Album: John Lennon

Acoustic, CAPITOL

It was once noted by some wag that, such was fans' fascination with the singer, bootleg obsessives would be willing to buy a recording of Bob Dylan breathing heavily. Something similar applies to Acoustic, except in this case it's a matter of John Lennon whistling. And not in a plaintive, "Jealous Guy" kind of way, either, but in the desultory, half-hearted manner of "It's Real", the minute-long instrumental that's one of these supposed "16 Classics". Given that four of these classics are fragmentary demos lasting little more than a minute, you can get some idea of the assiduity with which the barrel is being scraped. Two are live cuts from a 1971 benefit for John Sinclair; a handful more are demos for songs from Sometime in New York City, Walls and Bridges and Double Fantasy. The bulk of the tracks, though, are demos from the John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band album, already featured in the Anthology. The simplicity of the settings suits the bare emotions of "Love", "Look at Me" and "My Mummy's Dead", though the heavy reverb on the guitar detracts from "Working Class Hero", which requires

a bitter quality - something, in fact, like the brittle version of "Cold Turkey" delivered here, whose frayed-nerve nakedness suits the song perfectly.