Following on from my post about ‘Dark Horse’ here are some thoughts about George’s follow up album 'Extra Texture’. It is worth noting that the gap between 'Dark Horse’ and 'Extra Texture’ was the shortest between any of George’s albums (Dark Horse was released in December 1974 and Extra Texture’ was released in September 1975) and several of the musicians who played on both the 'Dark Horse’ album and tour would appear on 'Extra Texture’ - this along with some of the themes of some of the songs make seem like a sister album to 'Dark Horse’ in my opinion and it leads on to 1976’s '33 1/3 which shares an interest in soul music
It is worth noting here that between 1973-1976 George issued four albums (1973- Living in the Material World, 1974- Dark Horse, 1975- Extra Texture, 1976- 33 1/3). This was not exceptional for artists of the time - for example Curtis Mayfield (another artist I love) issued five studio albums in the same period on top of work on two soundtrack and Stevie Wonder (again another fave) issued two single albums and a double album in the same period (this is on top of several albums they released between 1970-72!). This made both for a heavy work load in terms both of recording and promotion. It was not 'Extra Texture’ would also be George’s last album for Apple, fulfilling his contract. This is not an insignificant fact as many writers including Simon Leng argue. Indeed on the albums artwork there is a photo of a eaten apple core indicating George’s view on the end of the Apple dream. George also had the words ohnothimagen on the albums artwork, joking about public perception about him after the Dark Horse tour.
Having read the wikipedia entry for the album, it is sad to read that this album is regarded as one of George’s weakest. George’s vocals on this album are especially strong - particulary telling after 'Dark Horse’. This album has been perceived as George’s 'Soul’ album’ and certianly tracks like 'You’ and 'Ooh Baby (you know that I love you) certainly have a relaxed motown inspired feel
It is worth noting that this was the only album that George would record entirely in the USA at A & M studios in Los Angeles and this is very much an LA album, informed by the LA music scene of the time. Two of the bands George would sign to Dark Horse records Jiva and Attitudes were from Los Angeles (Jiva issued their album shortly after George issued this album). Both bands were influneced by jazz rock and jazz funk (and recorded songs mentioning Los Angeles!)
Special mention for the sadly late Leon Russell for his fine piano playing on 'Tired of midnight blue’. It is worth noting that again George worked with several long term collaboators such as Willie Weeks, Jim Horn, Jim Keltner, Jesse Ed Davis, Gary Wright and Tom Scott on this album
Like 'Dark Horse’ 'Extra Texture’ includes a song inspired by one of the engravings at Friar Park- 'The answer’s at the end’. (as George pointed out in 'I, Me, Mine’ ) The lyrics of this song seem to address some of what he wqas going through at the time. George also recorded a song dedicated to Smokey Robinson 'Ooh Baby (You Know That I Love You) as he would on 33 1/3 (Pure Smokey)
As some commentators such as Simon Leng in 'While my guitar gently weeps’ and Dale Allison in 'The Love there that’s sleeping’ some of the songs on the album , most notably 'Grey Cloudy Lies’ are amongst George’s darkest. Certainly the album was recorded in a period of great personal and professional transition for George. It is worth noting that from 'I, Me, Mine’ it would appear taht several of the songs on 'Extra Texture were written some time before the album was recorded
George’s next album '33 1/3’ would be more upbeat and answer some of the quandries of 'Extra Texture’