DOUBLE FANTASY STRIPPED DOWN:

Here it is ladies and germs, Miss Tammy’s very own review of the the album that means the most to me, Double Fantasy .. and in this instance, the “Double Fantasy Stripped Down” version.

“Double Fantasy Stripped Down” is a cd i’ve waited for with some incredible antici .. pation, when i heard about the project i guess i kind of went into self protection mode and dared not get too excited at the possibility of what this new album may offer up to us long time fans.

When i say every note, every second of the original Double Fantasy album is imprinted in my DNA is not an exaggeration, i know this album back to front, a little back history first. I guess with the album comes the realisation of the true power and emotional connection that music can quite often have on those blessed with the soul to welcome it, it’s often a healing and protective force. In the second half of 1980 i was a troubled fifteen year old, not the cool rebellious youth, but the type that was finding it hard to keep his head above water, my one solace, and honestly, that’s all i can think of, just the one was music, and more specifically the music of the Beatles and solo Beatles. I clung to and held it close for dear life.

In August of 1980 came the news that John and Yoko were back in the studio, this had me so beyond excited as John had retired by the time I’d become a fan in 1975, so it was like having a new Beatle around, one i hadn’t experienced. When the new photos of John and Yoko started arriving they just looked so cool, so current and timeless (still do amazingly). In November i remember going to my local record bar and purchasing the cassette of Double Fantasy, sitting in the back of my dads car, wanting him to hurry up driving me home so i could race into my room and play it, the next weeks were spent listening to it, clipping out every piece of information i could find in the press on John and Yoko and just generally basking in having a ‘Brand new Beatle’ to enjoy.

It took me until about February 1981 before i could listen to the album again after the events of December, i literally could not bring myself to hear John’s voice until then, but then when i could listen, it was a comfort to me, and like so much other music it comforted me and protected me from all the horrors every other fifteen year old has to face, plus a slew of others too personal and horrible to talk about. The healing and escape came when i would put on my headphones, close my eyes and be lulled into John and Yoko’s Double Fantasy land. Some albums are ‘of a time’ for people, they hold those album’s near and dear, this happens a lot with Beatle albums and peoples comments about a favourite album being the soundtrack to their youth, well this is true for Double Fantasy for me, so i fess up here and now, i can’t be unbiased about it, i love the album, i love the time frame it comes from, and i love John and Yoko for giving me music that helped save me, and keep my head above water when i most needed it.

The build up to hearing “Double Fantasy Stripped Down’ was a time where i tried dare not imagine what this might sound like, i didn’t dare dream that it would go beyond amazing, and far surpass any and every dream and wish i had for it, so often projects like this can be a let down, just a reason to stretch some life out of an old project. And so it was last Saturday that I raced to the cd store upon hearing it was on the shelves.

I’m not going to pretend to be unbiased in this review, I can’t be, I’m too emotionally involved in this album, but maybe if you listen to it with a perspective I described above, you may see and hear things as I did.

The packaging I really like, I think it’s a lovely touch to have had Sean draw the front and back covers, as it’s still Double Fantasy I’m glad they didn’t use another photo ala ‘Milk and Honey’ as things would be just too confusing. It was lovely and perfect for me to read the liner notes that had a particular warmth and respect from Yoko to those involved in the album, especially warming were her words of continued love and respect to Jack Douglas, and the band, who played such a big part in this project.

“Just like starting over” the opening track and our first taste of where this album is going to take us, none of the songs are diminished by what has been stripped and removed, or in some instances ‘added’, John’s voice is up front and clear and it’s like he’s in the room with you, the guitars rock harder and John’s self harmonizing is a joy to be hold, that’s a word I’ll try and not use too often ‘Joy’, but that’s what shines through on ‘Stripped’.

“Kiss Kiss Kiss” four to the floor and hang on to your hat as this rocks hard, the band does not fade out at the end but instead plays over Yoko’s ‘Orgasmonising’, one of the surprises of this project is Yoko shines every bit as bright as John on the album.

“Clean up time” I was going to call this song a peak, but how can you when every song is, this is a lot slicker version than the 80 mix we have, a whole lot more funky with a ‘phone’ vocal effect on John’s voice as he implores us to draw a ring around the world.

“Give me something” you know how this rocked on Double Fantasy?, well now this REALLY rocks, kicking off with some finger hammering on Tony’s bass, again it’s four to the floor and punched out right between your eyes, Yoko’s vocals on this are so strong.

“I’m losing you” in the liner notes Yoko mentions that Double Fantasy is really a ‘happy’ album, I finally see what she means, it’s a very real and maybe hopeful album, but not all happiness as this song, the one preceding it and the one after it shows, John and Yoko had a ‘real’ marriage filled with joy, but also with fear, insecurities and frustrations, this version of ‘I’m losing you’ seems to get it’s point across a lot more convincingly on this album, and who knew John was singing ‘Long lost John’ at the end.

“I’m moving on” another dose of Lenono reality, but this is taken at a gentler pace than it was in 1980, it opens with John’s acoustic guitar which remains prominent in the mix throughout.

“Beautiful boy” how do you make a beautiful some more beautiful?, make it a little gentler, and that’s what we have here. Nice percussion here, in fact nice percussion all over this album, tip of the hat to Arthur Jenkins Jr who shines on ‘Stripped’.

“Watching the wheels” bare piano mix shows what an amazing and tight band john and Yoko had for these sessions, this is really stripped back with a lot of room for the song to breath, this was the song that had me shaking my head in sadness that this band never got to play live, they would have been awesome.

“Yes I’m your angel” always a favourite, and I don’t care if it does sound similar to ‘Makin’ whoopee’ this is lovely stripped down, and now heard as more a band version than a big band version.

“Woman” this is the one that really stopped us in our tracks as we listened, this was tears in the eyes time, a lovely acoustic guitar based version of this loveliest of songs, John’s voice and performance on this is second to none, and pretty much proves without question that John had ‘The’ best voice in rock and roll ‘Ever’.

“Beautiful boys” Spanish guitars open this track, which sounds great with a more sparse production, full of emotion that can now really be heard in Yoko’s voice.

“Dear Yoko” a romp of a good time, and tho less ‘stripped’ than the other tracks this version shows how much fun these sessions must have been, that’s what I like about this album, lot’s of colour and shade.

“Everyman has a woman who loves him” I don’t know what to say about this track, when it started I had no idea what was going on, had they put the wrong track on the album?, for me this song is ‘THE’ surprise of the album, the biggest shock for me, it’s a completely different version to what we know on the 1980 version of the album, this track shows that John and Yoko must have been big fans of Visage, and the new romantics, or Brian Eno .. this sounds like nothing else John and Yoko ever done, and it’s amazing that Yoko has kept this under wraps all these years and never letting out till now, which is perfect, because it fits so well. The only way I can describe this track is to imagine John and Yoko getting into a time machine and travelling forward to February 1998 and landing in Paul’s studio when he was recording the Firemans ‘Rushes’ cd, along the way to Paul’s studio John and Yoko must have picked up Brian Eno, Steve Strange and a few chill out dj’s from the 2000’s. Listening to this song makes me well up, because this version along with ‘Walking on thin ice’ makes me realise what we lost, what John was capable of, the amazing places John was going with his and Yoko’s music, just unbelievable.

“Hard times are over” another all time favourite song of mine, not just by Yoko, but by anyone, for years I’d heard rumours that a version of this song existed where John’s vocals were more prominent, after all this time I’d lost hope that it did actually exists, after the shock of ‘Everyman’ I was caught off guard by this version of ‘Hard times’ where John is in fact easily heard singing with Yoko, and again showing in this song the fun and joy he was having at these sessions.

For me “Double Fantasy stripped down” is totally an album in it’s own right, a rerepresentation of a great work, that has not diminished it, or sullied it’s place or standing in my emotions, or in my very DNA. This is an amazing gift to John and Yoko fans everywhere, it’s been executed with such love and care, with enough surprises that even a scholar on this time, and album, such as myself, can be completely surprised and blown away.

It has made an old album that was nowhere near stale become a whole lot fresher, it has breathed at least another thirty years of life and enjoyment into it.

Perhaps more importantly it’s helped me appreciate the original work even more, and how much went into that, the time, and love, the Double fantasy project was recorded and released within five months!!, that’s amazing, and the level of quality and detail that went into each song, plus the Milk and Honey tracks, plus all the alternate versions and mixes of the Double Fantasy songs nothing less than astounds me, John and Yoko must have run themselves ragged in the last few months of 1980 to fit everything in they did. I have to make mention that on this new album Yoko really shines and rocks, and rocks hard, ”Give me something’ is as good a ‘Four to the floor’ rock song as you’re ever going to hear, Yoko’s songs benifit just as much as John’s do in the stripped down mode, her vocals are just lovely and very much from the heart, just listen to ‘Beautiful boys’ for proof of this.

Special mention must go to the band, Jack Douglas, Lee De Carlo and the entire production crew, everyone shines on this album.

Congratulations to everyone involved in ‘Double Fantasy Stripped Down’, you’ve done almost the impossible, you’ve presented us with a new piece of work that totally stands up to, and alongside the original work, no mean feat.

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31 Responses to “DOUBLE FANTASY STRIPPED DOWN:”

  1. Excellent post! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Ishie says:

    “DF Stripped” is a remarkable piece of artistry! I was surprised and equally delighted by what I heard and the emotions that it stirred. It feels as if you are sitting next to John & Yoko… unbeliveable! John’s vocals are so pure, so intimate and so powerful. “Everyman” is probably the biggest surprise of all … it’s a duet (if you will) and this version is just beautiful. The ‘stripped’ version gives new life to an already wonderful piece of work & that’s what is so astounding! This recording is a treasure for all who listen! For those who have yet to purchase “DF Stripped” don’t delay any longer … a gift awaits! Kudos to Yoko, Jack, Sean (for his artistic contribution) & all involved in giving us this true classic!

  3. stephanie says:

    Tammy, thanks for such a wonderful, detailed, review on a masterwork that obviously means so much to you. Great photos you have included. I agree with you comments entireley, I can not think of anything fresh to add. And Ishie, I agree with your succinct summary also, well said !!

  4. Peter Hodgson says:

    Great Review of the album Tammy, I totally agree.
    I love the way the Double tracking has been removed from John’s vocal also, it’s just like he’s there right next to you singing.
    Wonderful
    Peter
    Liverpool

  5. Chris says:

    The fourth photo down was the first photo of John and Yoko that I saw together since 1975. I was reading the first interview by them in Newsweek. My brother came into the room and told me that John Bonham had died. Little did I know the horror that would take place just weeks later.

  6. jim says:

    right on, sister!
    it is the one MUST have in all the new re-releases, in my opinion, altho’ there IS a surprise or two for unwary fans on the boxed set as well.

    :-)

  7. Jennifer says:

    That was such a beautiful and heartfelt review, thanks so much for sharing it with us. *hugs* <3 I can't wait until my copy of Double Fantasy Stripped Down arrives in the mail. : )

  8. A Different Chris says:

    That was a wonderful review and reminiscence about Double Fantasy. Like you, I was apprehensive if not skeptical about the idea of a new version of Double Fantasy. I already owned 5 official releases of this album from wax to silicon, and have heard hours of bootleg material of the sessions. I thought that hearing something new from this production was too tall of an order, especially in light of the new re-remastered albums that sounded overly tweaked to my ear. I’d also been somewhat disappointed by the Acoustic album a few years back. But she did it! She took my favorite album and made it better! Double double, toil and no trouble, indeed! Every track is a winner. The original is often slighted for its of-the-time studio sound – a bit sterile. What’s wonderful, and so heartwarming about this release, is that they didn’t have to rerecord anything to bring out the warmth. They just stripped away the excess (if you can call it that), and showed us what had been there all along. Just wonderful! An all-time classic.

  9. Tammy says:

    Chris, excellent encapsulation of what i feel.

  10. luis says:

    hi there
    I’m glad you put the picture I sent you of john and earl slick his wife and his baby.
    john looks so cool with the baby on his knees

  11. lc says:

    the depth of your feelings for this music and the people who made it is very touching. i hope you enjoy this album for a long, long time.

  12. Gary Scott says:

    Thank you SO much for posting this loving description of this incredible new release. I’m on my first listen through [“Every Man” is on now] and there is absolutely no way I can respond to this right now. . .

    You and I are contemporaries, and this original work holds the same “place” in my life as it has in yours. I was a teen determined not to idolize anyone, to make my own way in the world without trying to emulate anyone. John became the one exception to that self-imposed rule. Through John, I met Yoko, and she taught me how to “be”. It is difficult to describe the admiration and respect I have for her, and even as a now-middle aged adult she continues to occupy some special place of fondness in my head and heart.

    This release is a revelation . . . “Beautiful Boys” just floored me, can’t even describe how STUNNED I was to hear this version . . . the presence in all of Johns songs too, gah – I’m not quite sure what to say about this just yet . . . Kiss Kiss Kiss remains an enormous favorite in both the original and the “new” versions . . . Yes, I’m Your Angel, same thing . . . I mean, I love John’s stuff much much more this time around simply because it sounds like “John” but he rightly observed that it was Yoko’s stuff that was really “wow’ing” people at the time and this observation seems and apt description of these new versions of her songs . . .

    BTW, I STILL crank “Don’t Worry Kyoko” to release energy and/or to piss off noisy neighbors, hehe. The live version off the Toronto recording is incomparable! Sublime!

    I wish I knew you, whoever posted this review, as you’ve composed my very history and [initial] thoughts on this disc. It’s really nice to know that my private little history with this couple and with this recording was shared with others in my age group, at the time. Listening to this is like coming home again, like returning to a very special place in my history and connecting with what is right and true and good all over again. Thank you so much for sharing your reactions, reading this page was a wonderful experience for me!

  13. Tammy says:

    Hi Gary, none other than my own good self penned this review, Greg .. AKA Miss Tammy.

  14. James says:

    Thank you for this. I listened to the album on my headphones and to hear his voice so alive was a little emotional.

  15. Tammy says:

    To quote Linda, James .. ‘It’s allowed’, a little optical moistness was felt here as well.

  16. jody says:

    Greg – Bravo – well done and cheers on your DFSD review!
    And those new 1980 photos – how the heck do you find these?!

    I am in Iceland and will take the spirit of your work to the Tower Lighting and and YOPOB show. Happy Birthday John and Sean!

  17. Tammy says:

    Hey Jody, i just sent you an email, then remembered you were in Iceland, have fun .. dont forget your thermal bloomers, and say hi to Yoko :-)

  18. Jack Ono Lantern says:

    I agree completely on almost all of what has been said here….that is except about Everyman Has A Woman That Loves Him.
    This is not some hidden away gem.This is a remix with 2010 keyboards mixed in. Although it does “sound” great..I feel it cheats John as his songs were not given any new instrumentation to add into his songs.(Nor would I want that)This practice was very evident on Milk and Honey when Yoko recorded new songs that were not part of that project with John.
    I guess it is just insecurity on her part.Nonetheless amazing product here folks..Buy it.I bought it cause Jack produced it.
    heh heh

  19. Ishie says:

    When I listened to the stripped version of ‘Woman’ and heard John’s intake of breath on the “I love you’s” at the end of the song, I thought of that same breath recorded years before on ‘Girl’. John said once in an interview that he looks at his work as being “one piece”, the death toll bell on ‘Mother’ to the tinkling wishing bell on ‘Starting Over’ and now this. He was a master and probably the most autobiographical singer/songwriter/artist ever. His life was an open book … it’s in his songs, his words … a true classic!

  20. Lizzie Bravo says:

    Dear Miss Tammy, I can’t wait to hear this record and read this review and all the posts, but I have been sooo overwhelmed with work it has been impossible. xx

  21. Roy says:

    Tammy one small correction. Jay Messina was the engineer on this stripped down version otherwise great review !!

  22. Don Vito says:

    If anyone is interested, the whole LP is available for download on iTunes I think at $14.99, or you can just purchase whatever songs you’d like separately for $1.29 apiece. That’s what I did.

  23. Jo says:

    Tammy, I’ve finally found someone who loves Double Fantasy and John and Yoko as much as me. Your thoughts about John mirror my own, especially when you said you couldn’t listen to this album until February of 81. I went through that same experience… I have Double Fantasy Stripped Down coming from Amazon and it will arrive at the post office on October 9th. What a wonderul way to celebrate the birth of my hero, John Lennon…Your comments are heartfelt and brought a tear to my eye.

  24. Miss Tammy says:

    Jo, play it LOUD and mail me back after you’ve heard ‘stripped’, i think you’ll be pleasantly surprised :-)

  25. James S says:

    Alll I can say is thank you, all ive thought about today is john. I cant wait to hear the music. again thank you so much.

  26. luis says:

    well as I told before there’s nothing new for me in this cd.
    I have it complete in bootleg cds
    may pang said in a last week interview that all is in the lost lennon tapes and I agree with her.
    what’s next? milk and honey stripped down for the 80th birthday?
    I still think it’s only a path for “yoko’s making money department”

  27. Don Vito says:

    I hear you, Luis. The reworked LP didn’t do much for me either, though I did like “Woman,” and like most I never bothered with the Yoko stuff. I did like John’s vocals better without the ADT, but I thought Stripped Down was another way for Ono to make the news and money off John. But read the comments here. Granted, this is a site that caters to a fairly select group of fans and doesn’t speak for most folks. But you can’t ignore that some people really dig it. That’s enough justification for me, regardless of the motives behind it. I do tend to think that it does have to end somewhere, though. Eventually, there will be 10 different versions of every song out there, and that gets a bit ridiculous.

  28. Jo says:

    Tammy, I’ve had a few days to listen to Double Fantasy Stripped Down and there is no other word to describe it other than “MASTERPIECE”….I just went back and reread your review and there is nothing much I can add. You nailed it – it absolutely has blown my mind. Like you, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and I tried to avoid hearing any previews of it on the web so that I could be surprised. Not only was I surprised, but utterly amazed. Yoko and Jack Douglas have given us a most precious gift. I think this album will stand up not only 30 years from now, but perhaps forever (think Mozart)…There are so many unexpected things to hear – not only nuances of John’s voice that were not that noticeable on the original version, but thrilling surprises like him singing “long lost John” at the end of I’m Losing You. Thanks again for sharing such a spot on review and for your wonderful website….

  29. Tay says:

    I was born on the day John and Yoko met..

  30. Pete Fuller says:

    Poor “luis”. He May have Pangs – jealousy?

    Don Vito… If only he knew—(“I never bothered with the Yoko stuff.”)

    Great!!!

  31. Stuart says:

    Are photos 7 and 8 video stills from John’s filmed Hit Factory performances? He has the right outfit on and I recently read that 20 mins of footage is possibly in the hands of a private collector. I really hope..

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