Thursday, September 6, 2007

Let Him Go (Hats Off to Harrison)

From Awkward Middle Phase: Seth Timbs' Home Demos, Volume One

One of Seth Timbs’ many songs that doubles as a eulogy of sorts. I remember hearing about the death of George Harrison in December, 2001—it’s one of the few times in my life that I’ve felt truly affected by the death of a celebrity. I was in my last week as a college student and working in a public high school. I heard the news on NPR as I rode in, and remembering that all schools are wired in with cable TV (which I never have at home, btw), I tried to see as much rare interview footage that they would milk out of it on every network as a way to deflect the undertow of emotion I was feeling.

This song was one of the few cuts from Awkward Middle Phase that I didn’t already have when it was released in 2006, but it quickly took me back to that deeply affecting moment when I realized that soul, that presence, that force, was not on Earth with us anymore. And even if George Harrison wasn’t really writing music anymore, and I wasn’t buying it if he was, a voice of understanding, love, and compassion had left us for good. We didn’t fully appreciate its presence since it had been singing “Here Comes the Sun” to us since our infancy, but as soon it was gone, it was a blow to us all.

And speaking for the generation of us born after the break-up of the Beatles, Seth finds the words to help us say good-bye, “Let him go. You know it couldn’t last forever.” And then he plays one of the longest guitar solos of any Fluid Ounces recording as if he is single-handedly playing George into the next life as we all tearfully realize that we have to move on in this life without him. It also should be noted that the solo is decidedly in the style of George Harrison, not a balls-to-the-wall McCartney solo like “Taxman,” or an over-the-top Clapton blues solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” but a melodic solo reminiscent of the decidedly Harrison “Octupus’s Garden” (minus a leslie cabinet) or maybe something off of All Things Must Pass.

I think it speaks to the power of the song that I have re-visited it every time death has visited me since then. Of all the eulogies of different types that Seth has written, I think this one is the strongest as it is the most uplifting.

5 comments:

tha b said...

yeah, that's one from that release I've always wanted to play live... maybe because of the guitar solo... ;-) hahahaha

Tom Foolery said...

How soon after Harrison's death was this song written? Was Seth still living here, or had he moved to California? Has it ever been played live?

Juan Horsetown said...

These are questions to which I don't have answers. I'd guess "no" on being played live, unless the fabled line-up of Seth, Justin Meyer and Mac Burrus played this one (any truth to that, jdogg?).

Harrison died in December, 2001, and Seth moved in March of '02, and I have no idea when the song was written or recorded. It may have been written long before or after since it only references George Harrison in the subtitle of the song.

Soymilk Revolution said...

fl. oz. was a three-piece, with mac burrus in the band (presumably playing bass)?? when the hell did that happen?

Juan Horsetown said...

I'm not sure it actually happened, but somewhere along the way I heard whispers that Seth was playing Fluid Ounces with those two after he moved to Los Angeles. I don't even know if it's true or not, and I don't know if they had someone else playing along with them.

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