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on April 12, 2000
Whoa, there! This album isn't nearly that bad. In fact, here's a rundown of why any self-repecting John Lennon fan cannot be without this album:
"Side 1" consists of five outtakes from the Rock'n'Roll/Walls and Bridges era, so this is the only place you'll find 'Here We Go Again', Rock and Roll People (which he gave to Johnny Winter), To Know Her Is To Love Her, and Since My Baby Left Me. Angel Baby was later released on the Lennon box, and is the only other place to find that cut. While I'm not saying that these are lost John Lennon classics, they've all got a rock and roll heart and are featured in pristine sound. They stand with the material on Rock'n'Roll, and are remastered much better.
But it is "Side 2" that really shines. These are stripped-down, magnificent sounding outtakes of songs that were released on Walls and Bridges. Like many of the similar outtakes that would surface on Anthology, I much prefer these versions to the 'produced' versions that grace the actual Walls and Bridges album. Every nuance of every sound is captured here. John's voice is frightfully real and close.
If you dig John Lennon, for God's sake, don't miss this album. It's one of the greatest unexpected pleasures in his catalog. Thanks, Yoko and Capital/EMI for releasing this. One gripe: how about a better package design and some liner notes?
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on October 28, 1998
A wonderful collection of songs, some very dark, that let us into John's musical and psychological space. No Lennon collection is complete without "Steel and Glass." "Rock and Roll People" and "Since My Baby Left Me" are just good ol' rock and roll, with John at his joyous best.
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on July 5, 2003
Why is Menlove Ave. getting such a bad rating? For one thing,there is no Yoko on this. You have to put this into perspective when you judge this album. And I do agree that you have to be a true Lennon fan to enjoy this. The casual fan will not like this. But I dont judge anything based on what a casual fan would like...who cares what they think? Why would a casual fan buy posthumous CD's anyway? The man is dead and can not make any more music,why not release these tracks? These tracks are good enough to be released for a true Lennon fan and not the casual. And in my opinion the Walls and Bridges outtakes on Menlove Ave. are almost as good as the cuts on the Walls and Bridges album ,wich were way overproduced in my opinion. Scared and Old Dirt Road reminds me of an unplugged type of venue. There are parts of the 'live' songs where the band is a bit ragged,but they were working out the kinks and getting the tracks down. If these tracks were not so ragged,they would be better than the official Walls and Bridges album. And for the true Lennon fan,its nice to hear these tracks at their conception being worked out. Again,put this into perspective. Im giving this 5 stars to help boost the score on this web site...but I really think it should be a 4.
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on January 9, 1999
This appears to be a collection of outakes from the Rock and Roll album and demos for Walls and Bridges. The Phil Spector-produced Angel Baby is supposed to have been cut and pasted to make it artificially longer. It seems to just plod along, lumbering here and there, never really hitting that GROOVE. No wonder it was an outake from the Rock and Roll album. The demo versions are intresting glimpses of songs in the making. All the demos seem slower than the final versions that mostly appeared on Walls and Bridges. I guess that's to be expected till the songs were learned by everyone and finalized.
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on June 14, 1999
In 1973 and 1974, Lennon released some of his shakiest albums, "Mind Games," "Walls and Bridges" and "Rock and Roll." This was during his "Lost Weekend" phase, and he resembles Paul McCartney more than himself on these somewhat overproduced but affecting records. "Menlove" presents early, stripped down versions of songs from "Rock and Roll" and "Walls and Bridges." The "Walls and Bridges" section is amazing, harrowing. The original versions which seemed a distant memory come to life, like "Scared" and "Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out." "Menlove Ave." is a short precursor to the superior 1998 box "John Lennon Anthology."
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on November 23, 2010
I bought this album when it came out and my Lennon collection was still incomplete. I didn't own Walls and Bridges yet, so side two of this album was my introduction to some of the best tracks from that album. Without exception I prefer the Menlove Avenue versions of these songs, not just because that's how I first heard them but because they have the same sort of stripped down sound that Plastic Ono Band does. This is intimate, emotional music. When I finally heard Walls and Bridges I was disappointed that John had drowned these great songs in such heavy (and dated) production. I still listen to Walls and Bridges far more often than Menlove Avenue because it's much stronger as a collection, but I wish it sounded like this.

Then, of course, there's side one... Everyone here seems to despise it and I agree that it's pretty weak, Phil Spector ran amok on these tracks, but they've still got John's great voice. This side is not great art, but much of it is fairly entertaining and John's primal scream partway through To Know Her Is To Love Her is a tremendous release (which the song desperately needs).

One has to wonder upon hearing the wealth of material on the Lennon Anthology why these tracks were chosen for this release. There was clearly enough other great music in the can that this album could have been fantastic.

For fanatics (like myself) this is worth getting just for side two. For the rest of you, this is probably a waste of money.
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on September 2, 2013
This album is enlightening if you know the back story on these tracks, but don't go there if you're just a casual Lennon fan as you'll wonder what all the fuss is over. The early Walls & Bridges takes on Side 1 are preferable in many ways to the finished versions on the album, and for Side 2, you get a glimpse of how out-of-control those early Rock n' Roll sessions with Spector really were.....and I'm a Spector fan......but it's clear to see how out-of-their-heads they must have been. When you consider that a year later, Lennon went back to Record Plant (East) and laid down those fantastic tracks that rounded out that troubled album, you can see how much more together he was without Spector's presence.
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on July 18, 2012
What does the artist owe the public, armchair critics? Get over it - whether you like it or not, Lennon recorded this stuff - with the intention of releasing it. As such, it reflects how he saw his music as a form of communication, social commentary, etc. And Yoko has done what many people in charge of artistic estates have done - made as much available by the artist as possible. Stop being cry babies because he didn't record a CD that you like. He didn't record it for you.
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on February 4, 2015
I love all the outtakes. Its great to hear John with his friends exploring the tunes before finding the final masters. I feel like buying this disc just one time isn't enough and I should buy it at least twice. Three times wouldn't be a problem for me.
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on August 5, 2013
I love this album; the last four songs alone make it worth a purchase. I prefer the slower versions of "Scared" to "Walls and Bridges". Also, am a big fan of "Here we go again" and (my favorite) "Nobody loves you (when you're down and out). "Old Dirt Road" is (in my opinion) a tad nicer on "Wall and Bridges", but it's still a great song. What makes this album terrific, is that it's pure, unadulterated music. John Lennon singing from the heart - no extra bells and whistles.
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