Posts Tagged ‘Double Fantasy Stripped Down’

DOUBLE FANTASY STRIPPED DOWN:

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

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.

DOUBLE FANTASY STRIPPED DOWN:

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Yessssssssssssssssssss!!!!!, i am SO all over this like someone with flared nostrils into ‘Flatuerotisism’. More than any release in the past coup,e of years this is the one i’m most looking forward to. I think it’s pretty obvious from the content of this webpage my passion for all things John and Yoko in 1980, to get a reimagined (for want of a better phrase) version of my favorite John Lennon album is a dream come true, then we also have the PBS documentary in November of this year which focuses on John’s time in New York 71 – 80. I’m looking forward to all the happy things the second half of this year is going to bring us.