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Album Review

Lennon, John – “Sometime In New York City” – [Emi Records Ltd.]

ArtCrimes   5/18/2009   B Library, CD

Lennon’s New York residency found him recording with Elephant’s Memory, an already established band, and continuing with Phil Spector as producer, guaranteeing a big sound, although not necessarily Lennon’s best batch of songs. For the most part, these are topical rants about this and that (the unjust persecution of activists John Sinclair and Angela Davis, the riot at Attica State prison, the Irish troubles, etc.) and clearly not continuing the utopian ideals heard on his previous hit, “Imagine”. Yoko is fairly integrated here, turning in concise songs that mostly follow conventional structures, rather than sprawling vocal experiments. No hits here, although “Woman is the Nigger…” was out as a single and probably got a few plays in more-enlightened regions. To be fair, a lot of these songs have spontaneous sounding, Dylan-esque arrangements that were probably a lot more fun for Lennon than the endless sessions with studio musicians that was the case on “Imagine.” The second disc pairs two live gigs, one in London in 1968 with a cast of thousands that is mostly devoted to Yoko’s squeals over a static blues groove, and the other side joining Zappa & Mothers at the Fillmore East in 1971, with the blues track “Well” being the standout and the balance being Zappa-conducted improvs with snippets of “King Kong.” Some years later Zappa released much of this material with a different mix and titles, the last track referred to as “A Small Eternity With Yoko Ono.” -crimes-

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Max Level says

Frank was pissed that Lennon/Ono released the Fillmore jam stuff without acknowledging the composition King Kong or crediting him for it (thereby not having to pay him for it). can't say I blame him.

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