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John Lennon – It’s Gonna Be Alright (His Master’s Choice HMC002)

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 It’s Gonna Be Alright (His Master’s Choice HMC002)

Disc 1: Mother (alternate mix with alternate vocal and longer fade), Hold On (Take 1), Hold On (Take 2), I Found Out (Rough Carl Wolf Mix), Working Class Hero (Censored Version), Remember (Take unknown), Remember (Take unknown), It’ll Be Me (Improvisation), Love (Acoustic Guitar Rehearsal), (You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care (Improvisation), Love (Acoustic Guitar / Piano Rehersal), Well Well Well (Rough Mix), Look At Me (Rough Mix), God (Acoustic Guitar Demo), God (Acoustic Home Demo), My Mummy’s Dead (Complete Acoustic Guitar Demo), Hold On (Unknown Up-Tempo Take), Hold On (Take 30), Hold On (Instrumental Take unknown), Hold On (Take unknown), Love (Acoustic Guitar Rehersal), Love (Acoustic Guitar Rehersal), Love (Acoustic Guitar Rehersal), Love (Acoustic Guitar Rehearsal)

Disc 2: Love (Piano Rehearsal), Love (Acoustic Guitar / Piano Take 1), Love (Acoustic Guitar / Piano Take 2), Love (Improvisation), Love (Acoustic Guitar / Piano Take 14), Love (Acoustic Guitar / Piano Take 15), Love (Acoustic Guitar / Piano Take 16), Love (Acoustic Guitar / Piano Take 17 & 18), Love (Acoustic Guitar / Piano Take 19), Love (Acoustic Guitar / Piano Take 20), Love (Acoustic Guitar / Piano Take 21), Love (Acoustic Guitar / Piano Takes 21 & 22), Love (Acoustic Guitar / Piano Take 23), Hold On (Take 3), Hold On (Take 4), Hold On (Take 5), Hold On (Take 6), Hold On (Take unknown), Hold On (Take unknown), Hold On (Take unknown), Hold On (Take unknown), Hold On (Take unknown), Look At Me (Take unknown), Hold On (Take unknown), Hold On (Take unknown), Hold On (Take unknown), Hold On (Take unknown)

It’s Gonna Be Alright is the first of three exciting new releases on His Master’s Choice, a product of Yellow Dog records. Obviously a successor to The Dream Is Over (Pegboy PB 1006) produced by the Vigotone people in 1997, this new release collects together all of the relevant outtakes and alternate versions connected with John Lennon’s first solo album Plastic Ono Band. Previous releases with outtake material also include Studio Sessions One (Silent Sea SS 11), Artifacts III (Big Music 009) in 1995, After The Remaster (Masterfraction MFCD 008/009) in 1998, and Apple Acetate (Sweet Zapple SZ-202) in 2001. What is phenomenal about this release is that not only did they find previously unknown outtakes, but also there is no duplication between It’s Gonna Be Alright and Remember Lennon released on Yellow Dog earlier and which also contains previously uncirculated material.

The sound quality varies but is in general very good and clean sounding with the studio material at the end of the first disc and on disc two being crystal clear, well balanced, and has the immediacy as if it were recorded yesterday. The first track is an alternate mix of the first track of the album “Mother.” This is the basis of the final take but with a guitar strumming in the mix, a different vocal performance, and a longer fade with much more pain in Lennon’s voice. The next two tracks are perfect quality takes of the second song on the album “Hold On.” It starts and stops several times. “I Found Out (rough Carl Wolf mix)” is the same track that first surfaced on the Lost Lennon tapes and the following “Working Class Hero” is a censored version taken from an Australian vinyl copy.

The following two takes of “Remember” are taken from the Lennon Anthology but with a faster tempo rehearsal at the beginning. “It’ll Be Me” is an excellent quality outtake and a minute long cover of the Jerry Lee Lewis classic and is taken from the sessions that produced “God.” This is followed by another excellent quality rehearsal of Lennon playing “Love” on an acoustic guitar and ends in laughter. This leads into Lennon covering Elvis’ “Baby I Don’t Care” before another rehearsal of “Love” but with the piano holding the melody. “Well, Well, Well” and “Look At Me” are the final takes but with a different mix. “Well, Well, Well” differs from the commercial version because the bass is much lower in the mix and the guitar contains more distortion and “Look At Me” doesn’t have as much echo on the vocals.

The following two tracks are acoustic demos for “God.” The first sounds like an amateur home recording of the song with Lennon on acoustic guitar and singing the first verse (“God is a concept / by which we measure our pain”) and the “I don’t believe in…” section twice through. He sings “I don’t believe in Dylan” instead of “Zimmerman” and the track ends with him saying “etcetera.” The second track is again Lennon on acoustic guitar but this sounds like it was recorded in the studio. Lennon’s voice cracks as he sings the first verse and the “I don’t believe” list. The lines “I just believe in me / and that’s reality” are sung in the aggressive tone as the others instead of standing in contrast as it does on the final version.

“My Mummy’s Dead” is the full version containing a short guitar solo. The next four tracks are various takes of “Hold On.” All are recorded professionally in the studio in fantastic sound quality. The first take is much more up-tempo and happy sounding. The second take is slowed down and includes Lennon’s comments about his cramped wrist and complain to Ringo about the drummer’s timing. Ringo makes comments that are difficult to hear. Take 31 is an instrumental run through and this is followed by a take that serves as the basic track for the final version as it appears on Plastic Ono Band. The take of “Love” which follows is another outtake from the studio in excellent sound quality. It begins with Lennon saying, “I was thinking about me bum guitar note” and appears on the Lennon Anthology but without the reverb. The next “Love” has Lennon complaining about how stiff his guitar is and asks Yoko for another one. The second disc continues with many takes of “Love.”

The first contains bass, drums and piano and picks up in the middle of the song with Lennon straining his voice to hit the high notes. He adds pretty little piano ornaments to the melody that are not found on the final version. The second track begins with the engineer saying, “take twelve” and features acoustic guitar and piano. At the end Lennon asks “how was that?” The engineer honestly replies “shitty.” The second is introduced as by “Salmon and the Blue Funk Riders presenting ‘Love'”. There are various start and stops with one take having Lennon sing the song in faux French and complaints about the microphones on the guitars, labeled “Love (improvisation)” on this release. Take 14 breakdowns over discussion about the volume. Take 15 takes the song slower with Lennon speaking to the engineer wanting either a guitar strap, a bigger seat or the microphones lowered. Take 16 continues in the same vein with Lennon asking about the volume and the band practicing the arrangement.

Lennon sings the words and corrects his mistakes (“love is asking reaching….”) it ends with Lennon asking, “are you taking these? Oh you have been taking them! We didn’t know, did we?” Takes 17 dissolves into Lennon saying “that wasn’t as good as the other.” Take 19 begins with the instruction “Just play it straight, fucking pervert.” The disc ends with several takes of “Hold On” and just like the previous takes of “Love” are excellent quality studio outtakes. The tracks start and stop as the band adjust and learn the arrangement of the song. It’s Gonna Be Alright is packaged in a beautiful book with an interview with Dr. Janov, the founder of primal scream therapy, and some words from Lennon from the same era. (GS)

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John Lennon - It’s Gonna Be Alright (His Master’s Choice HMC002), 2.5 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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