John Lennon

Village Tapes: Last Sessions

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These outtakes were not taken from John Lennon's last sessions (most of them aren't even among his final recordings), and few if any of them were recorded in "The Village," if that's Greenwich Village they're talking about. Such misleading packaging, however, is far from the worst of the sins committed by this bootleg. For this mishmash of unreleased Lennon solo material is not even 100-percent John Lennon. Instead, someone has taken the liberty of overdubbing an assortment of his outtakes with additional instrumentation, neither approved (obviously) nor played by Lennon himself. In some cases, it's more subtle than others, but it's often gratingly obvious, as in the instances where the Plastic Ono Band guitar-voice demo "When a Boy Meets a Girl" is swamped with sentimental strings, or a performance of "Imagine" is cluttered with annoyingly modern synthetics. Of course, these sort of fake constructions are not an unknown phenomenon in the bootleg world, where some have taken it upon themselves to manipulate, and add sounds/instrumentation/effects to, unreleased recordings by the Beatles (together and solo). Even setting aside the ethics of doing this (both in terms of tampering with the original artists' recordings and selling the result to collectors), however, whoever worked on these particular recordings was hardly working on the level of someone like George Martin. Unsurprisingly, the changes undergone by the tracks are not noted whatsoever in the CD packaging. It all adds up to a desecration that should be avoided, even by obsessives who want to get their hands on any music that has John Lennon on it.