Lennon, John and Yoko Ono - Milk And Honey

Year of Release: 2001
Label: EMI
Catalog Number: 7243 5 35959 2 0
Format: CD
Total Time: 66:22:00

John LennonI love my woman and respect her enormously, yet I would never have her touch my musical ideas. But that's my household! The relationship between John Lennon and Yoko Ono sadly meant that Lennon fans had to take Ono's material in as well, because on this Milk And Honey, half of the material is sung by John and half by Yoko. Previously, one could wisely decide not to buy a Yoko Ono release because of the high avant-garde contents, but once our Japanese friend got such a hold of John, it meant that as a Beatles and/or Lennon fan you had to accept that she was all over the place as well. Simply listen to (or try to) "Your Hands" and try to survive this experience without getting handicapped for the rest of your life! [Ouch! -ed.] To be honest, the actual vinyl release should have sported a Lennon side and a Yoko side. No doubt the Yoko side would always be in mint condition whenever you find a second hand copy, whereas the Lennon side would be severely scratched because it contains some of the best material he has written.

For the history books, this release nevertheless remains very interesting, as it marks John's final recordings before he was murdered in a cowardly manner on December 8th, 1980. Incidentally, this remastered edition contains a piece of an interview that was conducted at his home only five hours before he was killed. Yet another example of how the idea of "carpe diem' should be with ALL of us! In fact Milk And Honey is the companion release to Double Fantasy, with some of the sessions dating from the Double Fantasy period. This explains the varying quality on this album as some of the material concerns finished recordings whereas others are merely in demo stage ("Grow Old With Me" even containing the unfortunate drop-out, but being the very last song John ever recorded it simply HAD to be included). The highlights, however, are Lennon's flirting with reggae as during "Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him," which could well have been an ideal cover for Grace Jones, and the joyful "Borrowed Time," which sounds like a tune that could have benefited from a bigger arrangement, preferably with brass. (Even Yoko tries her hand at being a female rasta during "Don't Be Scared," which is one of her rare efforts that I like).

Lennon and OnoAs we all know, "You're The One" ends the "actual" album. Yet here it is followed by the wonderful "Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him," two more tracks, and a lengthy part of John's very last interview ? ever. Still living in an era when personal recording facilities could not be compared to the state-of-the-art material we now have in our bathrooms (!), the home demo of "Stepping Out" (later changed to "I'm Stepping Out") shows John at work, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, but still able to record and arrange a damn fine song. Due to the fact that this version was recorded on a cassette more than twenty years ago, needless to say there's some loss of sound. "I'm Moving Out" is a short Yoko song where she accompanies herself on upright piano. Even though she sings badly, I can understand what Lennon means at the very beginning of the 22-minute long interview section where he says that Yoko used to play him some of her ideas over the phone and he would immediately start "working," as he got this inspiration for a "proper" song within ten to fifteen minutes. So in a way his so-called "craftsmanship" came together as a result of being a family with Yoko and Sean. That happiness resulted in a very productive process, with John even mentioning having ideas for a third album, an album which we'll never hear, of course. Suddenly during the interview you hear a bell and Yoko says that when you hear the bell you can make a wish and your wish will come true. Five hours later her husband was dead!

Lennon and Ono started their recorded output with Two Virgins: Unfinished Music No. 1. Milk And Honey maybe should have received the title No More Virgins: Unfinished Music No. 3? Whatever your determination to buy this new, remastered version, do it, if only for the sake of the interview. It contains hell of a lot of interesting information such as the story about the Yoko Ono exhibition with the ladder and the magnifying glass and the small word "yes," which is the basis for the idea behind the current Yes album Magnification (see our review). As I have told everyone from the very beginning: the Beatles have more to do with prog than you could ever have imagined! Imagine John Lennon? Oh no ?

I'm Stepping Out / Sleepless Night / I Don't Wanna Face It / Don't Be Scared / Nobody Told Me / O'Sanity / Borrowed Time / Your Hands / (Forgive Me) My Little Flower Princess / Let Me Count The Ways / Grow Old With Me / You're The One / Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him / Stepping Out (Home Version) / I'm Moving On / Interview with John & Yoko December 8th, 1980

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

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 (1971/2003)
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)

Sweet Toronto (2002)
Legend (The Very Best Of John Lennon) (DVD) (2003)

Genre: Rock

Origin UK

Added: November 25th 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: johnlennon.com
Hits: 799
Language: english


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