Update (10/14/00) First, KGSR.com has an audio stream of a Yoko Ono interview done by Jody Denberg (who's done several interviews with her). This interview will be issued on a promotional audio CD. Windows Media Player is required. (Thanks to Jody Denberg for the link.)
Also, comments from David Furst (thanks!):
It's been very interesting to read some of the comments you're posted about the POB and DF reissues, and I just wanted to send a quick note to say how different I feel about the re-mix of Plastic Ono Band.
Yes, it sounds different... even impressive. But I wouldn't say it sounds "better." I think it's a classic case of messing with history and an artist's original intentions... making the sound cleaner and more "impressive" but messing up some very important details at the same time.
To me, the biggest problem comes at the peak emotional moment of the album - - after the build-up in "God" when the band suddenly stops and all is silent... and John comes back with the "I just believe in me" line.
On the original album, John's voice is stripped bare... brutally dry... with no reverb at all... splitting the silence like a knife. Coming after the build-up, it was an inspired engineering and mixing choce. It's one of the great recorded moments.
Now, on the new re-mix... there's reverb on John's voice. Subtle, tasteful reverb, true... but this totally spoils the moment. A once intelligent mixing choice... one that was so in-tune with the meaning of the lyrics... is now gone. And the beauty of that moment is diminished.
So... in my opinion, the new POB is different, yes. But better? Nope.
Thanks again for the superb web page.
Update (10/13/00) From John Simpson (thanks!):
Plastic Ono Band - Absolute joy ! Stand out tracks - Remember/ WellWellWell/ isolation and a fantastic God. Nearly moved me to tears - vocals and instruments well spaced , with a depth that I did n't think they could get in 1970 !. Oh and the remix of Power to the People spreads the sound spectrum, making it much more listenable. I can't wait for them to cut through the muddy sound on Sometime in New York City , imagine being able to hear Woman is the Nigger or NYC in all their glory ? How long must we wait ? Not to mention Mind Games and Walls &Bridges and Rockn Roll
Double Fantasy - Can't hear much difference, a bit louder mix, maybe slightly different eq , not an essential purchase.
Well Done all concerned. John
Update II (10/11/00) From musician David Freis (thanks, David!):
I bought the two reissues yesterday and they are great. One important note that I have not seen anyone mention is the fact that "Plastic Ono Band" is remixed and remastered while Double Fantasy is only remastered! "Plastic Ono Band" was never one of my favorite Lennon albums because I thought the original mix was so bad, however, I can now proudly say that it is one my favorites now with the incredible sound improvement it underwent. Of the two, "Plastic Ono Band" in my opinion has benefited the most from technology as the remixing has done wonders. When I put it in I was blown away by the clarity and the overall bass and treble equalization. To me the original had way too much bass and the drums were very dead sounding. From doing some research on recording of that era it was a big deal to make the drums sound like cardboard boxes which they did on the original "Plastic Ono Band" very well. "Double Fantasy" has always been one of my favorite Lennon/Ono albums. I notice the overall bass sound was really "kicked" up a notch! The bass drum and bass guitar are much louder than on the original version. I notice I have to turn the volume on my stereo down a little so I don't blow my speakers. One of the reviewers noted that "Help Me To Help Myself" sounds much better than the version on "The Dakota Days" and I must agree, it sure does. I am probably 100% sure that the reason is that much better equipment was used in the mixing of the demo by Yoko and group than those who produced The Unauthorized but great "Dakota Demos"! I will have to listen more closely to my original "Double Fantasy" CD because I noticed with careful scrutiny wearing headphones that on quite a few of the tracks on the new DF there seems to be a lot of distorted sound on songs such as "I'm Losing You," "I'm Moving On," "Yes I'm Your Angel" and "Beautiful Boys." One other observation is I wonder why they put "Do The Oz" and "Power To The People" on "Plastic Ono Band"? It would have been cool to have heard something truly rare and unique, however, I do enjoy them anyway. Bouncing back to DF, I was a bit disappointed by "Central Park Stroll." What was that? I expected a long dialogue and instead only heard about 10 seconds of talking and that was it.
Despite my small criticisms I recommend buying these two discs for the improved sound quality and the photos, some of which I have never seen before. The hand written lyrics sheets in "Plastic Ono Band" was a very classy touch and very interesting. Five Stars each!!!!!
Update (10/11/00) Lots of comments on the new reissues. First, from journalist Kevin O'Hare on the new Lennon reissues (thanks, Kevin!):
"The sound on both is superb. One interesting note on "Double Fantasy." The sound quality on "Help Me to Help Myself" seems much better than most of the other Lennon home demos. As those who've heard the bootleg know, the song starts off with the very haunting line, "Well I tried, so hard, to stay alive." But the line has been altered on the accompanying lyric sheet to read: "Well I tried so hard to settle down." Intriguing to say the least."
And from journalist Terry Ott (thanks, Terry!):
"Just picked up the new re-issues. First impressions: Both have excellent packagaing with full lyrics and new pix. The best thing about DF is the demo, Help me To help Myself." It would have made a great finished song. Yoko's stuff is-in retrospect-pretty good. Walking On Thin Ice and I'm Your Angel, are keepers. Can't really detect much improvement in sound quality, though.
But POB is way ahead of the earlier versions. Less muddy sounding and pumped up with solid bass, the disc is a big sonic improvment. Nice rare shots of John and Yoko inside, but honestly, the world could have done without "Do The Oz," perhaps one of John's most mediocre tunes.
But despite my quibbles, both are highly recommended.Once agin, Yoko has done a superb job as re-isssue producer."
And from David Goodwin, on the POB reissue (thanks!):
"It's VERY similar sound-wise to the Imagine reissue...no-noise has been applied, and everything has a bit of a "digital sheen" to me, but it still sounds excellent. The drums are improved tremendously (a lot more bass presence there), and there is a lot of attention to detail (the "quality shift" in "Working Class Hero" is still there, for example, although they probably had to recreate it). Vocals are more out front, it seems...If you liked the "Imagine" reissue, you'll like this. ... And one quick addition...the cover photo is MUCH darker..."
And an additional note from David:
I just noticed some new miscellany (as I quickly ABed it to the original mix):
a) LOTS of the muddiness is gone...especially on tracks like 'Mother.'
b) I don't know how this was on the original vinyl, but 'Hold On' seems a bit longer at the beginning than on my original Capitol CD.
c) The bell at the beginning of 'Mother' no longer has the weird high-end distortion (perhaps due to some treble filtering).
Anyway, hope this stuff helps!"
And from Rob (thanks!):
I heard the "Double Fantasy and Plastic Ono Band." Picked it up Tonight at Tower Records over the Tappen A bridge after midnight. Sounds amazing, although i like the Anthology versions better of "God" and basically every other song."
News brought to you by abbeyrd http://www.best.com/~abbeyrd/fabnews.htm
Peace, Love, and Beatles,
Beatle Me This, Beatle Me That
"After all is said and done, you can't go pleasing everyone, so screw it"