Splinter

The Place I Love

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Out of all the albums cut by artists in the Beatles' orbit, Splinter's The Place I Love is the one that, along with Badfinger's albums, most deserves reissue. The first album released on George Harrison's Dark Horse Records label, The Place I Love -- which did chart -- was produced by the ex-Beatle and features the best music associated with him that was heard in the 14 years between Living in the Material World and Cloud Nine. Splinter, consisting of Bill Elliott and Bob Purvis, harmonizes beautifully, and their vocals recall John Lennon and George Harrison at their respective peaks. Coupled with upwards of a half dozen or more guitars (and keyboards, percussion, and Jew's harp) overdubbed by Harrison (working under various aliases, since he was still signed to EMI at the time) with some additional contributions by Alvin Lee), and a rhythm section that included Jim Keltner on drums and Klaus Voormann playing bass, it's not surprising that Splinter's debut album comes off like a cross between the Plastic Ono Band on a very good day and very melodic offshoots of All Things Must Pass in its leaner moments. It really rocks, too -- Harrison's guitar playing (six-string, 12-string, and electric) on "Somebody's City" is some of his best and flashiest, and coupled with the duo's singing and Mike Kelly's pile-driver drums and a tasteful Mel Collins horn arrangement, is an absolute jewel, and "Gravy Train," which opens the album, is practically a sequel to "Get Back." "Costafine Town," which made the charts, is a warmly nostalgia-laden tune with a memorable melody and gorgeous singing. Much of this album actually sounds like very good Badfinger outtakes, which makes its absence from CD even more frustrating; Splinter deserved to be remembered, but so far their recognition has only come from the hardcore underground network of Beatles enthusiasts. In 1999, The Place I Love was reissued as a bootleg CD-R with a bonus track, the ethereal "Lonely Man," off of the group's second album, Harder to Live, which features even better singing than anything on The Place I Love and also includes Harrison on guitar.

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