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Harrison sings his final odes

November 18, 2002|Steve Hochman

George Harrison: "Brainwashed"

Capitol

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In songs for this final musical statement, the quiet Beatle approached death last year with a firm belief that it was not the end but a transition, with a yearning for deeper understanding, with a critical eye for the material world and even with a sense of humor.

Of course that describes almost any Harrison album. Remember, he wrote "All Things Must Pass" and "My Sweet Lord" 30 years earlier. The reality of dying has only made his convictions more concrete.

As co-producers, his son Dhani and Jeff Lynne keep Harrison's distinctively deft slide guitar and jaunty ukulele the sonic signatures, with just a few subtle nods backward to the Beatles as poignant punctuation.

The kicker is a sprightly take on Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler's "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," with Harrison's uke chiming and a mischievous sparkle in his craggy voice. A love song to life, to music, to his wife and family, it's as much of a prayer as the Hindi chant with which he and Dhani close this warm collection.

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lbums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The album is due in stores Tuesday.

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