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John Lennon
ACOUSTIC
(Capitol/EMI)

Anyone who thinks Acoustic is another attempt by his record label to squeeze more cash out of the catalogue (as with The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 box set) should check its last three tracks: "Real Love," "Imagine," and "Itís Real." These show that Lennonís light was never stronger than when he sat down with an acoustic guitar in hand, just him and the music of the spheres. Even allowing for the cheesy post-production flanged effects on his guitar, Lennonís singing of "Real Love" is clear, powerful, romantic ó a superior version to the fully-produced single. Whistling over the relaxed strums adds a bittersweet element to a song that coasts on a halo of emotion. "Imagine" is equally poignant, a concert version recorded at New Yorkís Apollo in 1971. Although the song sounds oddly sad today, Lennonís off-the-cuff "Iím trying" in response to the line "Imagine no possessions" is hilarious. "Itís Real" captures the house-husband Lennon whistling a happy tune as papers rustle in the background. Other previously unreleased voice-and guitar tracks include a professional "Cold Turkey," a charming "Love," an initially satirical "God," and the bluesy fingerpicking hootenanny "What You Got."

BY KEN MICALLEF


Issue Date: December 10 - 16, 2004
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