Well .. Well .. Sleeping In To A New York City Step (Godfather Records GR 484 / 485)
Despite the Lennon archives being well mined particularly in the shadow of the Westwood One, Yoko Ono authorised radio show “The Lost Lennon Tapes” that were subsequently bootlegged by Bag Records then on CD by european bootlegger Walrus Records & various American Vigotone releases who picked from various un-broadcast Lennon tapes that came from the batches of high end collectors (and as legend might suggest from John’s own personal archives as he would sometimes swop tapes & LPs with other collectors) interspersed with tracks from the transcript disks of the very same Westwood One shows from their hey days then there are numerous odds & ends compilations that have appeared over the years not to mention the official & expensive “Anthology” box set which as it turned out was severely edited & watered down for public consumption.
Very few seem to exist to appeal to entry level Lennon collectors & if you’re used to studio quality recordings of the Fabs & solo Fabs then ultimately you may feel disappointed by the sonics from your CDs & wouldn’t be too keen to hear many more of these rarities. Hardcore collectors will obviously live to dissect the various raggle – taggle oddities that appear but would like something to “throw on” just to listen to for pleasure.
This is Godfathers first foray in the murky depths of Solo Lennon & again, as is regular, it’s a hotch potch of various oddities, rarities & John’s goonish skits. the first thing that you’ll recognise as you work your way through this set is that it really is just like an old fashioned compilation – think back as far as Bag’s “Lost Lennon Tapes” vinyl compilations or Vigotones early produce and you have the idea – especially as the liner notes to this CD point out that these tracks are taken from the Lost Lennon stash themselves. They’re mostly sourced from what sounds like sections that were taped from the radio rather than lifted from the transcription disks themselves sometimes making for a sound that’s akin to bad noise reduction or old VHS video.
Here’s a break down of tracks & sources [ Where Identifiable ] ;
1. Untitled Jam : A ragged strumble of nothingness from the Imagine album sessions. A curious novelty but nothing musically. [ Video Dub ]
2. Jealous Guy : A video outtake from the Imagine sessions with rough vocal. From “Imagine .. All The Outtakes” [ Vigotone ]
3. Well, Well, Well : Live from New York City. Not much difference to the CV. A pirated track.
4. Oh, My Love : Another video take from the Imagine sessions. Starts abruptly at beginning. [ The Lost Lennon Tapes ]
5. Cold Turkey : Live rehearsal from Butterfly Studios, August 18th 1972 with Elephants Memory. From Oranges CD “One To One Rehearsals Vol. 2″
6.Beautiful Boy : Home demo from Bermuda with electric guitar & drum machine. Again, it’s an awful listen with Johns voice FAR too low in the mix & at the end when John starts playing with various choppy rhythms on the guitar. From “The Lost Lennon Tapes” [ Bag LP ]
7. Hound Dog / Long Tall Sally : Rehearsal at Butterfly Studios, 21st August 1972 – Originally featured on the Japanese boot “Lennon Renumbers”
8. I’m Losing You. Studio rehearsal with Cheap Trick. Tight mono sound like AM radio. From “Hidden Archives” [ Fire Power ]
9. Yer Blues : Rock & Roll Circus rehearsal – This is one of the better tracks featuring fuller, brighter sound. Stinging guitar lines from guest Eric Clapton. John’s vocals almost inaudible. First booted on the “Lost Lennon Tapes Vol. 24″ [ Bag LP ]
10. God : Acoustic Home demo from Pegboy’s “The Dream Is Over” – starts with a spoken word message & plenty of ad-libbing through out.
11. Come Together : From Live from New York City. A very spirited version of this Beatles classic. Pirated Track
12. Watching the Wheels : Home rehearsal from the Dakota. Starts with a breakdown, a little chat with Yoko & then back to the rehearsal proper. Originally broadcast on show 88-25/1 of the Lost Lennon Tapes radio. Sounds muffled. not one of the better recordings. From The Lost Lennon Tapes Vol. 7 [ Bag LP ]
13. I’m The Greatest : 1973 Studio rehearsal from “Something Precious & Rare” [ Vigotone VT – 07 ]
14. Oh Yoko : Take 9. Imagine Session Outtake. Not a great deal different to the released track. From “Imagine .. All The Outtakes” [ Vigotone ]
15. Imagine : Live take on electric piano John shouts out “Hello, is the mike on?” at the very beginning. ( Unknown )
16. I’m Stepping Out : Fades in after the start. Studio run through. [ The Lost Lennon Tapes ]
17. Power To The People : Studio rehearsal / Rough mix – From “The Lost Lennon Tapes Vol. 18″ [ Bag Records LP ]
18. Give Peace A Chance : Live from New York City. Pirated Track.
19. When A Boy Meets A Girl : Acoustic guitar demo that was recorded around the time of the P.O.B. album but never used. From “The Dream Is Over” ( Pegboy )
20. Mind Games : Unidentified rough mix. No particular difference from the CV.
1. Cold Turkey : Acoustic guitar home demo with over dubs. John apes Yoko’s voice. Vocals have been over dubbed in parts. “The Lost Lennon Tapes Vol. 6″ ( Bag Records LP )
2. Jealous Guy : Vinyl sourced alternate take with strings. short count in. Possibly from “The Lost Lennon Tapes Vol. 5″ ( Bag Records )
3. Woman Is The Nigger Of The World : NYC rehearsal from “One To One Rehearsals Vol. 1″ [ Orange CD ]
4. Club Dakota Rap / Across The River : from the “J9″ medley.The track listing should also include “Memories ( Howling At The Moon )” as a very brief excerpt can be heard in the medley. At the beginning John can be heard beat boxing – possibly inspired by sounds that he’d heard in NYC around that time? [ “Look At Me” – Vigotone ]
5. (Just Like) Starting Over : Starts with 50 seconds of studio run through & rehearsals. This is take one believe it or not as it’s very close to the finished product. [ The Lost Lennon Tapes ]
6. Mother : Live from New York City. Pirated Track
7. Instant Karma : TOTP recording possibley from the “Cue Card” Recording. [ Video Track ]
8. I Don’t Want To Face It : Acoustic home recording from the Dakota. The track was also demoed in Bermuda but this is much better clarity wise. [ “The Lost Lennon Tapes Vol. 23″ – Bag Records LP ]
9. Intuition : Rough Mix – originally booted on “Mind Games Alternates & Demos” [ Howdy ]
10. Imagine : Another live take on Electric piano .. [ Unidentified ]
11. How Do You Sleep? : Long Studio Rehearsal (7:36). lots of radio noise. Taken from “Imagine .. All The Outtakes” [ Vigotone VT 120 ]
12. Dear Yoko : Bermuda Demo – A Buddy Holly styled acoustic track. Missing Spoken introduction [ From “The Lost Lennon Tapes Vol. 7″ – Bag Records LP ]
13. Rock & Roll People : early “Mind Games” rehearsal. [ Unidentified ]
14. Too Much Monkey Business : A Home demo from around 1977 – 1978 twinned with a pastiche of Bob Dylans “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. First released on CD on “Lennon Renumbers”
15. Ain’t That A Shame? : Jam session for the recording of “Some Time In New York City” – Originally released on S.I.R. John Winston Ono Lennon [ Moonlight ML 9506 ]
16. Come Together : rehearsal with Elephants Memory band. From “One To One Rehearsals” [ Orange ]
17. The Worst Is Over : (Just Like) Starting Over. Acoustic Guitar / Drum Machine demo from the Dakota – Originally released on “Hidden Archives” [ Fire Power ]
18. Give Me Some Truth : Alternate vocal from the Imagine sessions – Originally released on “Imagine .. All The Outtakes” [ Vigotone ]
19. Beautiful Boy : Early drum box demo. John’s voice almost inaudible at points. Belongs to the same medley as track 4 on this disk. From “Look At Me” – [ Vigotone ]
20. I Saw Her Standing There : Studio rehearsal with Elton John but doesn’t include Johns spoken word into (“Bootleg number 5069″) [ Lost Lennon Tapes ]
21. I Watch Your Face : Acoustic Bermuda demo. Another unreleased track. Possibly for a good reason as a lot this is John trying to work out the chords & it does sometimes make for painful listening. [ “The Lost Lennon Tapes Vol. 22″ Bag records LP ]
22. Stand By Me : Rehearsal in the studio for the “Rock ‘N’ Roll” album. no real difference again to the released version. The beginning is slightly clipped & it ends abruptly. [ Unidentified ]
23. New York City : Live From New York City. Another Pirated track.
Bottom line – almost like Yoko Ono Godfather could have had their pick of numerous Lennon tapes but seem to have skipped the best for a lot of regular titles & uninteresting takes especially using a lot of sub standard audio recordings. We’ve come to expect a lot from this fine label in the past but with this release they’ve taken the wrong route.
A little more consideration for quality & interesting items could go a long way for example they could have mined any of the recent Yellow Dog / HMC releases, a good number of the old Vigotone releases (with that label having been busted in 2001 then their releases on silver disk would have been a nice addition to a lot of new collectors archives. The live tracks should have been given the flick too with more attention given to more album tracks. The packaging is the best thing i can say about this set with many rare photos being used as the pack includes a brief & intelligent introductory essay by Audacious Ensconce.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)