Monday, October 06, 2008

Album Of The Day #77: ANTHOLOGY - John Lennon

Title: Anthology

Artist: John Lennon
Label: Capitol/EMI
Year: 1998
Recorded: 1968-1980
Ascot: Working Class Hero/God/I Found Out/Hold On/Isolation/Love/Mother/Remember/Imagine/ ‘Fortunately’/Well (Baby Please Don't Go) [Walter Ward]/Oh My Love [John Lennon & Yoko Ono]/Jealous Guy/Maggie Mae [traditional, arranged by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison & Richard Starkey]/How Do You Sleep?/God Save Oz [John Lennon & Yoko Ono]/Do The Oz [John Lennon & Yoko Ono]/I Don't Want To Be A Soldier/Give Peace A Chance/Look At Me/Long Lost John [traditional arranged by John Lennon]
New York City: New York City/Attica State (live) [John Lennon & Yoko Ono]/Imagine (live)/Bring On The Lucie (Freda Peeple)/Woman Is The Nigger of The World [John Lennon & Yoko Ono]/Geraldo Rivera - One to One Concert/Woman Is The Nigger of The World (live) [John Lennon & Yoko Ono]/It's So Hard (live)/Come Together (live) [John Lennon & Paul McCartney]/Happy Xmas (War Is Over) [John Lennon & Yoko Ono]/Luck Of The Irish (live) [John Lennon & Yoko Ono]/John Sinclair (live)/The David Frost Show/Mind Games (I Promise)/Mind Games (Make Love, Not War)/One Day At A Time/I Know/I'm The Greatest/Goodnight Vienna/Jerry Lewis Telethon/'A Kiss Is Just A Kiss’ [Herman Hupfield]/Real Love/You Are Here
The Lost Weekend: What You Got/Nobody Loves You (When You're Down And Out)/Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (home)/Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (studio)/Yesterday [John Lennon & Paul McCartney]/Be Bop A Lula [Gene Vincent & Tex Davis]/Rip It Up/Ready Teddy [Robert Blackwell & John Marascalco]/Scared/Steel And Glass/Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird of Paradox)/Bless You/Going Down On Love/Move Over Ms. L/Ain't She Sweet [Yellen & Ager]/Slippin' And Slidin' [Richard Penniman, Bocage, Collins & Smith]/Peggy Sue [Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly & Norman Petty]/Bring It On Home To Me/Send Me Some Lovin' [Sam Cooke & Lloyd Price]/Phil and John 1/Phil and John 2/Phil and John 3/'When In Doubt, Fuck It'/Be My Baby [Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry] /Stranger's Room/Old Dirt Road [John Lennon & Harry Nilsson]
Dakota: I'm Losing You/Sean's 'Little Help/Serve Yourself/My Life/Nobody Told Me/Life Begins At 40/I Don't Wanna Face It/Woman/Dear Yoko/Watching The Wheels/I'm Stepping Out /Borrowed Time/The Rishi Kesh Song/Sean's 'Loud/Beautiful Boy/Mr. Hyde's Gone (Don't Be Afraid)/Only You [Ande Rand & Buck Ram]/Grow Old With Me/Dear John/The Great Wok/Mucho Mungo/Satire 1/Satire 2/Satire 3/Sean's "In The Sky"/It's Real
Written by: John Lennon, except where noted
Produced by: Yoko Ono and Rob Stevens
Original Recordings Produced by: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Phil Spector, Richard Perry and Jack Douglas
Thoughts: Ninety-four tracks spread over four discs that cover an entire decade. Sure, most of the stuff here is just home demos, loose jams, terrible live recordings and alternate studio takes, but it does provide an accurate portrait of John Lennon, warts and all. Of course, if you don't have all of his studio albums, you have no right (or probably interest) in purchasing this box set, but if you love John, you have to get this. The issues I have with the set are minor sequencing issues. Although most of it does follow a strict chronological timeline, there are at least a few issues on each disc. On "Ascot", the last three tracks, the "Give Peace A Chance" outtake, the "Look At Me" take and "Long Lost John" should all be before the Imagine sessions, but Yoko used them to end the disc. The "New York City" disc's problem is having the "You Are Here" take far removed from the Mind Games sessions. John's "Goodnight Vienna" demo should also be on the "The Lost Weekend" disc, which oddly places the tumultuous Phil Spector Rock 'N' Roll sessions after the Walls And Bridges sessions, despite being recorded before Walls And Bridges. There is no obvious descretion between the John Lennon-helmed Rock 'N' Roll sessions and the Phil Spector ones. (Which isn't terrible, since John used such a Spector-ized production technique, that on the LP, you could only tell the difference by looking at the liner notes.) The problem with "Dakota" is the oddly-placed demo of "Only You (And You Alone)" for Ringo. That should also, along with "Goodnight Vienna", be with "The Lost Weekend" tracks. "Stranger's Room", the demo of "I'm Losing You" is also misplaced, stuck between a Rock 'N' Roll and Walls And Bridges outtake.
The hardest disc to listen to is probably the "Dakota" disc, which fearlessly switches from studio-takes to home demos. This provides for a really wierd listening experience and it also shows how insane John was going with his self-inflicted "house-husband" exile. Now, I give John kudos for not trying to make the same mistake he did with Julian to Sean, but really, at some point Yoko should have said, "Honey, you're going nuts." Listen to the three "Satire" tracks, where he's jsut strumming a guitar and reading newspaper headlines. I think Yoko made a mistake putting these at the end, since it leaves you with a feeling that John was nuts in his later days, but he wasn't. He was happy, which you can hear from the Double Fantasy/Milk And Honey sessions that start the disc.
Rating: 7/10
Now, I give it that rating because it doesn't provide for a really fun listening experience. Essentially, it's just a set of random alternate versions. It gives you a sense of who John was, but I'd rather get that from his finished solo albums.

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