We got some good ones today in our examination of this week's new CDs. A couple of the titles are certainly Hathaway house favorites but there are other noteworthy items and we'll take a look at those as well.
70th Birthday Campaign
John Lennon was murdered when I was 7 years old but you bet your ass I already knew who he was and could sing many, many of his songs. I was a Beatles fan before I was anything else and I loved other songs of his from his solo career even though I didn't completely understand the difference at that point. Despite the span of generations touched by Lennon and his music, I don't think it's easy for any of us to believe he would have turned 70 years old this week.
Lennon isn't here to celebrate that with us but Yoko Ono and Lennon's label are marking the occasion with a series of new titles, repackagings, and re-issues. The cynical among us will see this as little more than cashing in and for some people involved in this process the bottom line is probably the only line they see. Beyond the cynicism, this effort to repackage and reissue the Lennon catalog is an opportunity to point old and new fans to the amazing breadth of the man's post-Beatles work following last year's long overdue re-release of The Beatles' discography.
Of note in this year's set is that each of Lennon's songs have been digitally remastered. Again. What sets these apart is that some of the fine talents that oversaw the revelatory remastering of The Beatles' catalog joined with Ono to remaster Lennon's solo material. The previous Lennon remasters were also remixed. These new discs are remasters of the original mixes released by Lennon. I haven't had the chance to listen to all of this side by side but there is reason to believe these might be the best sounding Lennon tracks made available on CD to date. Each Lennon album has been re-issued and there are two box sets on sale. The first, The Signature Box, packages all of Lennon's discs as well as some rarities. The 4-CD Gimme Some Truth box packages Lennon's songs in four thematic discs: "Roots," which focuses on Lennon songs that reflect his early rock influences, "Working Class Hero," which emphasizes Lennon's political side, "Woman," which collects his love songs, and "Borrowed Time," which gathers his observations about life. There is also another title being offered called Double Fantasy Stripped Down, which is a remix of the Double Fantasy album presented in a sparser arrangement.