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I can still vividly recall sitting on the floor in front of our little black and white telly with unbridled anticipation of the Fab’s first U.S. broadcast. When they tore into “I Want To Hold Your Hand” the youth culture of the U.S. changed over the course of that two minutes and thirty-seven seconds as well as my aural perception of music.
It was one thing to put a 45 record on mom’s stereo or hear it coming out of my RCA transistor radio but, with our faces pressed up to the 36 inch cathode-ray tube, seeing and hearing them live was another thing entirely.
For many, The Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show” was a defining, life changing moment comparable to “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” or watching the live, grainy broadcast from space of the human races first steps on the moon. The powerful sounds and images of Beatlemania and those performances are now forever embedded in our now Senior Citizens minds ( along with their entire catalogue of revolutionary music ) like Sinatra’s songs for my mom and dad’s Greatest Generation.
The rest of that night is history repeated over and over again by my Boomer generation but, I guess, my main point here with this John Lennon Gimme Truth Deluxe Edition review is that I grew up with the Beatles and all their many ensuing solo projects so I’ve been listening to some version of this magnificent Lennon collection for a good portion of my life including other compilations like The Very Best, Ultimate, Working Class Hero, Greatest Hits, and even the earlier Gimme Some Truth which was released ten years ago to celebrate “The Witty One’s” 70th birthday. Lennon would have been eighty this past October 9th and senselessly shot dead in front of his apartment four decades ago this coming December 8th.
In the multi-disc album’s title track, Lennon’s searing indictment of self-serving politicians and all around anti-humanists couldn’t be any more timely as 2020 slouches towards a (hopefully) merciful end. “I’m sick and tired of hearing things,” John sings in “Gimme Some Truth,” “from uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics / All I want is the truth / Just give me some truth.” On its face, Lennon’s plea for honesty seems ineluctably simple. But as decade after decade pile up in the years since his senseless murder, Lennon’s dictum seems even more prescient.
Track 32 : Nobody Told Me / 3:34
Re-mastered tracks included ( and listed in it’s entirety below ) include classics such as “Instant Karma!” , fuzzy guitar-ed and blues tinged “Cold Turkey”, the bass and drum thumping anthemic shout about “Power To The People” along with it’s simple, acoustic guitar strum along kissing cousin “Give Peace A Chance” and the Dylan-esque “Working Classs Hero” and there is more, so much more to enjoy amongst the 36 total tracks.
Track 10: Gimme Some Truth / 3:15
What the Gimme Some Truth box does sonically—just as it did with 2018’s Imagine collection—is make Lennon’s solo output sound so much better, brighter, and more of a unified set-list if you will. I’m probably not alone in thinking that so much of Lennon’s post-Beatle work, as brilliant as it was many times, often sounded muddy or almost inconsiderately mixed as an after thought that listening for pleasure (beyond picking out barbs toward Paul and other sacred figures) was sometimes a chore to get past.
Track 07: Power To The People / 3:24
As with recent installments in the Beatles and solo Beatles remixes, “Gimme Some Truth” benefits from contemporary technology’s capacity for creating greater separation among the original recordings.
Listeners will marvel at the quality of instrumental definition afforded by the edition’s remix. Whether it’s Lennon the lyricist’s diverse imaginings of deities and dharma (“God” or “Instant Karma”), more down-to-earth rhetoric such as “Mind Games” and “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night,” or the purpose-driven texts meant to damn racism “Angela” it all sounds warmer and clearer, brightly bathed as they are in mixed lovingly and with great care in 24-bit/96 kHz HD Stereo, immersive 5.1 Surround Sound, and Dolby Atmos. Boring, liner note tech stuff for sure, but such a welcome use of digital tools in making such a complex and diverse – if not a once murky sounding – catalog sound its very best—that is, until the next compilation.
Well, I’m not sure if I’ll make Johnny’s 100th birthday re-release party but, If you want me you to give you the Truth based on all my Beatles / Lennon listening hours over the past 5 plus decades, then Gimme Some Truth is hands down the very best sounding Lennon compilation you will ever need.
Happy 80th Johnny! – Mez –
01 – Instant Karma! (We All Shine On) (Ultimate Mix)
02 – Cold Turkey (Ultimate Mix)
03 – Working Class Hero (Ultimate Mix)
04 – Isolation (Ultimate Mix)
05 – Love (Ultimate Mix)
06 – God (Ultimate Mix)
07 – Power To The People (Ultimate Mix)
08 – Imagine (Ultimate Mix)
09 – Jealous Guy (Ultimate Mix)
10 – Gimme Some Truth (Ultimate Mix)
11 – Oh My Love (Ultimate Mix)
12 – How Do You Sleep? (Ultimate Mix)
13 – Oh Yoko! (Ultimate Mix)
14 – Angela (Ultimate Mix)
15 – Come Together (Live / Ultimate Mix)
16 – Mind Games (Ultimate Mix)
17 – Out The Blue (Ultimate Mix)
18 – I Know (I Know) (Ultimate Mix)
19 – Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Ultimate Mix)
20 – Bless You (Ultimate Mix)
21 – #9 Dream (Ultimate Mix)
22 – Steel And Glass (Ultimate Mix)
23 – Stand By Me (Ultimate Mix)
24 – Angel Baby (Ultimate Mix)
25 – (Just Like) Starting Over (Ultimate Mix)
26 – I’m Losing You (Ultimate Mix)
27 – Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) (Ultimate Mix)
28 – Watching The Wheels (Ultimate Mix)
29 – Woman (Ultimate Mix)
30 – Dear Yoko (Ultimate Mix)
31 – Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him (Ultimate Mix)
32 – Nobody Told Me (Ultimate Mix)
33 – I’m Stepping Out (Ultimate Mix)
34 – Grow Old With Me (Ultimate Mix)
35 – Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (Ultimate Mix)
36 – Give Peace A Chance (Ultimate Mix)