You Should’A Been There…Vol. 1: Roots And Rehearsals (Master Of Beatles Essentials MBE-DX 4003A/B)
Disc 1: John Lennon Sings The Greatest Rock And Roll Hits…Roots: Be-Bop-A-Lulu, Ain’t That A Shame, Stand By Me, Sweet Little Sixteen, Rip It Up/Ready Teddy, Angel Baby, Do You Wanna Dance?, You Can’t Catch Me, Bony Moronie, Peggy Sue, Bring It On Home To Me/Send Me Some Lovin’, Slippin’ And Slidin’, Be My Baby, Ya Ya, Just Because. Bonus tracks: The Old Grey Whistle Test – 1975: Stand By Me (alternate stereo mix), Stand By Me (take 2), Slippin’ And Slidin’ (stereo mix), Stand By Me (broadcast version
Disc 2: Offline monitor mix: Be-Bop-A-Lulu, Ya Ya, Do You Wanna Dance? (intro), Do You Wanna Dance?, Stand By Me, Slippin’ And Slidin’, Rip It Up/Ready Teddy, Bring It On Home To Me/Send Me Some Lovin’ (version one), Bring It On Home To Me/Send Me Some Lovin’ (version two), Peggy Sue, Ain’t That A Shame. Sunnyview rehearsals in New York- October, 1974: Bring It On Home To Me/Send Me Some Lovin’, Ya Ya (intro), Ya Ya, That’ll Be The Day (take one), That’ll Be The Day (take two), Do You Wanna Dance?, Stand By Me, Peggy Sue, Be-Bop-A-Lulu, Slippin’ And Slidin’, guitar jam/Whole Lotta Love, Thirty Days, C’mon Everbody, Ain’t That A Shame (take one), Ain’t That A Shame (take two), Ain’t That A Shame (take three), Ain’t That A Shame (take four), jam intro, jam
MBE have with this, and with You Should’a Been There Vol. 2, released over three discs and one dvd the most comprehensive collection of material associated with John Lennon’s Rock And Roll sessions from 1974. The story behind this recording is one of the most interesting, complex and perplexing imaginable. It involves Lennon’s “lost weekend”, a lawsuit by Morris Levy, Phil Spector stealing master tapes, and lots of brandy alexanders. Add to this his continuing lawsuit with Paul, struggles with the INS and Richard Nixon and you wonder how he even kept his head together during this time. These recordings sound like an escape along with countless session musicians.
The first disc contains the entire John Lennon Sings The Great Rock And Roll Hits that was the first release of this material on Adam VIII mail order label. The plaintiff in the legal dispute with Lennon, Morris Levy, issued this against the wishes of Lennon and was quickly withdrawn. It was released in February, 1975 and only about 3,000 copies circulated before it stopped making it a collector’s item. The problem is these recordings were not ready for publication and that is obvious in listening to this. MBE found an excellent vinyl copy for their release and you can hear it in it’s unfinished glory.
The bonus tracks on the first disc contain Lennon’s recordings for The Old Grey Whistle Test recorded in New York in the spring of 1975. The stereo mix of “Stand By Me” has the guitar in the left channel and the vocals in the right. The second take sounds much better centered and enjoyable. The first half of disc two contain outtakes from the sessions in Los Angeles that were, from all reports, wild and undisciplined with a countless cast of musicians including Paul McCartney making an appearance. That unfortunately isn’t included here but what there is are Lennon working through the cuts that would eventually be polished for the Rock And Roll LP.
The second half of the disc are the rehearsals and recordings made at Levy’s upstate New York farm which are the orgin of his LP documented on the first disc of this set. The jams by the end are interesting including Lennon’s stab at Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”. All of the material is presented in very good studio quality. The Sunnyview rehearsals don’t differ much in quality from the final Roots album confirming his assesment of its inferiority. It is fun to listen to Lennon working out the classic inspirations for the Beatles in the first place and is probably a more authentic document for the early Get Back sessions. (GS)