|Studio album by Billy Preston|
|Released||11 September 1970 (UK)
9 November 1970 (US)
|Recorded||October 1969−May 1970
Trident Studios, London; Olympic Studios, London
|Genre||Soul, rock, gospel|
|Producer||George Harrison, Billy Preston|
|Billy Preston chronology|
|Singles from Encouraging Words|
Background and recording
As on the previous year's That's the Way God Planned It, Preston worked closely with George Harrison on the album, the Beatle contributing guitar, co-producing, and co-writing a song with Preston. Harrison also donated two of his own − and subsequently most famous – compositions in "My Sweet Lord" and "All Things Must Pass", both of which he had yet to release himself. (Work on All Things Must Pass would only begin after the Preston sessions were completed.)
Recorded in London, Encouraging Words retained some of the all-star personnel from its predecessor − again featuring Eric Clapton as well as Harrison on guitar − augmented by the likes of Ringo Starr, Klaus Voormann and various members of Delaney & Bonnie's "Friends" band. Crucially though, there were also contributions from members of the Temptations' and Sam and Dave's backing bands, ensuring a more sympathetic setting for Preston's music than that provided by the all-British rock line-up on the 1969 album. As a result, Encouraging Words is typical of Preston's successful blend of soul and rock, highlighted by his powerful voice and virtuoso Hammond organ and piano playing.
In late April 1970, Harrison arrived in New York, where he was said to be working on Preston's album. It is possible that orchestral strings were overdubbed onto "All Things Must Pass" and "Little Girl" at this point, after which Harrison collaborated briefly with Bob Dylan.
Encouraging Words was released in Britain on 11 September 1970 (with the Apple catalogue number SAPCOR 14) and in America on 9 November (as ST 3370). Although it failed to find commercial success, the album is considered one of Billy Preston's best by fans and one of the finest non-Beatle Apple releases.
To tie in with the album's September release, "My Sweet Lord" had been issued as a single in certain European countries. Three months later, with Harrison's version dominating the airwaves, it was belatedly given a US release (with "Little Girl" on the B-side), rewarding Preston with a highest placing of number 90 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart of 27 February 1971.
Later, CD releases of Encouraging Words saw the inclusion of Preston's rare Apple A-side "All That I've Got", recorded in November 1969. Released in January 1970 as Apple 21 (February in the United States, as Apple 1817), the song was co-written with soul singer Doris Troy, whose own Apple album was released on the same day as Encouraging Words.
All songs by Billy Preston, except where noted.
- "Right Now" – 3:14
- "Little Girl" – 3:28
- "Use What You Got" – 4:22
- "My Sweet Lord" (George Harrison) – 3:21
- "Let the Music Play" (Preston, Joe Greene, Jesse Kirkland) – 2:44
- "The Same Thing Again" (Preston, James Herndon) – 4:32
- "I've Got a Feeling" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 2:51
- "Sing One for the Lord" (Harrison, Preston) – 3:49
- "When You Are Mine" – 2:45
- "I Don't Want You to Pretend" – 2:38
- "Encouraging Words" – 3:35
- "All Things (Must) Pass" (Harrison) – 3:43
- "You've Been Acting Strange" (R.L. Williams) – 3:27
CD bonus tracks (1993 and 2010 remasters)
- "As Long as I Got My Baby" – 2:42
- "All That I've Got (I'm Gonna Give It to You)" (Preston, Doris Troy) – 3:34
New bonus track (added to 2010 remaster)
- "How Long Has This Train Been Gone" (Preston, Bruce Fisher) – 3:17
No comprehensive musician credits have ever been compiled for Encouraging Words. The following are named in promotional material for the 2010 remaster of the album.
- Billy Preston – vocals, organ, piano, electric piano, harmonica, backing vocals
- George Harrison – electric guitars, Moog synthesizer, backing vocals
- Eric Clapton – electric guitar
- Delaney Bramlett – electric guitar, backing vocals
- Carl Radle – bass
- Jim Gordon – drums
- Klaus Voormann – bass
- Ringo Starr – drums
- Bobby Keys – saxophones
- Jim Price – trumpet, trombone, horn arrangements
- The Edwin Hawkins Singers – backing vocals
- members of the Temptations' tour band – electric guitar, bass, drums
- members of Sam & Dave's tour band – bass, drums
- uncredited string arrangements and percussion
- "Billy Preston Encouraging Words", Apple Records (retrieved 16 February 2012).
- Keith Badman, The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After the Break-Up 1970–2001, Omnibus Press (London, 2001), p. 203.
- Simon Leng, While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison, Hal Leonard (Milwaukee, WI, 2006), p. 70.
- Simon Leng, While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison, Hal Leonard (Milwaukee, WI, 2006), p. 72.
- Keith Badman, The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After the Break-Up 1970–2001, Omnibus Press (London, 2001), p. 6.
- John Harris, "A Quiet Storm", Mojo, July 2001, p. 72.
- Keith Badman, The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After the Break-Up 1970–2001, Omnibus Press (London, 2001), p. 7.
- Bruce Eder, "Billy Preston Encouraging Words", AllMusic (retrieved 16 February 2012).
- John Harris, "Strange Fruit: Various, Original Apple albums, 1969–73", Mojo, November 2010, p. 117.
- Gary Graff & Daniel Durchholz (eds), MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink Press (Farmington Hills, MI, 1999), p. 893.
- Harry Castleman & Walter J. Podrazik, All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975, Ballantine Books (New York, NY, 1976), p. 91.
- Kit O'Toole, "Billy Preston Inspires Musically and Spiritually with 1970's Encouraging Words", Blogcritics, 30 July 2011 (retrieved 26 October 2015).
- Nicholas Schaffner, The Beatles Forever, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY, 1978), p. 143.
- Alan Clayson, George Harrison, Sanctuary (London, 2003), p. 281.
- Harry Castleman & Walter J. Podrazik, All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975, Ballantine Books (New York, NY, 1976), p. 95.
- Harry Castleman & Walter J. Podrazik, All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975, Ballantine Books (New York, NY, 1976), p. 352.