Lennon, John - Rock 'N' Roll

Year of Release: 2004
Label: EMI/Capitol
Catalog Number: 874330
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:23:00

Ever since the start of the Quarrymen so many years ago, John Lennon was in love with rock 'n' roll as introduced to him by means of mainly American artists. Featuring a legendary photograph taken by Jurgen Vollmer somewhere in Hamburg, Lennon's leather jacket on the album Rock 'N' Roll was not a pose but a way of living. It was 1975 when, together with Phil Spector, Lennon turned to rock 'n' roll and the many examples that influenced his life in order to record and deliver a tribute album. As Spector initially refused to turn over the tapes, the entire project almost was scrapped. Because of Spector's well-known love for the "wall of sound" effect, this did not fit the rock 'n' roll concept very well, so on this re-issue there are in fact only four Spector produced songs to be found, whilst the rest of the material was redone 18 months later by John and a five piece band. Surely the booklet here could have included more info about all this and the musicians used as I'm sure this is of interest to everyone listening to this album [I pulled data from Allmusic.com -ed.]. Also some background info as to why Lennon chose certain tracks by certain artists would have been highly welcome!

As a tribute, Lennon tries to stay as close to the originals as possible, although at times the backing band adds some extra power, such as the wonderful saxophone during "Ain't That A Shame," which combined with the honky tonk piano really spices it all up wonderfully. "Do You Wanna Dance" gets kind of a reggae treatment, whilst brass is also on hand during the swinging "Slippin' And Slidin'." Whilst it is commonly known that McCartney is a huge Buddy Holly fan, Dr. Winston O'Boogie also tries his hand at "Peggy Sue" here backed with a tribal rhythm. "Ya Ya" is like the ideal showstopper when you're having a party, turning Lennon into an employee from Butlins! In fact, all of this album sounds like one huge party, but as it was more like the contractual obligation album, maybe Lennon indeed kept everything as simple as possible so as to deliver a full album without adding too much of his genius. As a re-issue, four bonus tracks have been issued, but sadly "Be My Baby" is not one of them. Phil Spector's "To Know Her Is To Love Her" sounds like something that could be from a mysterious recording between Lennon and the E Street Band! In the lively "Since My Baby Left Me" sadly the (once again) out of tune voice from Yoko Ono is mixed way up front, disturbing the general atmosphere. For the real rock 'n' roll spirit I'm afraid, you have to invest in either Choba CCCP or Run Devil Run, incidentally two albums by that other Beatle, Paul McCartney.

Previously released by Capitol (1974, CCT-46707), Apple/Parlophone, (1975, 3419/46707) and EMI (2000, 65527)

Be-Bop-A-Lula (2:37) / Stand By Me (3:29) / Medley: Rip It Up - Ready Teddy (1:34) / You Can't Catch Me (4:52) / Ain't That A Shame (2:31) / Do You Wanna Dance? (2:53) / Sweet Little Sixteen (3:01) / Slippin' And Slidin' (2:17) / Peggy Sue (2:04) / Medley: Bring It On Home - Send Me Some Lovin' (3:42) / Bony Moronie (3:46) / Ya Ya (2:18) / Just Because (4:25) / Bonus Tracks: Angel Baby (3:43) / To Know Her Is To Love Her (4:31) / Since My Baby Left Me (4:40) / Just Because (Reprise) (3:57)

John Lennon - guitar, keyboards, vocals
Kenny Ascher - keyboards
Hal Blaine - drums
Steve Cropper - guitar
Jesse Ed Davis - guitar
José Felciano - guitar
Peter Jameson - guitar
Arthur Jenkins - percussion
Jim Keltner - drums
Bobby Keys - sax
Dennis Morouse - horn
Eddie Mottau - guitar
Leon Russell - keyboards
Nino Tempo - sax
Frank Vicari - horn
Klaus Voormann - bass

Two Virgins: Unfinished Music No. 1 (1968)
Life With The Lions: Unfinished Music No. 2 (1969)
Live Peace In Toronto 1969 (1969)
Wedding Album (1969)
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)
Imagine (1971)
Sometime In New York City (1972)
Mind Games (1973)
Walls And Bridges (1974)
Rock n' Roll (1975)
Shaved Fish (1975)
Double Fantasy (1980)
The John Lennon Collection (1982)
Milk & Honey (1984/2001)
Live In New York City (1986)
Menlove Ave (1986)
Imagine: John Lennon (Original Soundtrack) (1988)
Lennon (1990)

Legend (The Very Best Of John Lennon) (2003)

Genre: Rock

Origin UK

Added: November 21st 2004
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: johnlennon.com
Hits: 1461
Language: english


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