John Lennon – Gimme Some Truth (Advance Sampler CD)
2010, Capitol Records
The John Lennon re-issues are finally upon us and just in time for the celebration of what would have been John’s 70th Birthday this coming Friday had he lived. To help celebrate this occasion the original mixes of his catalog (minus Live Peace Toronto ’69 and the Apple titles) have been reissued and remastered. The choices are mesmerizing to say the least.
To begin with there is the SIGNATURE Box set which includes all his studio albums plus a bonus disc of Singles and one of Rarities. There is a 4 disc set entitled GIMME SOME TRUTH which presents 72 Lennon songs on ‘Themed’ discs. Then finally is the POWER TO THE PEOPLE: THE HITS disc which replaces earlier “Best Of’s” such as LEGEND, THE JOHN LENNON COLLECTION and the only “Best Of” released while John was still with us, SHAVED FISH (Which Should have been included with these issues). Add in the DOUBLE FANTASY STRIPPED DOWN and your mind is boggled and your wallet much lighter.
Being a Lennon fan I was very excited to get this sampler CD in the mail and to hear how they sounded before buying the music again. When it comes to re-issues and re-masters there are a few questions that always come to mind. Will they sound better than the original release? Will it be improved upon enough to warrant a repurchase? Will there be bonus tracks included? If this 20 track sampler is any indication then a qualified YES is the answer. For myself I began purchasing Lennon’s albums before the last lot of re-issues. When those came out I repurchased a couple of titles and filled in the missing gaps for the rest. Now with this set of releases it is time to open the wallet and buy the album’s once more.
After listening to the Sampler I was convinced that the SIGNATURE Box was the way to go for me personally along with the DOUBLE FANTASY STRIPPED DOWN title. This way I get just about all of the newly remastered music (except for 3 songs which I will purchase from iTunes for now until I can make myself buy the GIMME SOME TRUTH set for just 3 songs, Damn you Yoko!).
The biggest highlights of this release for any Lennon fan would be the Rarities disc that is part of the SIGNATURE set and the DOUBLE FANTASY STRIPPED DOWN disc that is only available separately. I personally am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my copies of these titles. This will make something like 6 or 7 copies of DOUBLE FANTASY in my collection by the end of this week.
From the pair of songs from the Rarities disc that appear on this Sampler, “God” really stands out. The emotion at the very beginning and how he just gets even more emotional as the song progresses is just perfect. At the moment I would say that it is better than the original that we all are so familiar with. This may be because it is new and fresh? Time will tell.
For DOUBLE FANTASY STRIPPED DOWN we are treated to a couple of John’s songs without all of the studio production. His voice is drier and we can hear how great a singer he was naturally without all the studio effects. His voice appears to be slightly upped in the mix as well which is perfect. Hopefully we will see ‘Stripped’ versions of some of his other albums as well.
The decision of which titles to buy depend largely upon how big a fan or completest you are as well as how fat your wallet is. Based solely on this sampler I believe that this is a much needed set of reissues. An albums original mix is how the artist themselves wanted it to sound. This is how a reissue should be. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that we see Lennon’s Apple (WEDDING ALBUM, TWO VIRGINS, LIFE WITH THE LIONS) as well as LIVE PEACE and SHAVED FISH get the same treatment in the very near future.