Extra Texture

by: George Harrison

Despite George Harrison's reputation for solemn, lugubriously paced albums in the early '70s -- and this one is mostly no exception -- the jacket is full of jokes, from the eaten-away Apple logo (the Apple label would expire at year's end) to the punning title, the list of non-participants, and the mischievous grin of the ex-Beatle above the arch caption "OHNOTHIMAGEN" ("Oh, not him again!"). The record gets off to a great start with the instantly winning single "You" -- a bit of which is then repeated to open side two. But here, the basic idea and instrumental track come from February 1971, during George's most fertile period, dressed up with vocals and string synthesizer four years later. One of George's most beautifully harmonized, majestic, strangely underrated ballads "The Answer's at the End" -- whose inspiring lyric was based upon an inscription on George's home by its builder, Sir Frank Crisp -- comes next, followed by "This Guitar (Can't Keep from Crying)," an attractive sequel to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." At this point, the devoted fan's hopes go up; could this be an unsung masterpiece? But George has fired off his best stuff first, and the record slowly and inexorably tails off, closing with a baffling salute to ex-Bonzo Dog Band member "Legs" Larry Smith. Yet despite its stretches of treadmill material, Extra Texture has worn better as a whole than its Apple neighbors Dark Horse and even much of Living in the Material World, for even the lesser tunes reveal a few musical blossoms upon re-listening and the front-loaded songs are among the best of his solo career. ~ Richard S. Ginell

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