ARTIST: Yoko Ono
TITLE: Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band
YEAR RELEASED: 1970
CHART ACTION: #182
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Why
LINEUP: Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Klaus Voorman, Ringo Starr. One one track (recorded in concert) Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden, David Izenzon, and Ed Blackwell appear.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Recorded in one day, Yoko’s solo debut is powerful, but realistically not for everyone.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: John Lennon, Klaus Voorman, and Ringo Starr back Yoko on six of the seven cuts, and they’re a fantastic group to create a base for Yoko’s vocalizations. And what vocalizations they are!
Combining Primal Scream with a Kabuki theatre technique called hetai, Yoko’s screams and wails get to you in the gut. You can really feel it in “Why”, the opener, and in “Greenfield Morning I Pushed an Empty Baby Carriage All Over the City” (which is about her miscarriage). She also treamed up with Ornette Coleman and other musicians in 1968 for a track called “AOS”.
Yet, to be honest and fair, Yoko’s vocals aren’t for everyone, and after a while they can become irritating. So listening to the entire album at once is a chore, but in bits and pieces, it’s a great piece of avant-garde work.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Not on the album, but recorded the same day, was “Open Your Box”, which was the B-side to John’s “Power to the People” in the UK. Capitol Records refused to put it on the B-side. Scandalous, I guess.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with the long version of “Open Your Box” and a long version of “Why” where John complains about his amp.
GRADE B+: Much better than you think, especially if you can get / understand what Yoko was getting at with her vocals.