John Lennon – You Should’A Been There Vol. 2…Rock ‘N’ Roll Sessions (Master Of Beatles Essentials MBE-DX 4003 C/V)

You Should’A Been There Vol. 2…Rock ‘N’ Roll Sessions
(Master Of Beatles Essentials MBE-DX 4003 C/V)

Disc 3: Rock N’ Roll sessions outtakes: Be My Baby, In The Studio (part 1), Just Because, You Can’t Catch Me, Sweet Little Sixteen, Bonie Moronie, Rip It Up/Ready Teddy, Ain’t That A Shame, Peggy Sue, In The Studio (part 2), Angel Baby, Since My Baby Left Me, To Know Her Is To Love Her, Bring It On Home To Me/Send Me Some Lovin’, When In Doubt Fuck It, Be My Baby (alternative), Here We Go Again (demo), Here We Go Again. Bonus tracks: Rock N Roll radio Spot, Salute to Sir Lew The Master showman (audience recordings), Slippin’ And Slidin’ (live), Stand By Me (live), Imagine (live), Slippin’ And Slidin’ (instrumental (OGWT), Lady Marmalade

DVD : Old Grey Whistle Test – BBC TV 1975: Stand By Me, Slippin’ And Slidin’. Salute to Sir Lew Grade – US TV 1975, Imagine (remastered live). Old Grey Whistle Test – BBC TV 1975: interview. Salute To Sir Lew/The master showman – US TV 1975: Slippin’ And Slidin’, Imagine (original TV live). DVD music section: DJ Winston O’Boogie plays the roots of rock and roll featuring the Rock N Roll album. Elton John featuring John Lennon live at Madison Square Garden, November 1974: I Saw Her Standing There (rehearsals), I Saw Her Standing There (Elton John single B-side), Whatever Gets You Through The Night, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, I Saw Her Standing There (John Lennon mix + Elton John mix) 

You Should’a Been There Vol. 2 is very simply the continuation of the massive amount of outtake and other material associated with Lennon’s Rock And Roll album. There is so much material because given the long gestation period between the project’s initial conception to final release (more than two years).

The first volume of MBE’s definitive version contains the pirate Rock And Roll released by Morris Levy and various outtakes and rehearsals from the farm in upstate New York. The bulk of vol. 2 focuses upon the initial sessions at A&M Studio in Los Angeles in October 1973 with Lennon working with producer Phil Spector. The tape lasts an hour, is in excellent quality, and consists of a very drunk Lennon making very witty (and some dumb) comments with Spector.

The bonus tracks on the audio disc is a short radio spot for the LP (some clips of the songs with Lennon’s voice saying “You Should’a Been There”). That is followed by a fair to good audience recording of Lennon’s appearance on the “Salute To Sir Lew” television special taped on April 18th, 1975 at the Wardorf-Astoria in New York for ABC television (broadcast in June of that year). This was Lennon’s final television performance and consists of two numbers from the Rock And Roll album and a good version of “Imagine” with some altered lyrics (“brotherhood and sisterhood of man”, “imagine no immigration”).

The version of “Slippin’ And Slidin'” following this is from “The Old Grey Whistle Test” but isn’t an instrumental as listed on the artwork. The final bonus track is a short tape of Lennon on Un jour futur taped on April 7th, 1975 and is he speaking in mock French and singing a bit of “Lady Marmalade”. Nothing very interesting. The DVD is really the most interesting part of this release.

It contains “The Old Grey Whistle” show presented in its original 4:3 ratio as per the television broadcast. Again excellent versions of “Slippin’ And Slidin'” and “Stand By Me”. The second track is a segment from the “Salute To Sir Lew” of Lennon singing, “Imagine” from an excellent and clear copy.

The interview from “Old Grey Whistle Test” is with Bob Harris and lasts for about eleven minutes with Lennon speaking about the Rock And Roll album (with no mention about the Morris Levy lawsuit), his attempts to gain his green card, his love of New York, and willingness to even reunite with the Beatles if the project were right. Again the picture quality is excellent and Lennon’s responses are nice and clear (Harris’ questions are a bit soft, but that’s him and not the tape anyway).

The final video part of the DVD contains a more complete version of the “Salute To Sir Lew” broadcast from a higher generation tape that is fair to good and still missing “Stand By Me”. The balance of the disc is audio only. The first hour is Lennon’s appearance on WNEW speaking about and playing the LP.

Finally is all of the material surrounding his final concert appearance with Elton John in excellent soundboard quality. I hoped, seeing it listed on the DVD, it would be footage of the event, but it is often circulated audiotape. Over the two MBE titles there is a lot of material collated and presented that it would take a while to describe everything.

The presentation is typical high MBE standard and is recommended. Most of the material on both volumes was previously released on Rock ‘N’ Roll Sessions Featuring The Jesse Ed Davis Tapes on Voxx (Voxx-002-01/02/03) released back in 2000. What MBE does offer is the DVD. My only complaint would be that the audio material on the DVD should have been on a regular CD. Perhaps this could have been a four disc set with bonus DVD? However everything sounds and looks as good as it can and this is the definitive edition of Lennon’s mid 1970’s activity. I hope MBE issue similar sets documenting Lennon’s other projects as comprehensively as they did with this.

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