I recently picked up a used copy of the 2010 reissue of John Lennon’s Sometime in New York City on the cheap at Amoeba Records in Hollywood. While by no mean Lennon’s crowning solo achievement, I’ve always felt the album was underrated as it’s peppered with some ragged quick and dirty, off-the-cuff, gems. The real “get” though is the bonus disc included in the reissue, the six-song Live Jam 1972 disc that accompanied the original early 70s vinyl release. I’ve never heard a copy of it this clean.
Sounding not unlike a spun-out Velvet Underground bootleg, the set culls two separate performances, the Plastic Ono Band’s 1969 show at the Lyceum Ballroom in London (from a UNICEF charity gig) and their pow-wow with Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention at the Fillmore East in New York City from 1971. If you’ve never heard these before, the two performances surprisingly meld together fairly seamlessly and serve as a pretty good document of where Lennon and Ono’s heads were at on a “live” level at the time (recorded at the height of the pair’s ‘radical-era’). Critics of Ono’s vocal tics will find much to pounce on here—so if you fall into that category, this set is most likely not for you. Otherwise, dig in.