Legend has it George Harrison's '74 tour, kicked off shortly before the release of Dark Horse late that year, was a fiasco best forgotten -- in large part because the former Beatle, whose wife Pattie had just left him for Eric Clapton, had gone on the road following the same bout of laryngitis that felled him during the album's recording. Per the Rolling Stone bio: "On his big U.S. tour with Pandit Ravi Shankar & Friends, Harrison's voice, never strong, seem to fail him. A backlash reared up. And with that, he shrunk from one major spotlight: Those were his last shows in the United States." It would become known as Harrison's "Dark Hoarse" period.
But no need for legend to do the talking, not when the real thing'll do. Here's George Harrison at the Tarrant County Convention Center on November 22, 1974 -- 22 tracks in all, from the immortal ("Something," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "My Sweet Lord," "For You Blue") to the unexpected (Billy Preston contributes "Nothing From Nothing" and "Outa-Space" and duets with Harrison on "What Is Life") to the lesser-knowns from a period often regarded as "a complete disaster." At times it sounds like an Indian-music jam session; at others, a funk-rock freak-out; at others still, a rocker's run-through of pop hits past.
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Harrison, who never misses a chance to sell the $2 concert program, does indeed sound like hell -- so much so he sounds like he's doing a Bob Dylan parody. Nevertheless, it's worth a listen -- this version, particularly pristine, especially. It surfaced only weeks ago, along with this note: "I'm the guy who recorded this show. I have the original analog cassette tapes of it. Over the years I have traded analog tape copies but until now have never done a digital transfer of it. This is the first and only time it has been digitally transferred from the original analog cassette tapes. There are many bootlegs that exist of this show which were made from analog copies that I sent out in trade." Its title: The Real Dark Hoarse.