The PopCult Music Review
To mark the 80th anniversary of the birth of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Sean Ono Lennon and Universal Music Group have released Gimme Some Truth: The Ultimate Mixes in a variety of formats and prices. We’re going to look at the 2CD/Blu Ray version because it’s got the most cool stuff with it.
We begin with the PR blurb:
The definitive new Best Of John Lennon – 36 tracks completely remixed from master tapes, giving these classic songs a new life for generations to come and sounding better than ever before. 2 CD/Blu-ray features 36 tracks in hi-res stereo 96/24 PCM, new 5.1 surround mixes and Dolby Atmos for the ultimate immersive experience. With an incredible 124-page book with rare photos and extensive notes from John, Yoko and more. Foldout 2-sided poster, 2 postcards and GIMME SOME TRUTH. bumper sticker.
If you are a fan of John Lennon and The Beatles, you will enjoy this reminder of the musical genius we lost almost forty years ago. This is also a good reminder of how wide-ranging Lennon was as a songwriter. Gimme Some Truth has everything from rockers to ballads, protest songs to pop masterpieces, introspective soul-revealing epics to silly love songs. You’l find everything from the proto-metal scream of “Cold Turkey” to the tender fatherly ode of “Beautiful Boy.”
The remixes, using analog equipment and the original master tapes, are a bit of a sonic revelation. There are no major shocks or surprises here, but the new mixes have a remarkable clarity and sound absolutely pristine.
I can quibble a little about the song selection. The set includes all of Lennon’s chart hits, and several great album tracks, but the track line-up is dominated by just three albums, with four tracks from the Plastic Ono Band album, which is rumored to be released as its own deluxe CD boxed set soon, and six tracks from Imagine, which was given the deluxe boxed set treatment two years ago, and five of John’s seven songs from the Double Fantasy album.
Meanwhile we only get a single tune from the often overlooked Sometime In New York City album. We also get one track each from two of John’s posthumous albums, Live In New York City and Menlove Avenue. I would’ve picked any other tracks to represent those two albums. It would have been nice to get a few more deep album cuts from some of Lennon’s lesser-known works. As quibbles go, not having enough deep album cuts on a “best of” collection is pretty minor.
The real treat for Lennonophiles is the accompanying book, which covers each track in this collection using John’s words from a variety of interviews. It’s cool to get his perspective on “How Do You Sleep” for instance. Mixed in with John’s words are those of his collaborators, giving us a really nice oral history of his solo career along with plenty of rare photos. There are details here that I didn’t know, and I’m a hardcore Beatles fanatic. The addition of complete credits for each song is also a treat, so you can see which tracks George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton played on, and which song has vocals by Timothy Leary and guitar by Tommy Smothers.
The book and CD/Blu Ray folder are housed in a nice slipcover, with black and white photos enhanced with gold ink. That color scheme is repeated throughout the book and accompanying double-sided poster and postcards. There’s even a bumper sticker, recalling the extra goodies that John and Yoko would often throw in with their early albums.
GIMME SOME TRUTH: The Ultimate Mixes is a good collection for the die-hard fan who doesn’t mind buying the same songs they already own. The new mixes and the book make it worthwhile. This would also be a great entry-level collection for a young Beatles fan who wants to dip their toes into John’s solo work. It’s not a cheap collection, but there are less elaborate editions if the price makes you squeamish. You should be able to buy or order this from any retailer who sells CDs.