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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You should have been there-Dr. Winston O'Boogie
On the verge of retirement from music, John Lennon went back to the music he loved as a kid. "Rock 'n' Roll" came out just at the right time; punk was about to explode and bands like The Clash, Elvis Costello and the Attractions were only a couple of years away from revitalizing rock'n'roll. "Rock 'N'Roll" shows Lennon trying to catch his breath after a whirlwind of...
Published on November 3, 2004 by Wayne Klein

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Happy to have it for the good tracks
Sweet Little Sixteen is awful, but the other Spector tracks are pretty good, even with that weird attenuated sound. Otherwise Ya Ya swings pretty good and Do You Wanna Dance? is an effective arrangement. There are some very ineffective arrangements as well, though, particularly the Little Richard numbers and Ain't That a Shame. And it's no surprise that To Know Her is...
Published on February 10, 2006 by G. Wallace


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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You should have been there-Dr. Winston O'Boogie, November 3, 2004
This review is from: Rock 'N' Roll (Audio CD)
On the verge of retirement from music, John Lennon went back to the music he loved as a kid. "Rock 'n' Roll" came out just at the right time; punk was about to explode and bands like The Clash, Elvis Costello and the Attractions were only a couple of years away from revitalizing rock'n'roll. "Rock 'N'Roll" shows Lennon trying to catch his breath after a whirlwind of twelve years in the spotlight. Featuring superlative remakes of "Be-Bop-A-Lula", "Stand By Me" (which Lennon makes very much his own with his passionate almost pleading vocal), "You Can't Catch me" (one of the Chuck Berry songs that Lennon supposedly stole from for "Come Together". Beyond the hypnotic opening and a couple of lines, it's a very different song) and a stunning version of "Peggy Sue", it's clear that after "Walls & Bridges" that Lennon was looking to the past to inspire him. In fact, "Rock 'N' Roll" acts as a perfect bridge to Lennon's last finished album "Double Fantasy" that would come out five years later.

What matters here is whether or not the remixing/remastering process has improved the album. Yes and yes. While one can argue about remixing an album, Yoko Ono and remix engineer Peter Cobbin focus on cleaning up the album without making it sound sterile. There's still plenty of grit in these performances but the detail and sonic clarity has been improved enourmously.

We get four bonus tracks two of which have been released before on the "John Lennon Anthology" boxed set or "Menlove Ave" album. The four tracks provide an interesting glimpse into what oculd have been a much different album. It's fun to have them available all in one spot. A reprise of "Just Because" is particularly touching as Lennon continues his monologue that concluded that song and says "Hi to Ringo, Paul and George". It's rather touching that, after all they went through when The Beatles broke up, that Lennon would take the time sent a greeting to his former bandmates (there's also a witty reference to Lennon's "Goodnight Vienna" which closed out Ringo's album of the same name in a similar fashion).

The booklet, on the other hand, is a bit more a problem. One review mentioned that the album has all the credits listed. That's not quite accurate. While the original album and reissued CD credits are here, we have no idea as to who's playing what on various tracks. There's no lyrics which, even though Lennon didn't write these songs, would have been nice to have as well. Finally, I wish that Yoko had included the guitar tab for these songs since Lennon radically rearranged some of these tunes himself. That's a minor quibble at best and doesn't effect the music. I would also liked to have an essay on the making of the album with interviews from some of the surviving session musicians involved.

"Rock 'N' Roll" finds Lennon looking to his past to reinvent himself yet again. It provides a perfect bridge to Lennon's last complete album "Double Fantasy" and the sparkling sound brings many of these classic performances back to life again. While one can quibble about Yoko's right to remix the album, she's done a great job trying to stay true to the original mixes while improving the sonic clarity. Here's hoping that the criminally underappreciate "Walls & Bridges" is next on the remaster front with the demo tracks from "Menlove Ave" for "Walls" included as well. I'm hoping that album will have a limited edition cover similar to the original fold out cover of the vinyl.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Re-release of a John Lennon Album of Rock and Roll, November 7, 2004
This review is from: Rock 'N' Roll (Audio CD)
The original 1975 album was one of Mr. Lennon's post-Beatles projects. The album cover by Jurgen Vollmer features a young John Lennon (1960?) in a doorway of a Hamburg nightclub before a performance. In those days, the Beatles did covers of the American rock and roll classics of the 1950's that so heavily influenced their early work. This album is a homage to Mr. Lennon roots.

Begun as part of a settlement to a plagiarism lawsuit in 1973, Mr. Lennon turned to Phil Spector again (he completed the "Let It Be" record when the Beatles dissolved the band). But the collaboration foundered on the overproduction excesses of Mr. Spector and Mr. Lennon completed the album himself in 1975.

All of this material has been released before either on the original album or the "Menlove Avenue." The ballads are not as successful as the rockers (such as "Peggy Sue") that Mr. Lennon so clearly enjoys here. The reprise of "Just Because" is priceless for a typical John Lennon Christmas greeting to various persons. The sound is digitally remastered and sounds great. If you are a John Lennon fan , then you will like this album.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting remastered CD!, November 2, 2004
By 
Matthew G. Sherwin (last seen screaming at Amazon customer service) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rock 'N' Roll (Audio CD)
This is an exciting album! Originally released in 1975, this CD remains John's tribute to some of his musician heroes. Now this album has been digitally remastered for re-release on CD with four bonus songs, making this a wonderful John Lennon CD to own. Lennon's voice and musical accompaniment here are very strong; he was in first class shape for these recordings. Lennon's prowess as a uniquely talented singer and musician creates a selection of songs performed in a very special style. On this CD John rocks, sings romantic ballads with reggae beats added in, and emotes all the emotions of love, lust, sadness, and honest expression. The production of the CD also allowed Lennon to perform songs reminiscent of his younger and more innocent youthful life before fame with The Beatles. The intensity, the power of John's voice displays the passion he felt about these songs and their writers.

John pays tribute to quite a few great talents here: Chuck Berry ("Sweet Little Sixteen," "You Can't Catch Me"), Buddy Holly ("Peggy Sue"), and Ben E. King ("Stand By Me") are just a few. John loved and worshiped these people and this tribute is John's way of thanking them for inspiring him and not just a tribute.

The four bonus tracks are: a medley of "Bring It On Home To Me" and "Send Me Some Lovin'," "Bony Moronie," "Ya Ya," and "Just Because." Phil Spector produced some of the songs here.

The insert doesn't include liner notes but the credits are listed completely. There are great black and white photos of John from Yoko's personal collection.

The CD is a must have for John's fans as well as Beatles' fans. Fans of rock and roll legends like Buddy Holly and Little Richard can also delight in this CD. Buy this album and enjoy John's music. John was a treasure to us all; and through John's music on CDs such as this one he lives on.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hindsight isn't necessarily 20/20, but...., November 8, 2004
By 
Gordon Pfannenstiel (Russell, KS United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rock 'N' Roll (Audio CD)
At the time Rock'n'Roll came out, I was not excited about it; in fact, anything but. I thought Lennon's career had taken some heavy hits. In the previous two years he'd followed up the respectable Imagine LP with the god-awful Sometime in NYC, he emabarrassed himself repeatedly during his lost weekend, managed to put out two more workmanlike, mediocre LPs and, finally, released Rock'n'Roll before 'retiring' for five years to be with his son.

So I bought it, just like I bought everything that every ex-Beatle released. I didn't have great expectations, but, still, it WAS John Lennon so I did have some goosebumps when I put it on the turntable. I listened to it all the way through, but it was a job. It sounded to me like it was recorded in someone's garage with a hand held mic. So I put it on the shelf, and pretty much left it there.

Over the years, I've gone back to it once or twice, and the production wasn't quite as bad as I thought (but pretty close). What was a revelation was the Rock'n'Roll outtakes that were included on Anthology. Man, the sound was up front and glorious! It made me realise that most of the problem with Rock'n'Roll was the mix...that the performances underneath were pretty damned inspired. Then when they started remixing and remastering Lennon's catalog, I got really excited. I imagined that they would make the whole LP sound as good as those Anthology outtakes.....

....well, that was wishful thinking. The sound on the studio tracks on Anthology, ALL the studio tracks on anthology, was just stunning. And I realize they couldn't have changed the "sound" of Rock'n'Roll that much. It just wouldn't have sounded like the same album. So, to be fair, what we get is a pretty good comprimise. Not as sonically stunning as the RnR outtakes on Anthology, but MUCH better than the original mix.

So, Rock'n'Roll finally takes its rightful place in the Lennon cannon. It's John doing the songs that he loved in his formative years, the songs that inspired him to start the Beatles and revolutionize popular music. And the sound is a great improvement. For those reasons, this is now a 5-star album.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You should have been there., November 3, 2004
This review is from: Rock 'N' Roll (Audio CD)
This album was one of the first to make its way into my record collection started some 30 years ago. Since then, 'Rock N Roll' has consistently remained one of my favorites. Back in '87 when the CD release was only available as a $20 UK import, I rushed to purchase it. My reason for mentioning this is to say that over the past 29 years, I wasn't actually listening to John Lennon's Rock N Roll. I made this discovery after listening to the first few minutes of the remastered edition this past weekend. The remastering delivers the texture and strength of performace that Lennon intended when initiating this project. With the session halting Phil Spector fiasco in '73 and Lennon's imminent retirement in '75, Capitol(and Lennon) hastily packaged Rock N Roll and Shaved Fish to finish out Lennon's contractual obligation. Thirty years later, Rock N Roll, in my opinion, sees its 'official' release. Hear John Lennon's passion for what inspired his life's ambition...music. Make note, that during the recording of these sessions, Lennon was shielded from the misguidance of political fanaticism, Yoko(they were separated at the time) and the series of distractions that often plagued him throughout his career. It has never been more apparent that Lennon's passion wasn't transcendental meditation, bagism, scream therapy, the yippie movement, the avant garde, or even his glorified house husbandry...but Rock N Roll. Listen closely.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the heart of a true rocker, November 8, 2004
By 
Blues Bro "bluesbro" (Lakewood, Colorado USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rock 'N' Roll (Audio CD)
I've never heard any album on which John sounds as happy as on this one. He not only sings, but screams these songs with all his guts. You can understand how much these songs meant to the man by listening to this tribute album of the golden age of Rock n Roll. The remixing/remastering job is excellent, i own an old 80's LP and the sound difference compared to this CD is like night and day. The bonus tracks are not upt to the same standard, but they are welcome. The booklet is a shame, just 4 pages including the cover, and I almost deduct one star because of it, but I am just too happy now with the sound of this to complain.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a great FUN album, January 16, 2005
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This review is from: Rock 'N' Roll (Audio CD)
Ah...I remember driving around for hours and hours, going nowhere in particular, with the 8-track (!) of this great album as the soundtrack for my adventures....I don't know how to pin it down -- whether it's John's GREAT vocals, the driving beat of every song, or just that unexplainable "spirit" present in the music as a whole -- but this is one of my favorite John albums....play it, remember John, scream out the lyrics, and it'll keep a smile on your face!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Happy to have it for the good tracks, February 10, 2006
By 
G. Wallace (Hilliard, OH USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rock 'N' Roll (Audio CD)
Sweet Little Sixteen is awful, but the other Spector tracks are pretty good, even with that weird attenuated sound. Otherwise Ya Ya swings pretty good and Do You Wanna Dance? is an effective arrangement. There are some very ineffective arrangements as well, though, particularly the Little Richard numbers and Ain't That a Shame. And it's no surprise that To Know Her is to Love Her got left out once you hear it. It doesn't come close to the version Lennon was singing on the BBC circa 1963. I wish Lennon would have gone with more obscure tunes and less horns and studio gee whiz.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lennon lets it rip., March 7, 2001
By 
"classicrockfan" (Gurnee, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rock N Roll (Audio CD)
I'm starting to appreciate this middle period of John Lennon's career. In late 1973, Morris Levy, the owner of the Chuck Berry songs, threatened to sue Lennon for plagurism sighting Come Together as a copy of You Can't Catch Me. Lennon agreed to make an "Oldie's" album with 3 Berry cover versions. It started out as an album made under duress, but it didn't end that way. Lennon sings his heart out in songs like Stand By Me, You Can't Catch Me, and Just Because. He sounds like he's having a whole lotta fun singing Rip It Up/Reddy Teddy, Slippin' & Slidin', Peggy Sue and Ya Ya. If I had to pick a least favorite cover, it would be Do You Wanna Dance? It has a cajun feel to it, but it doesn't work on this song. All in all, I would recommend buying this album.
However, the current CD pressing of this album isn't remastered. Hopefully, Capitol/EMI will give it a 20 bit remastering and a book with details about the recording sessions. Also, it would be great if an uncut version of Be My Baby were included. A cut version of this song is on Lennon Anthology, but as of now remains the only song from that session yet to be released uncut on CD (unless you find a bootleg).
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The topper most of the poper most, November 14, 2004
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This review is from: Rock 'N' Roll (Audio CD)
Finally! We get a remastered versions of one of Lennon's truist heart felt rock album (CD). This has always been one of my favorites, and is always generally given mediocer reviews by the critics. Lennon does a great job reworking the arrangements and adding his personal wit and passion to all of the tracks. His voice is without a doubt blistering and full on! And you can hear why he was one of the best rock vocalists! He belts out Boney Maronie, Peggy Sue, You Can't Catch Me with raw passion, that brings back memories of his voice shredding version of Twist and Shout. The music is spot on and the remastering job is outstanding! This is a must own for anyone interested in Lennon's solo careers. GET IT!
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