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on November 23, 2005
Aside from their late '60s experimental albums, "Sometime in New York City" remains Johnandyoko's weakest effort. Yoko improves this remastered reissue by shaving off half of the "Live Jam" portion, with "Jambag," "Scumbag" and "Au" all coming under the ax. Oddly, she also edits her own "Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking for a Hand in the Snow)" and takes two minutes off of the end of "We're All Water," probably her best song on the album. She adds the single "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" and her own terrific "Listen, the Snow is Falling." Over all, it's an improvement on any prior edition, but especially over the muddy-sounding 1990 CD.
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on September 2, 2006
another fine restoration supervised by Yoko Ono. I think this was a commercial and career disaster for Lennon when it was released at some sky high price during the 1972 election campaign. Now it's an interesting period piece. Feminism was the hot topic that year, and Lennon sang about it like a recent convert in "Woman is the Nigger". Lyrics get silly but the vocal and production are first rate. Elephant's Memory was a nice backing group with at least one radio hit of their own ("Mongoose" I think). Yoko's "Sisters O Sisters" is lyrically quaint and musically very witty as it sort of evokes the Phil Spector heyday. And I love the singing couple on "Born in a Prison" although the lyric gets very silly. And Yoko does ruin "Luck of the Irish" with her "blarney." And her willful avoidance of western pop singing tradition can seem very strange. She also misses rhythm and meter on the "Water" song. The best Lennon numbers from this record are on the new soundtrack about his persecution from the U.S. federal government. But you'd miss the great live vocal on "Baby Please Don't Go".

Basically Ono went for broadly general artistic statements and Lennon wrote songs as almost a visceral response to heavy handed violence practiced by various governments. Unfortunately his fascination with all things "instant" prevented him from rounding these protests into strong songs.
11 comment12 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Although sonically it sounds less muddy with the remixed sound, "Sometime in New York City" still is the worst album that Lennon recorded during his brief post-Beatles career. Certainly there are some songs with merit including Lennon's "New York City" and "Woman is the Nigger of the World" but most of the lyrics are political sloganeering put to a rock 'n' roll soundtrack. Lennon was just as political and less forced sounding on this first two solo albums. For all its lyrical drawbacks, Lennon rocks in spots with conviction and his blues playing on tracks like "John Sinclair" are memorable. Phil Spector's original mix sounds less muddy with the remix and sonic detail is clearer with better depth to the recording. At times the previous CD could sound quite mushy.

Condensed to a single disc and dropping the part of the jam session The addition of the two bonus tracks will make Lennon completist happy as it makes them more likely to listen to the last part of the CD. "Happy Xmas" sounds terrific (as usual)while "Don't Worry Kyoko" is still a slice of sonic pie with its lilting Japense sounding melody.

Lennon would regroup with the much more commerically charged "Mind Games". There craft would dominate the material. He would also be going on his "lost weekend" pretty soon away from Yoko relocating to Los Angeles to hang with best friend Harry Nilsson.
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on January 9, 2014
Okay, so I'm a very weird person, but that can't be the only reason why I love this seemingly universally hated record. Of course, it's a time capsule, it was meant to be. But that doesn't mean they didn't rock their hippie tucuses off, or boogie them off, or lilt them off in lullabies so gorgeous you could fall asleep and dream of people's revolution. There's so much great music on this record -- the insanely lush, floaty arrangement that propels the blunt apercus of the opening track, the dynamic all-out break that comes in "Angela," the funny headlong rush of "We're All Water," the eerie perfect chord changes in "Born in a Prison." After all, "Imagine" now fits cozily in with the money-grubbing world of American Idol. This warped, righteous shocker never will.
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on August 30, 2006
For me, and I may be alone on this, the comedic highlight of the album is in the live portion when John is tearing through "Baby Please Don't Go" and in between the Lennon's phrases Yoko injects her, and I use the term lightly here, "singing". It just has to be heard to be believed. You could not make this kind of stuff up. You could NOT make it up. The remaster sounds good and the big surprise is that this album rocks. I go around humming "Attica State" sometimes and there are a lot of nice musical touches, the slide guitars on John Sinclair or the chord changes of "Woman is the Nigger of the World". The new CD is cut (this does not include all of the original album) but does sound pretty good. I had an original 8-track of this album, still laying around the house somewhere, and I don't think the cuts will be missed much unless you just have to hear everything.

This is a very mixed bag but John is in spectacular voice. If anyone else had done this album it would have been a total bomb (why does this remind me of Elvis' early 1960s recordings). This is not the place to start digging into Lennon's albums, "John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band" would be my vote for that, but it does have enough merit to venture a listen to, a very quirky cause-of-the-moment kind of album.
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on November 27, 2005
As you are undoubtedly aware, Sometime in New York City is not typically grouped together with Lennon's strongest albums. In fact, it's often considered to be his worst.

As far as the remaster/remix goes, however, this is a tremendous leap from the 1990 CD release (or even the original LP, for that matter). The sound is very clean and crisp overall, as opposed to the somewhat muddled/muffled sound of the 1990 version. And while it's true that the topics of John and Yoko's political protests, like "John Sinclair" and "Attica State," haven't exactly kept with the times, the songs still sound fresher than ever.

Although some may grumble and complain about the album's political slant, each song from the original first disc is very listenable. I have never been much of a Yoko fan myself, so I was surprised to find "Sisters, O Sisters" and "We're All Water" quite enjoyable. And of course, Lennon's tracks are filled with his biting lyric and sharp voice that keep the album rolling smoothly.

The live jam "bonus" disc (some would call the phrase "bonus disc" a cruel joke in this case) has been ditched entirely, save for "Cold Turkey," "Don't Worry Kyoko," and "Well Baby Please Don't Go," the strongest songs of the jam. Thankfully, Yoko was wise enough to keep "Jamrag," "Scumbag," and "Au" off the album. Thank God. Although these three tracks are certainly the weakest on the album (and I am sure that Yoko herself knows this), they provide the listener with just enough (and not too much) of the performance with Zappa to stay interested.

The album closes with two bonus tracks, "Listen The Snow Is Falling" and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," neither of which really fit in but are still a suitable and enjoyable close to the album.

While it may be true that this album isn't one of the highlights of Lennon's collection, it is an essential piece for any Lennon (or Ono) fan. Don't let someone else tell you what to think of this album without hearing it for yourself first. You may be surprised to find that it isn't so bad after all.
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on April 6, 2006
...is likely due to Yoko Ono's wish to avoid conflict with the the estate of Frank Zappa. Frank Zappa had stated in an audio interview (which, as late as 2002, could be found on the bootleg file-sharing services as "Frank Zappa Interview About John Lennon") that John and Yoko had appropriated their Fillmore East jam with him without permission. What had particularly angered Zappa was that "Scumbag" and "Jamrag" were parts of Zappa's own composition "King Kong" that John and Yoko had edited from the longer piece, renamed, and put on this album without so much as a please or thank you, let alone a royalty. Worse, they had credited those parts of the jam to themselves. Whatever the Lennons' contribution to the piece, it was still Frank Zappa's song. (For example, Paul McCartney was credited by George Harrison himself for coming up with the piano line that opened Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" -- but it's still Harrison's song. Paul McCartney did not get co-writing credit.)

Given the enormous wealth of his adversaries Zappa despaired of finding justice in a court of law, so he retaliated by writing a piece called "A Small Eternity With Yoko Ono" and telling anyone who asked his side of the story about his time with the Lennons. For my part, I'm impressed that Yoko left any part of the Fillmore East concert with Zappa on the album at all. She may not have apologized, but at least she didn't perpetuate the steal-and-rename-and-claim-for-credit crime into the next century.

I have not heard this remaster, so my rating is due to my memories of the original album. As much as I applaud the Lennons for having their hearts in the right place, I have to agree with the general criticism that the songcraft fell too easily into self-parody. I recommend the albums *Plastic Ono Band* and *Imagine* for examples of political statements in music done right. That the title track of the latter album still rankles right-wingers and Christo-fascist Talibanners today all but settles the argument.
99 comments19 of 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Some Time In New York City is an album even some die hard John Lennon fans don't well know, but should. The album came out on CD years after most albums by major starts did so. This album has a reputation of being one of Lennon's weakest. I'll debunk this.

True, Some Time In New York City, really is a aural newspaper from 1972. The album deals with the Attica State Prison Riot, Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland, feminism, and Nixon. Very little here has any relevance in 2010, as Lennon and Ono tackled these issues in extremely concrete ways.

The music is what makes the case for Some Time In New York City. Both Lennon and his backup here, Elephants Memory, were in the perfect place at the perfect time. The Elephants were a radical hippie street band, able to play jazz rock but also match Lennon's raw rock cred. Check outElephant's Memory.

"Women Is The Nig--r Of The World," "Sunday Bloody Sunday," anything here really, impresses me as radical soul rock. The big sax and muddy guitars--Lennon and Ono had recorded clean takes and redid them to dirty them up--are the counterpoint to the pristine production of late-60s Beatles. Just the kind of raw rock Lennon loved but with crack Elephant players. Perfect. If you are young and know absolutely nothing of the long ago events that this album tackles, you only need dig on the Lennon brand of rock and roll.

'Yoko Ono plays equal part as writer and singer. That is most effective on disc two, not with the Elephant's Memory, but a jam with Frank Zappa and Flo and Eddie era Mothers. Her voice works better as an instrument of free playing than of song structure.
It is like a jazz trumpet or sax.

A roaring version of Lennon's "Cold Turkey" is amazing for its primal playing, and of course you get the expert whack of a Zappa free jam. As usual, uncle Franks guitar playing proves why he is the most unrecognized guitar hero of any rock era. The two rebels have a blast, on the Lennon track, a version of Zappa's "King Kong," and improvisations like "Sc-mbag." I only regret that these two geniuses did not collaborate on more than a one off live album. Lennon's earnestness and Zappa's irony are a perfect match.

After the show, Lennon and Zappa got together for lunch and agreed to share the rights to the tapes. Zappa issued these with much better mixes--bolstered by early 1990s technology-on Playground Psychotics.

Either way, the fact that there are so few reviews of a John Lennon album shows you only there is always undiscovered gold to be found, even from the most obvious of sources
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on January 8, 2006
I was looking forward to listening to a remastered version of "Scumbag" but it looks like it isn't going to happen. This is like removing the Apple Jam Cd from All Things Must Pass.
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on October 23, 2014
... Except that individually, the songs "The Luck of the Irish" I would rate 5 stars, "Woman is the Nigger of the World" and "Born in a Prison" I would rate 4 to 4 1/2 stars, and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" I'd give 3 1/2 to 4 stars.

"The Luck of the Irish" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" are a bit historically dated, but give good insight into the pain and suffering the Irish suffered in past centuries. (They have finally got their own country now, mostly, good on 'em.)

"Born in a Prison", although written in 1972 (?) is amazingly as much or more topical today as it was then... if you do any online research at all about the true state of our national and world economy, you'll see what I mean.

"Woman is the Nigger of the World" is an amazingly bold track; no one else in the media dared point out such things back then. It's fortunately somewhat less true today for American women, although many still seem to be in the thrall of "paint your face, be skinny, and smile at everyone or no one will like you" propaganda. Unfortunately, in many areas of the rest of the world, it is still very very true, with women getting shot for wanting to go to school, acid thrown in their faces for appearing in public without being totally covered head to toe, and uncountable rapes and murders. If you were a child, especially a tomboy, in the 1960's this song will bring back memories.

The remainder of the tracks are more "art" or "performance art" kinds of work. I'm not sure if Yoko Ono is channeling the vocals of Kabuki or what (very possible), but her vocal performances on these tracks are very, very different from what we're used to in American rock music. A kind of keening, wailing technique which most American listeners will find kind of alien.
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