Billy Preston - Encouraging Words (reissue)

Published Tuesday 22nd February 2011
Billy Preston - Encouraging Words (reissue)
Billy Preston - Encouraging Words (reissue)

RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 105474-17587
LABEL: Apple

Reviewed by David Faulkner

In late 2010 the Beatles' Apple Corps embarked on a reissue and remaster campaign, featuring some of their early landmark releases, including Badfinger, Mary Hopkin and this from their session organist par excellence circa "Get Back". Famous for his solo hit "That's The Way God Planned It" (not on this album) and his later duet with Syreeta, "With You I'm Born Again", Preston's second solo album is more after the style of the former. It is led by Hammond organ, laced with horns and supported with gospel backing vocals. It's very much '60s soulful pop, though lacking both Motown sheen and Stax grit. The original 13 tracks are augmented by three bonus tracks, which for once are worth their inclusion, especially the closer, "How Long Has The Train Been Gone". The rest mix typical love songs ("Right Now", "Little Girl") with religious lyrics ("Let The Music Play", "Sing One For The Lord"). However, George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" is also present, and while the soulful arrangement is attractive, disappointingly Preston includes its original syncretistic lyrics. In the CD booklet, he explains it purely as a difference of name between Christ and Krishna. His version here predates Harrison's, as does his soulful recording here of "All Things Must Pass". Overall, then, this is artistically magnificent but theologically dubious.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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