After Flash Harry in 1980, new Harry recordings would become extremely scarce. He had no more official albums released, other than compilations of older recordings, and yet he still continued to record until the very end.
On 9th December 1982 (the second anniversary of John Lennon's death), Harry completed a selection of demo's of songs penend by the famous Mrs. Lennon, Yoko Ono. The demo's came to be known as the HARRY DOES YOKO sessions, and here is a run down on the 8 rare songs:
LISTEN THE SNOW IS FALLING:
This song had a distinct similarity to John Lennon's later work, and was typical of the material he was recording at the time of his death in 1980. Based around a very noticeable hook-riff, Harry croons his way through a most pleasant number with a strong Oriental flavour.
NEVER SAY GOODBYE:
Yet again, the Lennon influence shines through in Yoko's writing. Here, we have a song that would have fit in well with the MIND GAMES recordings, but some 80s touches are in evidence, most natably the prominant saxophone solos. Harry improvises in his unique way around what is a very likeable melody, and he's in very reflective mode. Another nice hint at his past glories lies in the subtle counter-melody backing vocal which he also sings.
The clunker of the set in my opinion. This is what I term "80s Cock-Rock". Y'know? The type of stuff you'd get on the soundtrack of a dodgy 80s erotic TV movie. It has a very strong 80s funk/rock feel with a plausible guitar solo, but also comes replete with hideous synth drums, poor lyrics and practically no tune. Harry is in "growly" voice but sadly adds nothing to what is basically a dreary song.
Not all is lost after the previous track thankfully, as this is a return to form all around. Lyrically, this is VERY Yoko! It has her mark all over it. Musically it's surprisingly good. There are some beautiful chord changes and Harry sings in very gentle voice, with an unexpected gravel voiced middle eight. There are some almost robotic sounding synthesised backing voices, which sort of work, and the overall performance is very nice.
Strange to say the least. This is a very Tribal sounding mantra, almost aboriginal with a strong emphasis on low voiced chants driven along by an eerie deep pounding jungle drum beat. Harry is again in his typical late period gritty voice, but there's not much of a melody to play around with and Harry tends to take a secondary role as opposed to the droning instrumental track, which is all based around one minor chord.
A stunner! Harry is in all his superb high pitched vocal glory here in a lovely tune that is very in keeping with his own late 70s recordings. Actually, this wouldn't sound out of place on KNILLSSONN with a string arrangement intact. It actually does have an orchestral string backing - albeit synthesised strings - but enjoyable all the same. The lyrics are nice and some subtle John Lennon tributes are featured along the way, with the most blatant one ending the song with direct quotes from the classic Beatles track, "In My Life". A beautifully sung ending!
Here we have a really enchanting tune. Yoko deserves credit for penning a very dreamy melody which Harry handles very well. A male vocal group sing a very endearing bridge which Harry improvises over. This is yet another hidden classic!
Not the Charlie Chaplin classic - but a wonderful surprise nonetheless! This is a great mid-tempo Reggae tune which is brilliantly written via the use of some inspiring diminished chords. Harry is in exceptional voice here and sings in his lovely smooth tones with not a hint of his hoarse voice in evidence. There's the added pleasure of some wonderful high falsetto towards the end in what sounds like a much much earlier recording. In my opinion, this is the true gem of the set. Yoko's finest composition of the whole set, and Harry's best performance. A truly great end to a rare but enjoyable set of recordings.
-- ANDY WOOD