Oct 9, 2011

John Lennon – Imagine... More Session Tapes

Publisher: Vigotone
Reference: VT-185/186
Date: 1999
Disc 1
01. How Do You Sleep?  - First rehearsal
02. How Do You Sleep?  - Riffing
03. How Do You Sleep?  - Another pass
04. How Do You Sleep?  - Tuning jam
05. How Do You Sleep?  - Slow rehearsal
06. How Do You Sleep?  - A bit of reggae
07. How Do You Sleep?  - "Slate 12" low vocal false start
08. How Do You Sleep?  - Low vocal false start #2
09. How Do You Sleep?  - Low vocal rehearsal
10. How Do You Sleep?  - Piano solo false start
11. How Do You Sleep?  - Piano solo
12. How Do You Sleep?  - Piano solo rehearsal
13. How Do You Sleep?  - Eight-track take one
14. How Do You Sleep?  - Phil's rhythm instructions
15. How Do You Sleep?  - Eight track take two
16. How Do You Sleep?  - ...from George's solo
17. Imagine
18. How
19. I'm The Greatest
20. John and George talk about "Beatle Ed"

Disc 2
01. It's So Hard                  - John starts tape
02. It's So Hard                  - King Curtis arrives
03. It's So Hard                  - Intro playback
04. It's So Hard                  - John demonstrates on acoustic
05. It's So Hard                  - King Curtis riffs
06. It's So Hard                  - First pass and more riffing
07. It's So Hard                  - Second pass
08. It's So Hard                  - King Curtis asks John a question
09. It's So Hard                  - Third pass
10. It's So Hard                  - John gives King Curtis feedback
11. It's So Hard                  - Another pass at the intro
12. It's So Hard                  - Another pass at the intro #2
13. It's So Hard                  - Last pass
14. I Don't Want To Be A Soldier  - John discusses the 1966 tour
15. I Don't Want To Be A Soldier  - First playback
16. I Don't Want To Be A Soldier  - Playback continued - the first "hit it"
17. I Don't Want To Be A Soldier  - Playback continued - the second "hit it"
18. I Don't Want To Be A Soldier  - John and King Curtis talk
19. I Don't Want To Be A Soldier  - First pass
20. I Don't Want To Be A Soldier  - John instructs King Curtis
21. I Don't Want To Be A Soldier  - Second pass
22. I Don't Want To Be A Soldier  - Third pass
23. I Don't Want To Be A Soldier  - Last pass

Although some of these tracks have appeared before, they are offered here in more 
complete form and in correct sequential order from a newly acquired mono monitor 
source tape.

Imagine...More Sessions Tapes takes you inside the sessions of one of the greatest 
Beatles solo albums.  You get to experience the finishing touches as they are 
applied in the final stages of the recording process.  Collected here for the 
first time are an uncut "How Do You Sleep" rehearsal, the complete King Curtis 
overdub session for "It's So Hard" and "I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don't 
Wanna Die", along with some additional tracks offered with improved sonic clarity.

Imagine...More Session Tapes compliments our previous edition of Imagine outtakes, 
and together with that set gives you the most complete picture of any of the 
ex-Beatles' solo albums.

Liner Notes

Imagine... if More Session Tapes from 1971 surfaced - of course you'd expect them 
to be added to Vigotone's on-going series examining the recorded work of John 
Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (ret). This latest offering is actually a companion to 
Vigotone's earlier critically acclaimed 3CD set: John Lennon: Imagine... All The 
Outtakes (VT118-120), and there the listener will find an in-depth examination of 
the Imagine album, along with a broad range of alternate takes, rehearsals and 
demos. On this set we offer a narrower focus, examining a bit more closely the 
elements that go into making an album - namely the rehearsals and overdubs that 
must be done as part of the working musicians' world. Admittedly, the repetitive 
nature and start and stop elements don't always lend themselves to the casual 
listening for pleasure that one might want at times, but as a way of looking into 
the mind and sometimes the heart of the artists, they can be quite revealing.
After the searing personal anguish of Plastic Ono Band, Lennon returned to calmer, 
more conventional territory with Imagine. While the album had a softer surface, 
it still was only somewhat less confessional. John has stated that "the first 
record was too real for people, so nobody bought it. Imagine ...because it is 
sugar coated is accepted. Now I understand what you have to do." If Imagine 
doesn't cut as deeply as POB, it is still a remarkable collection of songs that 
Lennon would never be able to better again.

Disc 1 - Rehearsals and filming session.

Tracks 1-16 - How Do You Sleep?
From the recording sessions at the Lennons' Tittenhurst home, John leads the 
musicians through several rehearsal run-throughs of his scathing ode to his former 
partner. As the rehearsals proceed, one can hear Lennon taking the band slowly 
through the various riff changes, chord progressions and nuances that he obviously 
felt this song required. At this stage, most work is geared toward the instrumental 
elements of the song; when he does add vocals they are obviously intended just to 
guide the players through the song and not as proper performances. On at least one 
occasion a slate number is called out for the film crew documenting the sessions 
for an accompanying film version of the album. 
Some of this footage was also utilized in the Imagine: John Lennon documentary.

Track 17 - Imagine
This version of "Imagine" features the same backing as the released version but 
has an alternate vocal marked take 7. Although this is the same version that opens 
Lost Lennon Tapes Volume 33, this is its first appearance from a tape source.

Track 18 - How
This track like the previous is the same version as that which appeared on the 
official Imagine album but with an alternate vocal. This tape source version 
supercedes its previous availability on Lost Lennon Tapes Volume 14 which was 
taken from a vinyl transcription disc.

Track 19 - I'm The Greatest
This version of "I'm The Greatest" is different from the one that appeared on the 
earlier Vigotone set but is from the same session. It has appeared previously on 
the scarce After The Remember CD, but is taken here from a superior tape source.

Disc 2 - Sax overdub (rec. New York City, 7/4/71)

After the basic tracks for Imagine had been recorded at the Lennons' Tittenhurst 
Ascot Sound Studios, they were then subject to overdubbing sessions at Record 
Plant studios in New York City during July 1971. While some songs were just given 
string overdubs, Lennon desired some grittier horn sounds on two of his harder-
sounding songs on the album, "It's So Hard" and "I Don't Want To Be A Soldier". 
It was only natural then that for some authentic R&B horn parts that Lennon should 
want a top-flight R&B artist, and It (wasn't) So Hard to find a good one in sax 
player King Curtis.
King Curtis (born Curtis Ousley) was the last of the great R&B tenor sax greats. 
He came to prominence in the mid-50's as a session musician in New York, 
recording at one time or another for most of the East Coast R&B labels. A long 
association with Atlantic/Atco began in 1958 and his playing is heard on hit 
recordings by the Coasters among many others.  He recorded singles under his own 
name for many small labels in the 1950's - his own Atco sessions ('58/'59), then 
Prestige/New Jazz and Prestige/TruSound for jazz and R&B albums in 1960 and 1961. 
In 1962 Curtis also enjoyed a #1 R&B hit with "Soul Twist" on Enjoy Records. He 
also contributed the sax solo on Buddy Holly's song "Reminiscing", a song covered 
by the Beatles during their Hamburg days. He was signed by Capitol for two years 
(1963-64), where he may have come into early contact with the Beatles through 
common label connections. He certainly made their acquaintance during the Beatles 
1965 U.S. tour, appearing with them at their famed Shea Stadium concert. He later 
led Aretha Franklin's backing band and took an active studio role at Atlantic 
Records, contracting sessions and producing. He was murdered a month after doing 
overdub work for the Imagine album, stabbed to death during a punch-up in front 
of his apartment. It was Friday the 13th, August 1971.

Tracks 1-13 - It's So Hard
As evident from this off-line tape, Lennon is in a relaxed, reflective mood as he 
greets King with remembrances of the last meeting from the Shea Stadium appearance. 
He's also in a productive mood as work begins right away on the overdubs for "It's 
So Hard". John clearly knows what he wants although, as George Martin once pointed 
out, he is not as technically expressive as brother Paul could be. Hence, his 
instructions to King come in the form of a lot of "ooh-oohs" and "ah-ahs" ads he 
tries to vocalize the parts he wants for the song. Fortunately King picks up on 
it rather effortlessly, soon nailing the opening sax bit, and riffing throughout 
the next couple of playback with an excited John calling out delighted 
encouragement ("...some great stuff on the solo!"). Certainly a good working 
atmosphere is evident this day.

Tracks 14-23 - I Don't Want To Be A Soldier
Next up comes a fairly straight-forward stab at everybody's favorite track on 
the album, after further reminiscing by John. This time it's about the scare the 
Beatles had on stage in the Bible Belt during the last 1966 US tour, with 
fireworks being thrown at the stage, and each of the Fabs looking about to see 
who had been shot. John seems amused as he remembers thinking that Ringo had got 
it! Again the tape shows work was done very efficiently for what would prove to 
be one of the last recording sessions for King Curtis.
He delivers what John calls for during numerous playbacks...a true professional 
to the end.   

In all, a brief, but interesting "fly on the wall" listening experience that can 
only make one appreciate even more one of the best post-Beatle albums by any of 
the Fab Four. What more could anyone want?

Queenie Epstein 
November 1999

Download from (all links are interchangeable)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

1 comment:

  1. Big thanks to you for these bootlegs!
    When will there be some more rare audio stuff? )
    Especially Solo bootlegs...


Send a request