Monday, December 17, 2018

John Lennon - 1969 - Lost Home Tapes 1965-1969

John Lennon
Lost Home Tapes 1965-1969

Misterclaudel MCCD-123/124

Private Home Tape
101. He Said, He Said
102. She Said, She Said
103. Hold On, I'm Coming
104. Mr. Moonlight
105. Mellotron Music No. 1
106. Mellotron Music No. 2
107. Mellotron Music No. 3
108. Mellotron Music No. 4
109. Mellotron Music No. 5
110. We Can Work It Out/Lucy From Littletown
111. Down In Cuba
112. Pedro The Fisherman
113. Chi-Chi's
114. Daddy's Little Sunshine Boy
115. Stranger In My Arms
The 'Good Morning, Good Morning' Tape (January-February 1967)
116. Piano Songs 1 And 2
117. Testing The Equipment No. 1
118. Good Morning, Good Morning/Testing The Equipment No. 2/There's A Blue Ridge 'Round My Heart/Mellotron Rhythm/Mellotron Drones And Cacophony
The 'Cry Baby Cry' Tapes
119. Guitar Jam
120. Mellotron Noises And Babbling
121. Cry Baby Cry/Guitar Instrumental
122. Piano Instrumental/Laughing Eyes
123. Piano Waltz/Listening To Records
124. Cry Baby Cry/Across The Universe
125. Drone And Cueing Tapes

Private Home Tape
201. Nothing But Hold Tight/Hey Bulldog/Hey Bulldog/Hey Bulldog/Set Me Free/Across The Universe/Piano Instrumental
202. She's Walking Past My Door/You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
The 'Julia' Rehearsal Tapes
203. Julia (False Start)/Julia (Guitar Track)
204. Julia (False Start)/Julia (Vocal Overdub)
205. Julia (Vocal And Guitar Overdub)/Julia (Playbacks)
206. The Maharishi Song
The 'Oh My Love' Rehearsal Tape
207. Oh My Love (Acoustic Guitar Demo)/Oh My Love (Acoustic Guitar Demo)/Oh My Love (A Capella Demo)/Oh My Love (A Capella Demo)/Oh My Love (Acoustic Guitar Demo)
208. A Case Of The Blues
209. I've Got A Feeling
210. Don't Let Me Down
211. Don't Let Me Down
212. I've Got A Feeling
213. I Want You

Well….here’s one you absolutely need!

John Lennon’s Beatles era Home Demos updated and revised to include new and lengthened home demos from 1965–1969. Kudos to Misterclaudel for releasing to the collector new and expanded demo tracks we’ve only read about in Sulpy’s “Guide” book.

The problem here is the enjoyability factor….or lack of. It’s a tough CD to sit through compared to the latest home demo set John Lennon At Home from the His Master’s Choice Label. This set does have two new items that are pleasant and bearable. One track called “Hold On I’m Coming” which is no more than a sketch of an idea that John abandoned and a misplaced yet pleasant “Mr. Moonlight” that post-dates this era. Complete with typing in the background. The rest are made up of new to bootleg stoned out mellotron experiments, John’s attempts at comedy and extended demos that are incomplete workouts. Sound quality is just above bearable on most of these tracks. I was only able to sit through most of these once. At times, once was more than enough. The rest are familiar to collectors. Some are extended, but the sound quality is no better than previous shortened versions that have been available. They’ve even sourced some tracks from old bootleg vinyl! I was also hoping for the inclusion of other home demos, such as the previously released (on bootleg) “I’m In Love”, to round it out.

Disc one is the hardest to sit through in terms of listenability, quality but it’s where you’ll find “Hold On I’m Coming” and “Mr. Moonlight” Otherwise, most of it’s hard to tolerate in one sitting. The second disc has some interest and contains more fleshed out ideas. These are more like the working tapes we’ve become used to from his post-Beatles home demos and “Julia and bits of “Oh My Love”(that contains new to bootleg expanded tracks — but you’ll skip through the Yoko part believe me. Thank god for this song having lots hiss!) and Don’t Let Me Down” perked me up. (Track lists below)

Historically, this set puts the working mind of John Lennon during his psychedelic Beatles years into a historical perspective, but it also shows how bringing these ideas to fruition, he needed the Beatles as a whole, to become the masterpieces they became.

14 out of these collective 38 tracks are previously unreleased or longer than previous sources. The sound quality is excellent and the material is both entertaining and compelling.  There are a myriad of choices of exhaustive Lennon sessions out there for the taking including: ‘Archives’ Volumes 1-8 on AZIA Records [JLBUT 0301 – 0308], ‘Lost Lennon Tapes’ Westwood One Broadcasts [wo 001 – 218], ‘The Complete Lost Lennon Tapes’ Vol. 1 – 22 on Walrus Records [Walrus 001 – 36], ‘The Lost Lennon Tapes’ Vol. 01 – 11 on Living Legend [LLRDC 045 – 143], ‘Journals (Part 1) 1968 – 1974’ + ‘Journals (Part 2) 1972 – 1980’ on Cedrem Sound Lab [CD 121-130] just for starters.

MCCD-123 starts off with the [Private Home Tape] segment featuring short takes of “She Said She Said”. The real pleaser is the extended softer sounding and more romantic “Mr. Moonlight” featuring more of a guitar instrumental. “Mellotrone Music No. 4” + “Mellotron Music No. 5” are the most enjoyable of those sessions that fade gently and lend to an assortment of moods. The smooth vocals for “We Can Work It Out” sound like signature McCartney, surprisingly. The 2:07 minute “Down In Cuba” is simply a scream. Lennon’s satiric sense of humor shines in the 1:06 minute “Pedro The Fisherman”. The 3:28 minute “Chi-Chi’s” offers more Lennon stand-up comedy where he has absolutely gone mad but it is hysterical and totally entertaining. “Stranger In My Arms” sounds like an Elvis parody that shockingly works with Lennon milking it all the way.

[The “Good Morning, Good Morning” Tape (January – February, 1967)] includes an interesting take of “Good Morning, Good Morning” (track #18). The “Mellotrone Rhythms” + “Mellotrone Drones and Cacophony” pieces sound very similar to “Revolution 9” on the ‘White Album’.

[The “Cry Baby Cry” Tapes] kicks off with a very interesting 3:00 minute rhythm guitar jam, “Guitar Jam”, mimics portions of Zeppelin’s “White Summer”. The middle to latter part of “Mellotrone Noise and Babbling” + “Noise Redux” are fascinating as Lennon is working through the evolution of “Cry Baby Cry”. It’s raw but powerful and this 6:17 minute track certainly has its moments. “Cry Baby Cry” – “Across The Universe” (track #24) is the most recognizable with Lennon’s lyrical accompaniment and a gem to have due to this extended source.

MCCD-124 [Private Home Tape] includes a 2:04 minute “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)”. [The “Julia” Rehearsal Tapes] begin with a precious guitar instrumental of “Julia” that is classic. I don’t believe Lennon was ever able to “match” the effectiveness of his guitar playing when mixing it vocally. On [The “Oh My Love” Rehearsal Tape], “A Case Of the Blues” sounds like “Glass Onion” from the ‘White Album’. The guitar accompaniment for “I’ve Got A Feeling” (track #9) parallels that from “Julia’. You can have the lyrics on “I Want You”. The guitar, however, sounds a bit haunting. The impromptu back + forth lyrical exchanges/banter between John + Yoko reveal Lennon’s more natural gift as a lyricist. Yoko just can’t keep up.

MCCD-123/124 includes attractive glossy inserts and is housed in a slip case with itemized track listings on the back but no liner notes. The fidelity, once again, is excellent overall and the gain is exceptional.

Does it come highly recommended? Well….sort of.

John Lennon - 1969 - Live Peace In Toronto

John Lennon
Live Peace In Toronto

01. Blue Suede Shoes
02. Money
03. Dizzy Miss Lizzie
04. Yer Blues
05. Cold Turkey
06. Give Peace A Chance
07. Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow)
08. John, John (Let's Hope For Peace)

Released: 12 December 1969

John Lennon: vocals, electric guitar
Yoko Ono: vocals
Eric Clapton: backing vocals, electric guitar
Klaus Voormann: bass guitar
Alan White: drums

Recorded at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival festival, Live Peace In Toronto 1969 marked the public debut of the hastily-assembled Plastic Ono Band.

The public is starved for music from the Big Three of rock and roll — an album and maybe a single a year isn’t enough, and the rest of the musicians on both sides of the Atlantic are not providing enough excitement on their own to let us take what we get from Dylan, the Stones and the Beatles and be satisfied. We want more, and as the slogan goes, “find a hole and fill it,” and thus it’s being filled up fast.

Of the two new Dylan pirate albums, John Birch has much better fidelity than the original Great White Wonder set, while Stealin’ sounds just fine. LIVE r Than You’ll Ever Be, the album of the Stones’ Oakland performance, is superb. It almost begins to make one think that in at least one case these are really “pirate” tapes — that is, stolen, from Columbia’s vaults. Live Peace in Toronto 1969, by John, Eric, Yoko and friends, was bootlegged for a short time in Michigan, but Apple has put out the real thing, a sort of John Lennon Tour Through the History of Rock and Roll, and it’s more fun than anything he’s done in a long while, with a great deal more vitality than Abbey Road, in fact.

In a way, the bootleg phenomena may well force artists to respond to what the public wants — or lose a lot of bread. One obvious way to squelch the Great White Wonder album, without arousing any bad feelings, would have been to issue the basement tape; the way to kill the new live Stones’ album would be to release a similar LP that was even better.

There are at least two reasons why this isn’t happening. First of all, an artist is supposed to be able to select what he wants to release to the public, regardless of what his record company, or the public, thinks it wants; and secondly, it’s never too good an idea to flood the market with too much good stuff. Or is it? That’s how the Beatles barnstormed their way into our hearts — albums all over the place, singles onetwothreefourfive on the charts.

But the bootleggers might well force more albums out of the Stones and Dylan, in particular. They might also have an opposite result: the Beatles, the Stones, and Dylan might decide that it just isn’t worth it to go on the road if any and perhaps every performance is going to be covered and released by the local bootleg squad, without concern for their knowledge, consent, artistic control or financial prerogatives.

John Lennon is the one man who seems to have escaped this dilemma without much trouble at all. With Abbey Road; Two Virgins; Life With the Lions; “Give Peace a Chance”; rock and roll’s first day-after-Thanksgiving single, “Cold Turkey”; The Wedding Album; and now Live Peace, he and Yoko are simply documenting their careers, musical and personal, with a total abandonment of privacy and complete genuflection to The Public. It’s hard to think of something newsworthy that John has done in the past year that has not been set down, in one way or another, on record. Whatever else you might want to say, they’re not holding much back. Except Get Back; but that is exactly the point; with an LP as good as Live Peace to play, we can wait for the next one

Lennon had been invited to the festival on 12 September 1969 by promoter John Brower. To Brower's surprise Lennon accepted the offer, on the condition that he be allowed to perform at the event. Sales for the festival had proved sluggish, and Brower naturally accepted without hesitation.

"We got this phone call on a Friday night that there was a rock'n'roll revival show in Toronto with a 100,000 audience, or whatever it was, and that Chuck was going to be there and Jerry Lee and all the great rockers that were still living, and Bo Diddley, and supposedly The Doors were top of the bill. They were inviting us as king and queen to preside over it, not play – but I didn't hear that bit. I said, 'Just give me time to get a band together,' and we went the next morning."
John Lennon, 1969

The Beatles had little enthusiasm for performing live at that point, so Lennon was forced to hastily assemble a live band. His invitation to George Harrison was turned down, but Eric Clapton accepted, as did bassist Klaus Voormann and drummer Alan White.

On the morning of 13 September Voormann, White, Allen Klein, Mal Evans and Lennon's assistant Anthony Fawcett all convened at London Airport, but Lennon, Ono and Clapton were nowhere to be seen. It transpired Lennon and Ono had elected to stay in bed, and that Clapton was unaware of the plans.

The guitarist was called by John Brower, who told him: "Eric, you may not remember me, but I'm the promoter who lost $20,000 on your Blind Faith show last month. Please call John Lennon, and tell him he must do this or I will get on a plane, come to his house, and live with him, because I will be ruined."

Brower's plea worked, and Lennon reluctantly agreed to join Clapton. The party left for Toronto on Air Canada flight 124, with Lennon, Ono and Clapton in first class while the rest flew in economy.

During the flight the Plastic Ono Band eventually convened and assembled a set, although the musicians had trouble hearing their guitars above the noise of the engines.

"Now we didn't know what to play, because we'd never played together before, the band. And on the aeroplane we're running through these oldies, so the rehearsal for the record, which turned into not a bad record, was on the plane, with electric guitars – not even acoustic, you couldn't hear."
John Lennon

During the flight Lennon also revealed his decision to leave The Beatles.

"We were in Apple and I knew before I went to Toronto, I told Allen [Klein] I was leaving. I told Eric Clapton and Klaus that I was leaving and I'd like to probably use them as a group. I hadn't decided how to do it, to have a permanent new group or what. And then later on I thought, 'Fuck it, I'm not going to get stuck with another set of people, whoever they are.' So I announced it to myself and to the people around me on the way to Toronto the few days before. On the plane Allen came with me, and I told him, 'It's over.'"
John Lennon, 1970
Lennon Remembers, Jann S Wenner

Upon their arrival in Toronto, the group was driven to Varsity Stadium. They arrived at the backstage area at approximately 10pm, escorted by 80 motorcycles from the Toronto Vagabonds, and remained in their dressing room until they were announced by compère Kim Fowley at around midnight.

John Lennon led the group through six songs: Blue Suede Shoes, Money (That's What I Want), Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Yer Blues, Cold Turkey and Give Peace A Chance. He later revealed that he was addicted to heroin at the time.

"We were full of junk too. I just threw up for hours till I went on. I nearly threw up in Cold Turkey – I had a review in Rolling Stone about the film of it – which I haven't seen yet, and they're saying, 'I was this and that.' And I was throwing up nearly in the number. I could hardly sing any of them, I was full of shit."
John Lennon, 1970
Lennon Remembers, Jann S Wenner

If the first half of the concert was led by John Lennon, the second was Yoko Ono's. The crowd's reaction to Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow) and John, John (Let's Hope For Peace) was divided, with some people booing her performance.

"Yoko did a number, which was half rock and half madness, and it really freaked them out. We finished with Yoko's number, because you can't go anywhere after you've reached that sort of pitch. You can't go 'Ji-jing' like The Beatles and bow at the end of screaming and 50 watts of feedback. So, after Yoko had been on for about a quarter of an hour, we all left our amps on going like the clappers and had a smoke on the stage. Then, when they stopped, the whole crowd was chanting Give Peace A Chance. It looks like this is going to be the Plastic Ono Band in the future."
John Lennon, 1969

The first song was based around a blues guitar riff played by Lennon and Eric Clapton, with Ono improvising over the top. The Plastic Ono Band recorded a studio version shortly after the concert, which was issued as the b-side to Cold Turkey.

John, John (Let's Hope For Peace) was more avant-garde. The composition had appeared on Lennon and Ono's Wedding Album earlier in 1969, but the audience evidently didn't know what to make of the freeform performance with little or no structure.

"At the end of John, John all the boys placed their guitars against the speakers of their amps and walked to the back of the stage. Because they had already started the feed-back process, the sound continued while John, Klaus, Alan and Eric grouped together and lit ciggies. Then I went on and led them off-stage. Finally I walked on again and switched off their amps one by one."
Mal Evans

On 25 September 1969 Lennon mixed the eight-track tapes from the festival performance, producing the stereo master tape between 10am and 1.45pm. A new stereo mix of Don't Worry Kyoko was made on 20 October to replace his previous effort.

Lennon elected to remove most of Ono's vocals from his performances, although they can be heard to their full effect on DA Pennebaker's film of the concert.

Live Peace In Toronto 1969 was issued on vinyl on 12 December. The rock 'n' roll songs featured on side one, with Ono's songs taking up the second half. A 1970 calendar was also included with initial pressings, with stapled, wire spiral or plastic comb bindings.

The album failed to chart in the UK, although it reached number 10 in the US and was certified gold.

"We tried to put it out on Capitol, and Capitol didn't want to put it out. They said, 'This is garbage, we're not going to put it out with her screaming on one side and you doing this sort of live stuff.' And they just refused to put it out. But we finally persuaded them that, you know, people might buy this. Of course, it went gold the next day.
And then, the funny thing was – this is a side story – Klein had got a deal on that record that it was a John and Yoko Plastic Ono record, not a Beatles record, so we could get a higher royalty, because The Beatles' royalties were so low – they'd been locked in '63 – and Capitol said, 'Sure you can have it,' you know. Nobody's going to buy that crap. They just threw it away and gave it us. And it came out, and it was fairly successful and it went gold. I don't know what chart position, but I've got a gold record somewhere that says... And four years later, we go to collect the royalties, and you know what they say? 'This is a Beatle record.' So Capitol have it in my file under Beatle records. Isn't it incredible?"

John Lennon, 1980

Although one of the world's best-kept secrets at the time, this was John Lennon's declaration of independence from the Beatles, the document of a concert appearance at Toronto's Rock and Roll Revival festival about a month after the conclusion of the Abbey Road sessions. Thrown together literally on the wing (they rehearsed only on the flight from England), the ad-hoc band consisting of Lennon, Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton on guitar, Klaus Voorman on bass, and Alan White on drums hit the stage to the surprise and delight of the thousands who packed Varsity Stadium. "We're just going to do numbers we know, you know, because we've never played together before," confesses John, who was reportedly extremely nervous before going on. But the repertoire ought to have been a cakewalk for a quartet of seasoned rockers -- blues-based oldies ("Blue Suede Shoes," "Money," "Dizzy Miss Lizzie") and basic recent Lennon numbers ("Yer Blues," "Cold Turkey," "Give Peace a Chance") -- and they lay it down in a dignified, noisy, glorified garage band manner. Lennon is in fine vocal form, confident and funny despite his frequent apologies, while Yoko confines her caterwauling to "Cold Turkey." That was side one of the original LP. Side two, alas, was devoted entirely to Ono's wailing, pitchless, brainless, banshee vocalizing on "Don't Worry Kyoko" and "John John (Let's Hope for Peace)" -- the former backed with plodding rock rhythms and the latter with feedback. No wonder you see many used copies of the LP with worn A-sides and clean, unplayed B-sides -- and Yoko's "art" is just as irritating today as it was in 1969. But in those days, if you wanted John you had to take the whole package.

Live Peace In Toronto 1969 Audience 
(Misterclaudel mccd-029)

Varsity Stadium, Toronto, ON, Canada – September 13th, 1969

01. Introduction
02. Blue Suede Shoes
03. Money
04. Dizzy Miss Lizzy
05. Yer Blues, Cold Turkey
06. Give Peace A Chance
07. Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s only looking for her hand in the snow)
08. John John (Let’s Hope For Peace) 

Of the four Beatles, John Lennon has the fewest number of live appearances as a solo artist and only two with the Plastic Ono Band. The story behind this appearance in Toronto is well known. Not having a real band, Lennon hastily recuits Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman and Alan White and rehearses on the plane going to the concert. The Rock And Roll Revival was meant to be a showcase for the artists from the 1950’s like Chuck Berry and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and an appearance by The Doors.

But the show is chiefly known for Alice Cooper and the chicken incident, and John Lennon’s forty minute set. Review:The results are pretty good given the circumstances. “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Money” are performed very slow. “Yer Blues”, while not as confident a delivery as on the Rock And Roll Circus from December 1968 is pretty good nonetheless. “Cold Turkey” on the other hand sounds very sloppy here. The latter half of the set, with Yoko Ono’s two songs “Don’t Worry” and “John, John” have been target for many vicious attacks. I have to admit that I liked her contribution.

The final track in particular “John, John” is twelve minutes of mostly guitar feedback which doesn’t sound much different than King Crimson in the Lark’s Tongues era. Her screaching in the first half of the set is a bit much to take but it does work in the second half. Misterclaudel have issued an excellent audience recording of the event. They didn’t use a tape source for this as that is probably no longer available.

This was one of the earliest bootlegs, coming out soon after Great White Wonder and Live’r, but was made obsolete by the Apple release. The vinyl copy they used is very good with only hints of surface noise and the occasional pop and crack. But overall this is a great sounding, front row recording with the emphasis upon Lennon’s vocals and we can enjoy the show without the final mixing evident on the official Apple release.