Saturday, 26 November 2016

SONG OF THE DAY: "FAR EAST MAN"

 FAR EAST MAN 
From Dark Horse (1974) by George Harrison


Published: oops/Ganga, Warner Chappell
Released 9 December 1974
Genre Rock, soul
Length 5:52
Label Apple
Writer(s) George Harrison, Ron Wood
Producer(s) George Harrison


"Far East Man" is a song written by George and Ronnie Wood, each of whom released a recording of the song in 1974. Wood's version appeared on I've Got My Own Album to Do, his debut solo album, and Harrison's on Dark Horse. Their only official songwriting collaboration, "Far East Man" is an affirmation of friendship in the face of life's obstacles and musically reflects the two guitarists' adoption of the soul genre. Written mostly by Harrison, the composition has been interpreted as a restatement of the humanitarian message expressed in his 1971 single "Bangla Desh", and a tribute to Indian musician Ravi Shankar.
The song originated during a period of romantic intrigue surrounding Harrison's marriage to Pattie Boyd and Wood's to his wife Krissie, which culminated in Boyd leaving Harrison for his and Wood's mutual friend Eric Clapton. Wood recorded "Far East Man" in July 1974 at The Wick, his Surrey home that had also become an established meeting place for many leading rock musicians. Harrison sang and played slide guitar on this version, while other contributors included Wood's Faces bandmate Ian MacLagan, Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones, and drummer Andy Newmark. The Harrison recording took place at his Friar Park studio and features backing from Billy Preston, Tom Scott, Willie Weeks and Newmark, all of whom then played on his 1974 North American tour with Shankar. Opening with a spoken dedication to Frank Sinatra, the Dark Horse recording was marred by George's damaged singing voice – a result of his rushing to complete the album's vocal parts in Los Angeles, while simultaneously rehearsing for the tour.
Several commentators have singled out "Far East Man" as a highlight of George's 1974 album. While noting the two composers' troubled private lives during the song's creation, author Simon Leng describes it as "a wistful shrug of the shoulders set to music". In 2002, Wood released a concert DVD titled Far East Man, which included a live version of the track. Recorded in December 2001, two weeks after George's death from cancer, this performance features special guests Andrea Corr and Slash.

Personnel
  • George Harrison – vocals, electric guitar, slide guitar, backing vocals
  • Tom Scott – saxophones, horn arrangement
  • Billy Preston – electric piano
  • Willie Weeks – bass
  • Andy Newmark – drums, shaker, tambourine

 

Far East Man (Harrison/Wood) - 5:52

While the world wages war
It gets harder to see
Who your friends really are
I won't let him down
Got to do what I can
I won't let him drown
He's a far east man

All these ups and those downs
Makes me question what love is
Is it a lie or worthwile
I won't let him down
Got to do what I can
I won't let him drown
He's a far east man

Sometime is so short
But it takes so long
Wondering if it is
Or if I'm wrong
Even then my heart seems
To be the one in charge
Can only do what it tells me

We can't let them down
We've got to do what we can
We can't let him drown
He's a far east man

Looks like right here on earth
God, it's hellish at times
But I feel that a heaven's in sight
And I can't let hin down
Got to do what I can
I can't let him drown
He's a far east man

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