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Rock - Released November 17, 1980 | BEATLES CATALOG MKT (C91)

The most distinctive thing about Double Fantasy, the last album John Lennon released during his lifetime, is the very thing that keeps it from being a graceful return to form from the singer/songwriter, returning to active duty after five years of self-imposed exile. As legend has it, Lennon spent those years in domestic bliss, being a husband, raising a baby, and, of course, baking bread. Double Fantasy was designed as a window into that bliss and, to that extent, he decided to make it a joint album with Yoko Ono, to illustrate how complete their union was. For her part, Ono decided to take a stab at pop and while these are relatively tuneful for her, they nevertheless disrupt the feel and flow of Lennon's material, which has a consistent tone and theme. He's surprisingly sentimental, not just when he's expressing love for his wife ("Dear Yoko," "Woman") and child ("Beautiful Boy [Darling Boy]"), but when he's coming to terms with his quiet years ("Watching the Wheels," "Cleanup Time") and his return to creative life. These are really nice tunes, and what's special about them is their niceness -- it's a sweet acceptance of middle age, which, of course, makes his assassination all the sadder. For that alone, Double Fantasy is noteworthy, yet it's hard not to think that it's a bit of a missed opportunity -- primarily because its themes would be stronger without the Ono songs, but also because the production is just a little bit too slick and constrained, sounding very much of its time. Ultimately, these complaints fall by the wayside because Lennon's best songs here cement the last part of his legend, capturing him at peace and in love. According to some reports, that perception was a bit of a fantasy, but sometimes the fantasy means more than the reality, and that's certainly the case here. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 27, 1970 | BEATLES CATALOG MKT (C91)

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Without a doubt, George Harrison's first solo recording, originally issued as a triple album, is his best. Drawing on his backlog of unused compositions from the late Beatles era, Harrison crafted material that managed the rare feat of conveying spiritual mysticism without sacrificing his gifts for melody and grand, sweeping arrangements. Enhanced by Phil Spector's lush orchestral production and Harrison's own superb slide guitar, nearly every song is excellent: "Awaiting on You All," "Beware of Darkness," the Dylan collaboration "I'd Have You Anytime," "Isn't It a Pity," and the hit singles "My Sweet Lord" and "What Is Life" are just a few of the highlights. A very moving work, with a slight flaw: the jams that comprise the final third of the album are somewhat dispensable, and have probably only been played once or twice by most of the listeners who own this record. Those same jams, however, played by Eric Clapton, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, and Jim Gordon (all of whom had just come off of touring as part of Delaney & Bonnie's band), proved to be of immense musical importance, precipitating the formation of Derek & the Dominos. Thus, they weren't a total dead end, and may actually be much more to the liking of the latter band's fans. © Richie Unterberger & Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 27, 1970 | BEATLES CATALOG MKT (C91)

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Without a doubt, George Harrison's first solo recording, originally issued as a triple album, is his best. Drawing on his backlog of unused compositions from the late Beatles era, Harrison crafted material that managed the rare feat of conveying spiritual mysticism without sacrificing his gifts for melody and grand, sweeping arrangements. Enhanced by Phil Spector's lush orchestral production and Harrison's own superb slide guitar, nearly every song is excellent: "Awaiting on You All," "Beware of Darkness," the Dylan collaboration "I'd Have You Anytime," "Isn't It a Pity," and the hit singles "My Sweet Lord" and "What Is Life" are just a few of the highlights. A very moving work, with a slight flaw: the jams that comprise the final third of the album are somewhat dispensable, and have probably only been played once or twice by most of the listeners who own this record. Those same jams, however, played by Eric Clapton, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, and Jim Gordon (all of whom had just come off of touring as part of Delaney & Bonnie's band), proved to be of immense musical importance, precipitating the formation of Derek & the Dominos. Thus, they weren't a total dead end, and may actually be much more to the liking of the latter band's fans. © Richie Unterberger & Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 27, 1970 | BEATLES CATALOG MKT (C91)

Without a doubt, George Harrison's first solo recording, originally issued as a triple album, is his best. Drawing on his backlog of unused compositions from the late Beatles era, Harrison crafted material that managed the rare feat of conveying spiritual mysticism without sacrificing his gifts for melody and grand, sweeping arrangements. Enhanced by Phil Spector's lush orchestral production and Harrison's own superb slide guitar, nearly every song is excellent: "Awaiting on You All," "Beware of Darkness," the Dylan collaboration "I'd Have You Anytime," "Isn't It a Pity," and the hit singles "My Sweet Lord" and "What Is Life" are just a few of the highlights. A very moving work, with a slight flaw: the jams that comprise the final third of the album are somewhat dispensable, and have probably only been played once or twice by most of the listeners who own this record. Those same jams, however, played by Eric Clapton, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, and Jim Gordon (all of whom had just come off of touring as part of Delaney & Bonnie's band), proved to be of immense musical importance, precipitating the formation of Derek & the Dominos. Thus, they weren't a total dead end, and may actually be much more to the liking of the latter band's fans. © Richie Unterberger & Bruce Eder /TiVo