Category: Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono – Yoko Ono / Plastic Ono Band

ARTIST: Yoko Ono  220px-Yoko_Ono_POB

TITLE: Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #182

SINGLES: None

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.

John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band – Live Peace in Toronto

ARTIST: John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band                220px-livepeacecover

TITLE:  Live Peace in Toronto

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #10

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Live versions of oldies, Yer Blues, Cold Turkey and Give Peace a Chance

LINEUP: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton, Clause Voorman, Alan White

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Haphazard live album from a Toronto peace benefit.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Somehow, this appearance was pulled off, and considering it was a last minute band that never played together before, it’s surprisingly decent. That doesn’t mean it’s great or anything or something you need to have unless you MUST have everything from John, Yoko, or Eric Clapton.

The story of Lennon and company showing up at the benefit in Toronto is legendary, but basically Eric Clapton found out he was to go an hour before he boarded the plane and the band rehearsed twice.

The first side is John’s – oldies, two solo John songs and a Beatles track. Yoko takes side two, and I have a soft spot in my heart for “Don’t Worry Kyoko”, wailings and all. I did lose patience with the closing track, an adaptation from the John & Yoko experimental albums that were tedious and pretentious, rather than bold and arty.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They did a lot of mixes taking out Yoko’s backing in some places, or removing backing vocals, etc.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C: It’s a curiosity and of a different time and place. And no, I’m not going to review those three John / Yoko albums. I’ve heard enough and you don’t need to.