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My Sentimental Journey
21 May 2014
3.23pm
vonbontee
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trcanberra said

  He says he was tempted to remix the album, based on the new version of My Sweet Lord I'm glad he didn't.

In theory, I'm glad he didn't do that, as well, because I really dislike musicians being revisionist in that way. On the other hand, I do wish we could hear what it sounded like without all that bloody echo Phil Spector layered on top – it really makes the record a more exhausting listen than it should be. (Or more exhausting than I'd like it to be, anyways.)

Strangely, the sound of the album plus the Friar Park lawn on the cover always paint in my mind a picture of the album actually being recorded at Friar Park! In a huge empty cavernous hall with stone walls (of sound).

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trcanberra
I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
22 May 2014
9.17pm
trcanberra
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vonbontee said

trcanberra said

  He says he was tempted to remix the album, based on the new version of My Sweet Lord I'm glad he didn't.

In theory, I'm glad he didn't do that, as well, because I really dislike musicians being revisionist in that way. On the other hand, I do wish we could hear what it sounded like without all that bloody echo Phil Spector layered on top – it really makes the record a more exhausting listen than it should be. (Or more exhausting than I'd like it to be, anyways.)

Strangely, the sound of the album plus the Friar Park lawn on the cover always paint in my mind a picture of the album actually being recorded at Friar Park! In a huge empty cavernous hall with stone walls (of sound).

Do you think the remaster has the same issues?  George comments on removing some of the reverb and from what I vaguely remember of the old LPs the new CDs don't seem quite as affected?  As I understand the process this would be part of remastering and not require a remix (like removing reverb from the US mixes on the US albums).

22 May 2014
9.24pm
vonbontee
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I've only ever heard the 2000 CD. Didn't George write something to the effect that he wished he could remove all the echo/reverb but finally left it alone? That's the way I remember it, but I could easily be wrong. Either way, the sound of that disc is not to my liking, for the most part.

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trcanberra
I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
22 May 2014
11.51pm
trcanberra
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vonbontee said
I've only ever heard the 2000 CD. Didn't George write something to the effect that he wished he could remove all the echo/reverb but finally left it alone? That's the way I remember it, but I could easily be wrong. Either way, the sound of that disc is not to my liking, for the most part.

He said he thought about remixing it but decided not to, and then mentioned removing the reverb.  It is the 2000 one I have and I like the sound, but I know a lot of folks on the net don't.

23 May 2014
9.06pm
vonbontee
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Yeah, your post inspired me to look up an old Steve Hoffman thread with a poll regarding "Who would've done the best production job?" on the album. Some folks said it's just fine, others mentioned George Martin, or Jimmy Miller or someone else. And it just now occurred to me that "Hey! Pete Drake not only played steel guitar on the album, he also did a fine job producing Ringo's album right around the same time: Why not HIM?" I would love to have heard an All Things Must Pass recorded in Nashville!

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trcanberra
I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
11 June 2014
3.16am
trcanberra
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Okay, so now we are at:

- not to be confused with:

I suspect I have been subconsciously avoiding this one for a few weeks as it can be a hard one to listen to emotionally.  From the opening with the ominous tolling of the bells on Mother, to the catharsis of My Mummy's Dead, there is very little respite from the soul-searching and anguish (apart from Hold On). When the discussion turns to 'music as art' versus 'music as entertainment' this is one I use as an example of the former, along with other examples such as Neil Young's Tonight's The Night – which like this one divides critics between praise and damnation.

Oh, sorry, if there is anyone reading who hasn't heard this album before I am ranting on about John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band :)

I came to this one by way of Imagine; I had been spending the time since my first LP purchase (Let It Be) catching up on Beatles group albums.  I then turned to the solo LPs and this was the second one I bought by John (though it was released a year or so before Imagine).  He had also released some singles before this – so you need to listen to Give Peace A Chance, Cold Turkey and Instant Karma to get a feel for where this fits.  Nowadays I have the 2010 remaster CD and it sounds superb, there is also a nice booklet – though I hate the cardboard packaging – another one where I worry if I will scratch the CD since it is so tight in the sleeve.

The album is very nicely produced, with Phil Spector involved but much more restrained than he had been when producing All Things Must Pass (see above) which was released only a few weeks before this one.  Ringo is on drums and Klaus is on base with Billy Preston very effective on the piano on God – in fact the piano, along with some very nice acoustic guitar work, dominates the sound on the album – and very effective it is too.  My favourite tracks are Mother, Working Class Hero, Isolation and God – but oh my – 'the dream is over'.  I was blown away when I first heard this, and I was blown away again listening to it just now – this is truly essential listening whether you enjoy it or not.

Well, that may be enough for now.  To stay in tune with this journey through time you now need to listen to Power To The People (a nicely anthemic track from John leading up to the ultimate anthem of Imagine) and It Don't Come Easy from Ringo.  Oh, and between the two Lennon singles (and George dominating the charts with My Sweet Lord) Paul had released Another Day – which will be one of the bonus tracks I discuss when looking at the next album on my journey – Ram.

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meanmistermustard, plastic
11 June 2014
12.20pm
trcanberra
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You know that thing where you wait hours for a bus and then two show up at once?  Well, case in point, I have just listened to the 2012 2CD Special Edition of this one, originally from 1971:

Product Details

by Paul and Linda MccCartney.  Yes, you read that right, Linda co-wrote half the songs here and sings backup on a number of them – she also co-produced the album.  Sounds like a recipe for disaster right?  Luckily it isn't, and this is currently my favourite McCartney album (bearing in mind I still have a lot of them to listen to).  The remastered CDs are great sonically, with a nice forward presence which complements a nicely varied sound mix.  The set is nicely presented with the booklet including some great photos and the lyrics to the album (not the bonus tracks), though some production notes would have been nice.  The front cover was satirised by John Lennon on one of the inserts to the Imagine LP, the back cover has an ex-Beatle in one photo, and some other beetles apparently copulating in another – make of that what you will.

The songs cover the full range of McCartney's lyricism and melody, with a few good rockers added to the mix.  It is hard for me to choose favourites as I like all of this album – but Too Many People, Ram On, Dear Boy, Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey – oh, I give up :)

At this time Paul was still in the Beatles mind-set of not including singles on his albums (which I hated then and still do now as it made getting all of their songs difficult and playing them all painful) but Eat At Home was a minor hit here in Oz (backed with Smile Away).  The 2nd CD in the set includes the earlier single, Another Day (which I kind of like) and its B-side Oh Woman, Oh Why; along with Little Woman Love which was the B-side for the later single of Mary Had A Little Lamb.  This second disk is pretty interesting: Hey Diddle wouldn't have been out of place on the subsequent Wings Wild Life album, and while Rode All Night wears out its welcome it is enjoyably frenetic.  A couple of the other tracks are instrumentals that could have been culled from McCartney and the remaining track A Love For You has some enjoyable moments.

The upshot?  This is another essential post-Beatles album, and the 2CD version is worth consideration.  Now, apparently John felt a few of the songs here were thinly veiled jabs at him, and replied somewhat more pointedly on Imagine, which is the next cab off the rank (or was that bus?).

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11 June 2014
4.19pm
Funny Paper
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Now there you go -- "Hey Diddle" would have been much better than "Kreen Akrore".

I didn't know Linda co-wrote a lot of things -- but none of the songs on the official Ram list, right?

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trcanberra
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11 June 2014
11.06pm
trcanberra
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Funny Paper said
Now there you go -- "Hey Diddle" would have been much better than "Kreen Akrore".

I didn't know Linda co-wrote a lot of things -- but none of the songs on the official Ram list, right?

Nice call on Kreen :)

Linda co-wrote tracks 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10 on the album – so half of them.  I must say I have always slightly preferred the old Side 1, maybe those writing credits explain that a bit.  As an aside I find her singing varies so much here, from the very effective to the not quite so effective.

11 June 2014
11.24pm
meanmistermustard
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Always interests me that Paul got sued over Linda's co-writer credit by Northern Songs and MacLen Music, settling out of court in 1973, as they didnt believe Linda could write a song to save her life and therefore felt that Paul was trying to financially screw them. You can read a little about it here in a google book, its two thirds of the way down page 282 and onto the next page.

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trcanberra
"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
21 June 2014
1.12pm
trcanberra
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We have arrived at late 1971 and Imagine from John Lennon:

Product Details

While the title track helped me stay upbeat during a severe illness in my mid-teens I have always found the album itself curiously unsatisfying.  I appreciate that it is a complex reflection of John's state of mind at the time couched in some quite nice melodies – but many of the tracks strike me as great fragments which would have benefited from a strong collaborator (a bit like many of Paul's songs on his next few albums).  The sound is also a bit thin despite Phil Spector being along as co-producer with John and Yoko, even on the 2010 remaster I just listened to – this is particularly noticeable on I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier … which has a multitude of musicians on it (including George Harrison) but just meanders along without making much of an impact.  The infamous How Do You Sleep also has the pot calling the kettle black in the line 'Jump when your mamma tell you anything'.

Hmm – I'm possibly appearing a bit too negative – I do enjoy the album.  It has the catchy Oh Yoko!, the nicely melodic How?, and Crippled Inside which rocks along nicely considering the acerbic lyrics – while Jealous Guy has been popular with a number of other singers (but not with this listener).  Physically the album has the same sort of booklet that this whole series has – with photos of the two items which were inserts in the LP (the pig-wrestling postcard satirising the cover of Ram and the piano-player poster).  I won't rant about how these should have been separate items – sigh.  The album sold well at the time and is probably essential listening for Beatles fans – and was certainly better received than the next release from the peripatetic star who moved permanently to New York at around this time.

Next up is another LP I found vaguely unsatisfying at the time – Wings Wild Life.

21 June 2014
1.37pm
Bulldog
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trcanberra said
We have arrived at late 1971 and Imagine from John Lennon:

Product Details

While the title track helped me stay upbeat during a severe illness in my mid-teens I have always found the album itself curiously unsatisfying.  I appreciate that it is a complex reflection of John's state of mind at the time couched in some quite nice melodies – but many of the tracks strike me as great fragments which would have benefited from a strong collaborator (a bit like many of Paul's songs on his next few albums). 

I agree. I expected it to be excellent based on what I'd heard (Imagine, Jealous Guy and Crippled Inside, all of which I really like), but I much prefer POB. I'm actually also in the minority of preferring Walls And Bridges and Mind Games to it as well. I really like Gimme Some Truth and the aforementioned three tracks, but the album doesn't really do much for me overall. I find most of the songs on this album too repetitive or a bit overlong for what they are. Oh, and I like Oh My Love quite a bit as well.

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trcanberra
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21 June 2014
1.43pm
trcanberra
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Bulldog said

trcanberra said
We have arrived at late 1971 and Imagine from John Lennon:

While the title track helped me stay upbeat during a severe illness in my mid-teens I have always found the album itself curiously unsatisfying.  I appreciate that it is a complex reflection of John's state of mind at the time couched in some quite nice melodies – but many of the tracks strike me as great fragments which would have benefited from a strong collaborator (a bit like many of Paul's songs on his next few albums). 

I agree. I expected it to be excellent based on what I'd heard (Imagine, Jealous Guy and Crippled Inside, all of which I really like), but I much prefer POB I'm actually also in the minority of preferring Walls And Bridges and Mind Games to it as well. I really like Gimme Some Truth and the aforementioned three tracks, but the album doesn't really do much for me overall. I find most of the songs on this album too repetitive or a bit overlong for what they are. Oh, and I like Oh My Love quite a bit as well.

Cheers – I expect that I will upset a few Lennon fans here – but it's just my opinion.  I feel the same about the albums as you do, I think Mind Games is my 2nd favourite behind Plastic Ono Band, with Walls a close third – they feel a lot more cohesive to me.

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Bulldog
21 June 2014
2.05pm
meanmistermustard
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I've never found Imagine to be a great solo Beatle album. Overlooking the overlooked and overstated title track (if i ever did like it that much to begin with) a good chunk is filled with filler (Soldier, Oh Yoko (i dont see the attraction of this number), Truth) and How Do You Sleep? fails to live up to its myth as being as some angst ridden walloper – so that's half the album gone. The rest is good tho but over the years i've grown to prefer Walls And Bridges and Mind Games actually i think that but then i remember how overproduced they are - some great songs when stripped back, love the Anthology outtakes. Gee's, when i look at John's albums they aren't that great outside of POB. Guess i get caught up in the idea that John's solo catalogue is some wonderful haven of music heaven, a load of fantastic songs just not when you go by officially released albums.

 

Wild Life is one of my favourite solo Beatles albums but loathed by so many so i'm intrigued to see your stance on it trc.

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Bulldog, trcanberra
"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
21 June 2014
2.33pm
WETSRoosa
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meanmistermustard said
Always interests me that Paul got sued over Linda's co-writer credit by Northern Songs and MacLen Music, settling out of court in 1973, as they didnt believe Linda could write a song to save her life and therefore felt that Paul was trying to financially screw them. You can read a little about it here in a google book, its two thirds of the way down page 282 and onto the next page.

That's why Linda wrote "Seaside Woman"… to prove she could write a song without Paul's assistance. And knowing no one would purchase the single if it was credited to Linda McCartney, the single was credited as "Suzy and the Red Stripes."

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trcanberra
"Daddy, just remember... Mommy's smarter than you. She said so."- My 4 year old
21 June 2014
2.53pm
meanmistermustard
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8And a damn fine song Seaside Woman is too.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
21 June 2014
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WETSRoosa
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meanmistermustard said
a-hard-days-night-ringo-8And a damn fine song Seaside Woman is too.

Linda's actually a pretty good songwriter in her own right… her Wide Prairie album has a few good songs from her- "Love's Full Glory," "The White-Coated Man," "Endless Days," several others.

"Daddy, just remember... Mommy's smarter than you. She said so."- My 4 year old
21 June 2014
5.15pm
meanmistermustard
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I like what i've heard of Linda's material, not too sure about Cow tho.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
22 June 2014
1.04am
trcanberra
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meanmistermustard said
I've never found Imagine to be a great solo Beatle album. Overlooking the overlooked and overstated title track (if i ever did like it that much to begin with) a good chunk is filled with filler (Soldier, Oh Yoko (i dont see the attraction of this number), Truth) and How Do You Sleep? fails to live up to its myth as being as some angst ridden walloper – so that's half the album gone. The rest is good tho but over the years i've grown to prefer Walls And Bridges and Mind Games actually i think that but then i remember how overproduced they are - some great songs when stripped back, love the Anthology outtakes. Gee's, when i look at John's albums they aren't that great outside of POB. Guess i get caught up in the idea that John's solo catalogue is some wonderful haven of music heaven, a load of fantastic songs just not when you go by officially released albums.

 

Wild Life is one of my favourite solo Beatles albums but loathed by so many so i'm intrigued to see your stance on it trc.

On Wild Life – so am I.  While I recall not being too impressed – when I look at the tracklist it seems quite good – I should get to it in the next few days or so.

[EDIT] Maybe we can sort this now and not disrupt my review.  Is the album called Wild Life or Wings Wild Life?  The spine of my CD has "Wings Wild Life / Wings" which suggests the latter, some internet sources suggest the former?  Opinions over here please.  :)

On Lennon, while not wanting to derail my own thread – I pretty much agree with your assessment of the solo years.

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