JOHN LENNON – ” Plastic Ono Band ” Super Deluxe Box Set

Posted: March 4, 2021 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The sessions that birthed John Lennon’s raw and deeply personal 1970 solo album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band receive the full unfettered treatment via a massive, lavishly crafted eight-disc super deluxe box set scheduled for release April 16th.

The eleven songs on the original album were a cathartic release for Lennon amid his recent break from the Beatles. Now, 50 years later, the influential album is remixed and remastered in a collection that features 159 tracks across six CDs and two Blu-ray audio discs. Clocking in at a whopping 11 hours of music, each song is presented in multiple forms- dubbed Ultimate Mixes, Evolution Mixes, Element Mixes, Raw Studio Mixes and Demos which include new mixes, rough demos, outtakes, rehearsals and jam sessions.

A separate single disc will be sold which includes the Ultimate Mixes of the original album and Lennon’s first three non-album singles, and an expanded 2CD or 2LP version adds a disc of outtakes of each song. The Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band album, originally released at the same time and recorded with the same core musicians plus guests, including Ornette Coleman, is included on the Blu-Ray edition.

Everything in this comprehensive box set has been newly mixed from scratch from brand new 192kHz/24bit hi-res transfers. In addition to the various new mixes, the set boasts 87 never-before-heard recordings. The Blu-rays present an array of listening options including high-definition, studio quality 192kHz/24bit audio in stereo and enveloping 5.1 Surround and Dolby Atmos for the Ultimate Mixes.

Quick takes on a few songs: Lennon’s guide vocal on the “God” Elements Mix alternates back and forth in sections between a talking vocal and a vulnerable sung vocal. “Mother” evolves from Lennon at home on guitar to experimenting with a tremolo guitar backing track before ultimately deciding on the piano version that opens the record.

George Harrison makes an appearance playing electric guitar on “Instant Karma (Raw Studio Mix)” an early take included here but recorded before the Plastic Ono Band sessions. Unsurprisingly, George’s jagged but melodic electric guitar work on this January 27th, 1970 take of the song makes the track sound more like a continuation of the Beatles than a Lennon solo song. Other takes of “Instant Karma” feature Harrison on acoustic guitar.

“Give Peace A Chance” and “Cold Turkey,” two other pre-session tracks, are presented in work tape and rough versions. Interestingly, “Power To The People” and “Do The Oz,” two 1971 Plastic Ono Band songs included on the 2000 reissue, are not included here.

While Lennon only recorded two takes of the harrowing album closer “My Mummy’s Dead,” four versions are included on the box in slightly different mixes.

The common perception regarding Lennon’s frame of mind when he went in to record the music was that of an emotionally fragile man. He and Yoko had experimented with an intensive six-month therapy program called Primal Scream, which unlocked his emotional childhood traumas and provided the lyrical basis for many of the songs that wound up on the album.

The rawness is definitely oozing from the tracks, but as the box set and photos in the beautiful 132-page hardcover book in the deluxe edition reveals, Lennon was in a pretty positive ‘let’s make music’ frame of mind. This is particularly evident during the loose set of jams that occupy one disc in the deluxe box, collected from various dates over the month-long recording sessions. Lennon and the band warm up and run through a bunch of ‘50s tunes and more, including a joking Elvis impression medley.

The book also includes an extensive interview with Arthur Janov (the late psychologist who pioneered Primal Scream therapy), scores of master multitrack box photos, track recording sheets, commentary on each song from those involved in the sessions and a visual map layout of the surround sound’s instrumentation.

Engineer Paul Hicks explains the Elements Mixes: “When we were going through the outtakes and even the master takes in some cases, we found the occasional overdub where we could understand why they didn’t end up using it, but we thought was fascinating to hear. The conga on ‘I Found Out,’ the extra vocals on ‘Hold On,’ the alternative organ take on ‘Isolation’ and maracas on ‘Well Well Well’ are a few examples.”

 

There were no set rules for any of the selections, really. It was just per song – what did we feel would be nice to isolate or show off, that might have escaped people’s initial listening experience.”

The liner notes also explain the Evolution Mixes. Each track has been edited down from all the original 8-Track multitracks, quarter-inch live recordings and mixes and a few demo cassettes. ‘These are ‘mini-documentaries that explore the development of each song through their elements, arrangements and the musicians that play on them.’

This reissue is fully authorized by Yoko Ono, who oversaw the production and creative direction, and from the same audio team that worked on 2018’s critically acclaimed Imagine – The Ultimate Collection, including triple GRAMMY®-Award winning engineer Paul Hicks and mixers/engineers Rob Stevens and Sam Gannon.

Featuring John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voormann, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Alan White and Phil Spector. Completely Remixed from the original multitracks, containing Ultimate Mixes, Out-Takes, Elements, Raw Studio and Evolution Mixes; Demos, Jams and Yoko Ono Live Sessions. SUPER DELUXE BOX SET CONTAINS: 6 CDs – 102 new Stereo Mixes – over 6 hours of audio. 2 Blu-Ray Audio Discs – 159 new Stereo Mixes – Over 11 hours of audio in Hi-Res 192/24 Stereo, 5.1 Surround and Dolby Atmos Mixes. 132 Page Hardback Book With Rare Photos, Memorabilia and Extensive Notes. WAR IS OVER! Poster and 2 Postcards. Also Available: 2 CD, 1 CD, 2 LP, Download and Streaming.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.