Lost links & Re-ups

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Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

01 November 2008

Live Jam

Although intended as a stand-alone album from The Plastic Ono Band, Live Jam never saw the light of day as such. Because of contractual problems with The Beatles, Capitol Records, Zappa, The Mothers of Invention, & their label, Live Jam was originally offered as a 'free bonus disc' with Some Time in New York.

A double CD of Some Time in New York City (with Live Jam being Disc Two) was issued in the UK on August 10,1987 & then deleted on July 31,1989. A new improved sound quality version was released in the US on April 1,1990. The edited, re-mastered, & re-mixed single disc version was issued world-wide in November 2005. "Don't Worry Kyoko" was shortened while "Jamrag", "Scumbag" & "Aű" were contentiously removed altogether.

Side One of "Live Jam" was an 18 month old recording of the "Peace for Christmas" concert in aid of UNICEF.

John said of this show "I thought it was fantastic, I was really into it. We were doing the show & George [Harrison], Delaney & Bonnie, Billy Preston, all that crowd turned up. They'd just come back from Sweden. George had been playing invisible man in Delaney & Bonnie's band, which Eric Clapton had been doing, to get the pressure off being famous Eric & famous George. They became the guitarists in this. They all turned up. It was again like the concert in Toronto. I said 'Will you come on?' They said 'Well, what are you going to play?' I said 'Listen, we're going to probably do a blues...or "Cold Turkey", which is three chords'. Eric knew that. & "Don't Worry Kyoko" which was Yoko's, which has three chords & a riff. I said 'Once we get on Yoko's riff, just keep hitting it'. It was a fantastic show, it was fantastic....very heavy! A lot of the audience walked out, but the ones that stayed, they were in a trance. They just all came to the front because it was of the first real heavy rock show...it's only to be expected that some people were disappointed in that we only did two long numbers, but we play 1984 music! I don't know what they want. I'm trying to get it across that the Plastic Ono Band plays the unexpected"

The full line-up for the Plastic Ono Supergroup (listed on the album as 'with a cast of 1000's) was: John - vocals & guitar; George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Delaney Bramlett - guitars; Klaus Voorman - bass; Jim Gordon, Keith Moon & Alan White - drums; Billy Preston - organ (sadly this was buried in the original recording & Nicky Hopkins' overdubbed an electric piano in 1971 in New York), Bonnie Bramlett & 'Friends' - percussion & brass; ('Friends' included: Bobby Keyes - saxophone; Jim Price - trumpet; with Bobby Whitlock & Carl Radle), also assisting was 'Legs' Larry Smith (from the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) & Dino Danelli (the drummer from The Young Rascals).

Side Two of "Live Jam" was a record of the Lennon's 1971 guest appearance at the Mothers of Invention gig at the Fillmore East. Howard Smith, a New York Disc Jockey, had turned up at Frank Zappa's hotel room one afternoon with John & Yoko to do an interview. After the interview was over Zappa invited John & Yoko to jam along with his band towards the end of the concert that they would be performing that evening. Although John was initially reluctant, Yoko was very enthusiastic. They both turned up & watched the show from the Sound booth. They were suitably enthused enough to rush to the stage as the Mothers finished their main set.

Frank Zappa later recalled "We played for about 40 minutes I guess & it just so happened that we had made arrangements to record that night......John & I had an agreement that we were going to jointly mix the tape to decide how we were going to put it out, because there were big contractual difficulties in getting the thing out. So it sat around for a while, I guess about a year. There was nothing done about releasing it.
Finally I got word that John was going to release it, that some negotiation was going to be worked out, but that negotiation never occurred. As a matter of fact I'd sent him a safety copy of the 16 track masters. I guess he went in with Phil Spector & mixed the thing."

The full line up for the Zappa gig was: John - vocals & guitar; Yoko - vocals; Frank Zappa - vocals and guitar; Ian Underwood -woodwinds, piano & vocals; Don Preston -mini moog; Bob Harris - vocals & piano; Aynsley Dunbar - drums; Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan -vocals. Although not present at the concert, Klaus Voorman later overdubbed bass onto Well (Baby Please Don't Go) in the studio. This song was written by Walter Ward. It was originally recorded by The Olympics as the coupling to their 1958 hit Western Movies which reached No. 8 in the USA & No. 12 in the UK. John had also recorded it during the Imagine album sessions (That version remained unreleased until it appeared on the John Lennon Anthology Box set in 1998). Jamrag begins with a series of conducted bursts of freaking out with the audience joining in, the band then kick into an instrumental piece King Kong, which the Mothers had performed live on British Television back in 1968, Yoko vocalizes on this version. Scumbag is a fast paced boogie over which John shouts 'Scumbag' over & over with Yoko again doing her thing & later interjecting with 'Scumbag baby' (Originally the Mothers lead vocalists had answered John's 'Scumbags' with frenetic improvised lyrics but these were mixed out). There's also a break in the number to allow Zappa to encourage the audience to sing along. It ends by gradually slowing down to a halt with mock battery-drained vocals. Zappa then bids farewell with a robotic "Good night boys & girls" before Yoko & John find their way into AU, which is vaguely similar to John's Let's Hope For Peace but this time without any lyrics & less forceful vocal acrobatics.

The inner sleeve for the Live Jam album was a replica of The Mothers of Invention's 1971 live album Fillmore East June 1971 appropriately altered by Al Steckler, John & Yoko.

John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band - Live Jam, Apple Records 4XC 3394, 1973. 
decryption code in comments

Program 1 -
Cold Turkey
Don't Worry Kyoko

Program 2 -
Well (Baby Please Don't Go)



  1. I have NEVER heard this; in fact I have never even heard of this, I don't think. Fabulous!

  2. Thank you for your great work!

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