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Yim Yames - Tribute To
loving tribute to The Quiet Beatle
Review by Tony BonyataThe Beatles have influenced many people, probably more than any singe music act in the last 100 years, but while the songwriting team of Lennon/McCartney would make the biggest impact with the charts, sales and fans alike, the more introspective and less assuming Beatle, George Harrison, still continues to gain new fans who have come to realize that much of his own music rivals that of his two former band mates.
One of these fans is Jim James, frontman from the rock band My Morning Jacket. When James first heard of Harrison's death in 2001 he was inspired to record a handful of his compositions that moved him the most. These songs were sparsely recorded with just acoustic guitar and vocals, with the occasional piano and banjo accompaniment. Despite the fact that these recordings were tucked away for years, the Louisville, KY native decided the time was right to put them to disc and get them out to the public. Released under the pseudonym Yim Yames, James has appropriately titled the six-song effort Tribute To, and while all too short, it's a fitting tribute that not only celebrates Harrison's brilliant songwriting talent, but at the same also mourns over the loss of such a great artist.
The E.P. gently opens with James' harrowing version of one of George's most overlooked masterpieces, "Long Long Long," originally from The Beatles' 1968 White Album. He only includes one other of Harrison's Beatle compositions, "Love You To," but it's a beautiful take where James incorporates a thought-provoking banjo in the place of Harrison's signature sitar. The other four songs are all from Harrison's 1970 tour-de-force debut solo effort, All Things Must Pass. James turns down the pop sensibilities of "My Sweet Lord," in favor of letting the simplicity of the song shine, while he digs in for a couple of fantastic deep cuts from the album, "Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)" and the country-laced bittersweet track "Behind That Locked Door." Fittingly, the E.P. concludes with a frail yet hopeful rendition of "All Things Must Pass."
While both Harrison's songs and the simple way that James has presented them are filled with a sense of magic, it's the space that these songs were recorded in that truly gives them a deeper, if not more spiritual feel. The room actually lends a warm reverb to both James' earnest vocals and the stripped-down acoustics, giving the sense of hope, peace and love - three things that were always a part of Harrison's fiber.
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