawing at the bottom left of the Revolver cover. Where was it published and who’s the photographer? And also the George image on the right – same questions:
Now that international travel is slowly becoming more feasible for many of us again, a visit to Liverpool – the city where it all began for The Beatles – might just be back on your travel “must do” list.
If so, it’d be nice to have a guide to point you in the right direction when you get there.
Liverpool, on the banks of the River Mersey always looms large in any discussion about the formation of the band and their influences. Many of the physical places they lived or frequented have become key parts of the Beatle story. It is of course the city where John, Paul, Ringo and George were born, grew up in, and knew well.
Now a new guide book The Beatles’ Liverpool – just released – takes you there by gathering more than fifty Liverpudlian localities. The fully illustrated guide then explains why those particular places played such a key role in the band’s development and success.
Of course there are the obligatory entries for the childhood homes (Menlove Avenue for John, Arnold Grove for George, Forthlin Road for Paul, and Admiral Grove for Ringo); there’s the background to Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields; The Cavern Club; and the well-known St Peter’s Church, Woolton where John first met Paul.
But there are many more obscure listings too. Like Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight; the Neston Institute in Wirral; and 4 Rodney Street, birthplace of Beatle manager Brian Epstein.
There’s also a handy two-page guide map pinpointing the location of all the places mentioned in the guide.
If you’re planning a Liverpool visit, this book would be an essential to take with you – and it won’t cost you any excess luggage fees. At just over 44 pages The Beatles’ Liverpool is compact and light enough to easily slip into a travel bag or backpack to have with you as you walk the streets of the historic city.
Even if you’re still a way off physically getting to Liverpool, you can dive into The Beatles’ Liverpool and pay a visit vicariously. It’s the perfect armchair alternative to actually being there.
Author Mike Haskins was himself born and raised in Merseyside – and he still lives there! He’s worked as a scriptwriter and researcher for TV, radio and the stage, and has published over fifty books.
UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who entered. And congratulations to the two readers who were first in with the correct answers!
They are Fred, from Ontario, Canada; and Diane from New York, USA. They will receive a copy of The Beatles’ Liverpool book, courtesy of Pitkin Publishing and Batsford Books.
The correct answers to our questions were:
In their early career band members purchased many of their instruments from which famous Liverpool music store? Hessy’s Music Centre
Ringo’s family hails from Liverpool’s Dingle area. His Mum worked at pub called The Empress there. In what way did Ringo put that building on the map? It’s on the front cover of his Sentimental Journey LP
The photos of George Harrison at home we published in Beatles With Records – Part 30 unleashed something of a flood of further images from readers depicting band members with LPs – especially George.
Additional images from what appears to be that same ‘at home’ photo session show him with even more records:
Specifically a well-stocked, three-tiered record rack seen on the right-hand side here (and thanks to our reader Lammert who sent these images through, plus many more across the whole Beatles With Records series):
Here, in the top left compartment you can just make out this 1966 album, Krishna Consciousness by A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami, the Indian spiritual teacher and founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), commonly known as the “Hare Krishna Movement”:
On the top right is Booker T and the M.G.’s Soul Limbo from 1968:
In the middle row, to the left is Woody Guthrie’s classic, Woody Guthrie Sings Folk Songs (with Leadbelly, Cisco Houston, Sonny Terry and Bess Hawes), first released in 1962:
Staying on the middle row – on the right-hand side is one of George’s all-time favourite bands, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. This time with their Greatest Hits Volume 2 LP first issued in 1967:
And of course, in the bottom left compartment of his record holder George has his own Electronic Sound, released on the Zapple label in 1969:
We say Smokey Robinson is one of George’s favourites because when he got a big package of records delivered during the filming of the Let It Be documentary it contained more Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, as these images from the recent Peter Jackson Get Back film clearly show:
These are (in order of appearance) the aforementioned Smokey Robinson and the Miracles Greatest Hits Volume 2, and also the album Make It Happen (from 1967):
Plus there’s copy of Away We A Go Go, from 1966. (You can see the rear cover of this album in the last Get Back photo above):
For another image of George with a different Miracles LP check out Part 18.
Jumping back a few years, we’ve been sent this image by reader and regular contributor Andrey:
The caption reads: ‘EMI House, Manchester Square, London, October 5 1965. According to Beatles Book #28 the group went to the West End headquarters of their record company to collect four Russian-made acoustic guitars and to be photographed playing them for the benefit of the factory where they were made.’
A stack of jazz records just happened to also make it into the image – and we can see a mono pressing of the 1962 Oscar Peterson Trio release The Sound of the Trio clearly in shot:
In this photo the Beatles look a bit tired and jet-lagged. But they’re still carrying records!
Back to George, and a meeting with the secretaries of the Beatle Fan Club to sort through some of the fan mail. He has some more records on his lap, the top one of which is another of his all-time favourites, Chet Atkins:
And to end this installment, a photograph of John Lennon and Paul McCartney holding a picture sleeve EP cover:
Why? Because it’s a screen shot from The Music of Lennon & McCartney, a British TV special honoring the Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership. Produced by Granada Television it first went to air on 16 December, 1965.
During the show The Beatles perform originals, and artists from around the world perform cover versions of their songs. The two are just about to introduce French singer Dick Rivers:
Wikepedia says that Hervé Forneri, known professionally as Dick Rivers, was a French singer and actor who began performing in the early 1960s. He was an important figure in introducing rock and roll music in France. He was an admirer of Elvis Presley, who influenced both his singing and looks.
Our Beatles With Records series is exactly that: photographs of the band actually holding those things they sold so many of: records and CDs. These can be Beatle discs, or discs by other artists.
The posts prompted quite a few readers to send in additional photographs, and also to do some amazing detective work on the sometimes mysterious records the Beatles are holding in photos. Sometimes the albums are easy to guess. Then there are others where you can only see a fragment of a cover, or the rear image of a sleeve, making it very difficult to identify – especially when the record is by an unrelated artist.
One recent photo to come to light is definitely in that latter camp. It comes from the recently released book by Paul McCartney’s brother, Mike McCartney (a.k.a. Mike McGear).
His book, published by Genesis Publications, is called Mike McCartney’s Early Liverpooland it contains some never-before-seen early photos of The Beatles, including this gorgeous one of John and Paul (and most probably George too, on the left). It is called Mathew Street, 1962 and hey are no doubt standing outside the famous Cavern Club:
This one had us intrigued. Paul is clearly looking at some 45’s, and John has under his arm what at first appears to be an LP of some kind. Further investigation though reveals it not to be a record but a bag containing a record from Liverpool’s NEMS record store. NEMS of course was owned by the family of their manager, Brian Epstein.
Wouldn’t it be great to know which LP John had purchased? What it is will probably never be known….
A couple of other items of interest have surfaced.
This one shows George Harrison in his kitchen at home at Kinfauns:
Quite interesting to see pinned up on the wall behind him a John Lennon/Yoko Ono album cover:
Here it is again, a different angle from the same photo shoot (click on image for a larger version):
It appears to be an album slick opened out containing the rear cover image as well:
George seemed quite fond of putting up album covers, or elements of album covers, on his walls. If you look at the top left of this photo – taken in what seems to be a hospital ward – you can see two prints of the Linda Eastman photograph of Apple artist Mary Hopkin. That image was used for the front cover of the Hopkin LP Postcard:
(Turns out that George was at London’s University College Hospital, where he got his tonsils removed in February, 1969)
Here’s an image of Paul McCartney with what could be an early rendering of the Klaus Voormann cover for the BeatlesRevolver LP. Either that or an attempt by a fan to replicate Voormann’s amazing artwork:
And finally, a still taken from the incredible Peter Jackson/Disney+ 3-part series Get Back on the making of the Let It Be album, this image of John Lennon taking a look at the latest Rolling Stones LP of the day:
See the other instalments of The Beatles With Records here.
We checked the date and it isn’t April 1st. So this must be true, right?
Looks like the Harrison Estate has entered into a licensing agreement with a company that legally sells cannabis called Dad Grass.
The George Harrison connection centres around an advertising campaign and product line featuring the All Things Must Pass album, including spliff-toking gnomes and of course the track, ‘Let It Roll’:
There is a range of products, including (for US$42.00) a Dad Grass x George Harrison All Things Must Grass Dad Stash which can hold five cigarettes and looks just like a double music cassette outer box:
As the copy on the website explains, this allows you to “…hide your grass in plain sight”:
It does a pretty good job, right down to the song titles on the back cover, and is produced by Dad Grass and George Harrison. Rolled in the USA:
Other products include the Special Blend George Harrison Dad Grass Five Pack (crafted from a special blend of Organic CBD and CBG hemp flower), Harrison signature rolling papers, rollings trays and ashtrays.
Dad Grass the company describes itself as “….reviving the mellow sensibility of the casual smoke. Our 100% Organic hemp flower and pre-rolled joints serve up a clean buzz without the fuss. Our special collections of merch and apparel pay tribute to the timeless staples of dad style. Past, present and future. Like your dad’s stash, we keep things easy and dependable, never fancy or complicated.”
“Classic toke meets classic bloke with our special edition George Harrison Dad Grass pre-rolled joints, smoking paraphernalia and merch.”
We’d be interested in your thoughts on this form of commercialisation of the Harrison legacy and the classic All Things Must Pass LP.