REVIEW BY: David Bowling
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/01/2011
It is never a good sign when an artist releases an album to fulfill a contractual obligation to a label. So it was with George Harrison and Extra Texture, released October 3, 1975. It was his final release for the Apple label and one of the last for the label overall. Harrison had already established his own Dark Horse imprint, having pictured an apple core (instead of an apple) on the original vinyl release, which certainly sent a message. He would later say the album was one of his worst.
Harrison’s personal criticism aside, Extra Texture isn’t a terrible album. His voice is in better shape than the gruff sounds presented on his previous one, Dark Horse. The music is also a little more energetic and polished in comparison. Still, it was an average release for Harrison. If you own this album, how many times have you actually listened to it during the past five or ten years years?
It sold well, if not spectacularly, reaching number eight on the American album charts and receiving a gold record award for sales, but it did not attain platinum status.
Harrison’s usual cadre of friends was on hand for this disc. Drummer Jim Keltner, pianist Leon Russell, bassists Klaus Voorman and Carl Radle, keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, Billy Preston, and Gary Wright all continued their musical association with the former Beatle.
The top twenty single, “You,” was written during 1971 and originally intended for Ronnie Spector. Harrison put his voice onto the track, and while the range may have been a little beyond his comfort zone, he still did a credible job.
There are some other competent performances here. “Ooh Baby,” which includes an excellent and soulful vocal, was a nice tribute to Motown star Smokey Robinson. “This Guitar (Can’t Help From Crying)” is a sequel to “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” “His Name Is Legs” allows the usually serious Harrison to present a little humor. The best track, however, is “Tired Of Midnight Blue.” One of the lost gems in Harrison’s catalogue, its lyrics may be somewhat dark yet the song contains some memorable hooks and excellent piano work by Leon Russell.
Extra Texture adds up to a solid if not spectacular album. It sounds a little dated today, but if you are in the right mood you may find something of interest here.