Album Remarks & Appraisals:
This is a new reissue of the legendary 1971 benefit concert organized by George Harrison. Features performances from George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Ravi Shankar, Leon Russell, and Billy Preston. Includes a new bonus track 'Love Minus Zero/No Limit' by Bob Dylan. CD has been digitally remastered. Capitol. 2005.
Rolling Stone (No. 986, p.98) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...[A] musical gem..."
Q (10/91) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...the music here is excellent."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.130) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[Y]ou get a George greatest hits set and nervous Bob Dylan, stumbling in from Long Island to deliver an enthusiastically received best-of. Sumptuous sound, too."
Mojo (Publisher) (3/02, p.118) - "...The first set features Shankar...on the second, Harrison's solo repertoire is beyond reproach....Cameos abound...for many though, the Main Event was the return of a Bob Dylan with whom the audience felt comfortable..."
Personnel: George Harrison (vocals, guitar); Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar); Billy Preston (vocals, organ); Leon Russell (vocals, keyboards); Ringo Starr (vocals, drums); Jesse Ed Davis , Joey Molland (guitar); Pete Ham (acoustic guitar); Ravi Shankar (sitar); Jim Horn (saxophone); Klaus Voormann, Tom Evans , Carl Radle (bass instrument); Jim Keltner, Mike Gibbins (drums); Don Preston (background vocals).
This historical 1971 event set the template for every rock benefit concert that followed. A cast of all-star musicians, including Geroge Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, and Bob Dylan, converged on New York City's Madison Square Garden to play and sing their hearts out, while all the proceeds from the concert went to aid Bengali refugees. Shankar's 17-minute-plus raga "Bangla Dhun" opens the set, as though evoking the voice of a part of the globe too-often overlooked by Westerners. Backed by Ali Akbar Kahn and Alla Rakha, Shankar's exquisitely nuanced performance is one of the show's highlights.
Harrison, who organized the event, plays originals recorded with the Beatles ("While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Something"), and songs from his then-recent solo debut, ALL THINGS MUST PASS ("My Sweet Lord;" "Awaiting on You All"). There are dynamic solo turns by Leon Russell and Billy Preston, before Dylan emerges to steal the show with renditions of his classics ("Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Blowin' in the Wind"). Originally released as a three-LP set, CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH overflows with great music. At the time, it was an emblem for how popular music can raise consciousness about world issues and positively impact those situations. It remains such an emblem today.