Bagism: Albums & Singles

Reviews: Menlove Ave.


"Menlove Ave." is a collection of alternate versions and outtakes from the recording sessions which yielded the albums "Walls & Bridges" and "Rock 'n' Roll." It is named after the street name of John Lennon's childhood home. It was released Oct. 27, 1986 (US) and Nov. 3, 1986 (UK).

Please add a review if you are familiar with "Menlove Ave.". Tracks are also available.

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Rating: 2.5
May 30, 2009
ARAVISHNU
Really a pitty, it+ s gateful to find material from such an artist. but very often you can find only this: thought to raise money, and -in case- if thereīs somethinīelse, itīll be better for you. Think why JL didnīt put it "on the air" while he was alive. There are some exceptions, such as "The lost episodes" (FZ), "American poet" (The Doors), "Days may go, days may come" (Deep Purple -for T.Bolin), the 4 cd box set from JL outtakes "Anthology", among few others.

Rating: 4.0
Apr 22, 2007
Philippe
There is a difference of quality betwen side 1 and side 2.On side 1, exept for "rock'n'roll people"(recorded during "mind games" sessions),the other tracks all come from the Phil Spector sessions at the fall of 1973.they are as good as the ones on the "rock'n'roll" album,particularly "to know her is to love her", but I wish "be my baby" had also been included because John's vocal performance on that one is simply fantastic.Now, side 2, 5 tracks that made it to the "walls and bridges" album presented here as pre-produced, the result is interesting, but not tremendously different from the masters.side 2 for fans only.

Rating: 5.0
Feb 4, 2007
Jealous Guy
"Menlove Ave is melancholy in a way because John's spirit only lives in the songs and not in the whole album. With other words one can "hear" he wasn't alive when the album was put together. You know what I mean? It's one of my favourites though." that is what someone told me about this album, and i completely agree.

Rating: 3.5
Feb 4, 2007
Arlo
Warning to all Lennon fans! three of the "new" songs on this album are also included on the remastered CD of Rock 'n' Roll. I really enjoyed this album, but that is because i am a Lennon fanatic. This collection is great, but for fans only.

Rating: 5.0
Sep 28, 2004
Rick Jackson
THIS COLLECTION OF SONGS ARE A REAL TREAT DUE TO THE FACT THEY ARE DIFFERENT RECORDINGS,THE ALBUM HAS A CALM FEEL TO IT,LIKE JOHN IS AT REST, HERE WE GO AGAIN IS MY FAVORITE, HIS VOCALS ARE NEVER BETTER, AD THIS TO YOUR LENNON COLLECTION, A MUST NEED, ENJOY THIS TREAT......

Rating: 4.5
Aug 9, 2004
Gabriela
I'm just gonna mention those things that caught my attention, 'cos my opinions match we some of the other reviews and it'd be boring to be here repeating stuff that other people wrote...anyway, Rock and Roll people is probably the BEST track here. John sounds YOUNG and happy to be rocking his ass off...It reminds me of "Meat City", He sounds angry but yet sure of what he is singing. Angel Baby is just SWEET. John's voice is tender and smooth. Reaching high notes on the chorus, and holding them with great talent...it shows how much he loves this song, he embraces it as if it was a really fragile baby you don't wanna break. A great rendition and somehow a tribute to it, i can even imagine John singing it with his eyes closed and really having a good time. I totally adore him when he goes "Oo oo I love you, Oo oo I do, No one can love you like I do", well sung. The instrumentation makes me wanna dance to it aswell. I love to sing the chorus on "Since my baby left me". Really girly, and joining John brings chills on my body. I mean, repeating his line...harmonizing with him...the best way to feel close to John is singing this song along with him. Great track, though a short one, anyway the "so sad..." fade at the end is gorgeous. This version of "To know her..." confused me a bit at first, and i thought i wasn't gonna like it. But then i heard it with earphones and somehow it sounded perfect... John sings his lines the way he feels like doing it...no matter what. It sounds really spontaneous. The drums on the "bridge" sound good too, and the piano adds a good feeling. Of course John handles this mass of noise very naturally and the result couldn't be better. Mumbling his words in a very low tone, playing with his voice, shouting every once in a while...he really had fun with this one. The screams are probably the best thing here, realising his soul just like in "Mother". No one can do that the way John used to. The 5 "Walls and Bridges" tracks hold no surprise. Only a few things to add: I definitely prefer this version of "Old dirt road" over any other. John's voice is clear and calm. This song makes me shiver too...He sounds great and somehow lonely, which is what the song basically talks about. When he goes "Cool...Clear....Water" i can totally see what he means...he reflects his feelings in that line so clearly! I love John! I will always prefer the take that appears in the Anthology over any other take of "Nobody Loves you...", but this take is pretty good too. Bless you has never been a favorite of mine. I never really liked it that much. It's too slow...but the lyrics are amazing as always! Anyway, this is my review, hope you guys like it.

Rating: 5.0
May 31, 2004
Morozov Dima
This is very nice album. It is even better then "John Lennon Anthology". The first song "Here We Go Again" has beautiful melody and vocals and it's very nice start for the "outakes" album. The next-"Rock And Roll People"- is beautifu example of Lennon's rock'n'roll world. "Angel Baby" has nice vocals and melody although the harmony structure is banal. "Since My Baby Left Me" sounds very good to. The next is Lennon's favorite ballad "To Know Her Is To Love Her" (personally, I don't really like this one). And then begins my favorite part of the album which includes "Steel And Glass", "Scared", "Old Dirt Road", "Nobody Loves You" and "Bless You". I love this part of the album because the last five songs sound very simple, Lennon's vocal parts sound with a little "echo" effect and the mixture of this two things gives to this part of the album some kind of "live" sound. That's why me and many other people love it.

Rating: 5.0
Dec 22, 2003
Chopboy from Philippines
All the songs are lovely though most of them are slow numbers! Not a bad album. John doesn't sound like a Beatle in all his albums. Check it out! Offer's good while the demand lasts! And also, I forgot, the suond is not as good as the "Legend" but you'll love this!

Rating: 5.0
Jan 11, 2003
Lennon Forever
I will begin by telling you about this album. I bought this yesterday. It was so hard to find, so I just ordered it instead. The first song "Here We Go Again" is one of those songs that is so good, that you want to listen to it alot, but you don't want to get sick of it. His vocals are great. Next "Rock And Roll People" is a stunning song. It has good music. "Angel Baby" has awesome vocals.It is charming to hear it. Now for the big one "To Know Her Is To Love Her", what a wonderful song. The vocals are so damn good and the production fills it with even more delight. The other five songs are from his album "Walls and Bridges". They were recorded in the studio, but recorded live, so it has a raw sound which is peaceful, yet different. To all og you true lennon fans go out and buy this as soon as you can. It is a must for your collection.

Rating: 4.5
Jun 14, 2002
Kevin M Lee
I love this album. It's a different look at some of Lennon's finest mid 1970s writing, especially the Walls and Bridges songs. To hear these songs without the glossy 1970s style of production, stripped to their bare essentials is spine chilling, and definitely up to the standards set by the Plastic Ono Band. It was nice to finally hear Angel Baby in good quality, and Since My Baby Left Me is interesting. If these songs, as well as Be My baby were on the Rock N Roll album it would have been a better package, just to set a further contract to the later Rock n Roll Sessions produced by John. I love the over the top production on To Know Her is To Love her, some of John's raunchiest, finest vocals since Mother. I enjoyed Walls anbd Bridges and Rock and Roll, but they are hampered by the production values of the times. Menlove Avenue seems more honest.

Rating: 2.5
Jul 3, 2001
Rotceps Nonnel
An entertaining, but inessential album of rarities, outtakes, and unreleased material recorded during John's "Lost Weekend" of 1974-1975, Menlove Avenue still has a fare share of moments. The opener, "Here We Go Again" is perhaps the finest of these. Its sweeping, detailed heavily Spector Influenced sound permeates throughout, and it is perhaps Spector's finest moment with any of the ex-Beatles. It just sets the scene of the despair and loneliness that John must have felt at the time. His vocals rip through the repeated phrases and give the song the same feeling that "I want you, she's so heavy" did a few years earlier. This song is easily the "lost classic" of the disc, and it would have served as a fine highlight on "Walls and Bridges" had John released it at the time. A fine start to this album indeed, it's too bad that the rest of the album falters somewhat. "Nobody Loves You"--is of course good, being that it's a good song, but this version pales both to the original and the John Lennon Anthology release. "Steel and Glass"--another 'highlight' is much more rocking and mean-spirited in this version, but alas still a bit too unfinished to surpass the original. Several of the covers are fine too "Angel Baby" and "Since My Baby Left Me" are adequate covers, but nothing to write home about. Finally, "Rock and Roll People" is surprising in that Lennon actually wrote a song that sounds light years away from anything else he's done, but the song is anything but a classic. The rest of the album isn't really worth release. This is simply because the rest of the Walls and Bridges album demos here, aren't that great in the first place. Still though overall Menlove Ave. is entertaining: there really isn't any horrible songs and it is listenable, but it's just a fair collection of songs with only one classic.

Rating: 3.5
Dec 19, 2000
laurie marks
This was the first 'new release' album of Lennon music that I had the opportunity to buy, which is an indication of my age. By that stage, I had become a collector of his official releases and had a promising bunch of Beatles off-cuts as well. Therefore, familiar with the concept of 'lost tracks' and 'out-takes' from the Beatles already, I was prepared to carry on my Lennon collection by purchasing an album of 5 new 'lost' songs from his 1974/5 period, as well as some tracks from his Walls & Bridges album. At the time, I found the tracks on side A to be a mixed bag - RocknRoll People was better than the finished Johnny Winter version for which it became a demo and rocked along as well as any of the Walls & Bridges tracks, while Here We Go Again was more Spector than Lennon and sounded, well, overblown as usual for Spector. It was little more than a curiosity. The Rock n Roll out-takes, Angel Baby and Since My Baby Left Me with its false 'live' sound working quite well, were strong enough tracks to have been included on the official 1975 album. I thought To Know Her Is To Love Her another overblown Spector production which became too embarrassing to sit and listen through. And there I left the album, thinking without any sleeve notes to suggest otherwise, that side B was a motley collection of Walls & Bridges tracks used to fill out the album in a commercial move. Fast forward to 2000, when, to complete this review, I dusted off my neglected Menlove Avenue LP for another listen (by now knowing that side B was in fact a series of out-takes). I have to say that time has not at all hurt the set. Side A remains pretty much as I described above from 1986 - a worthwhile collection of new material that fit in pretty well with Lennon's 1974/5 output. They could certainly have been well placed on the Anthology set. Spector's overblown production still mars 2 of the tracks. The side b collection sound like Lennon - Unplugged to good effect. One can imagine Lennon and his band sitting around and performing these tracks as they are before a live audience, such is the immediacy of their sound (even on vinyl !). While the songs themselves are n't his very best or anything, they are a solid set of five out-take versions from Walls n Bridges which give an insight onto Lennon's sound with some of the studio artifice stripped away. But as an album under review, Menlove Avenue overall does not stack up terribly well even so. It is poorly packaged - uncommercial, believe it or not - reflecting its era certainly. No liner notes, no schmaltzy tributes, ordinary artwork, it smacks not of Yoko keeping the flame alive, but of EMI trying to make a few bucks out of Lennon fans by putting out 10 tracks from the vaults without too much thought or expense. There is no theme to the releases, other than side A is 'new' material and side B is a stripped away sound. It not only poses the question 'Why ?' for the listener, but lacks the depth of creativity to be found on albums put together by Lennon or someone else with some more care to the content. In other words, it comes away sounding like a very high quality bootleg (a la 'Something Precious & Rare') rather than an official album, with all the resulting loss of charm which that description entails. This is an album for the fans mainly, who, like me, will not be disappointed to hear a few more numbers from the master, sort of a precursor to the Antology set (which includes incidentally a version of each of the songs on side B of this album). For non-fans, a greatest hits package or an official album will be better value.

Rating: 4.0
Jul 4, 2000
nv00
i heard this album again just recently after more than 12 years and was blown away. it sounds much stronger to me now than it did back in the 80's (very strange). whilst i would not recommend it to the causal Lennon listener and i strongly urge fans to hunt it down. 'Here we go again' is a very moody opener with an awesome spector production and some of john's best vocals - listen to the way the vocal melody drops under the line of the music unexpectedly. the instrumentation is very psychadelic with spiralling strings and horns which whilst attempting to be 1960's sound more like modern bands such as Spiritualized, who excel at this sort of non-linear music. 'Rock n Roll Poeple' which was recorded as a demo for Johnny Winter (i believe) is a sparely arranged number and a lot sharper than other similar mid seventies numbers such as Tight A$. great lead guitar with Jesse Ed (i think) getting to let his hair down ala his Taj Mahal days. The next 3 tracks are all out takes from Rock n Roll and all good. the stand out is the primaled version of To Know Her is To Love Her the arrangement of which turns the familiar teen love song inside out. ok. side 2 is definitely not for beginners - a selection of Walls and Bridges material recorded during a seeming one off session after the completion of that album (i could be wrong there but the way Lennon starts the songs and digs for a remendered lyric sure make it sound that way. Lennon here sounds sad and lost but his ability to communicate is unimpared and the music has a lovely late night intimacy. Overall the album divides sharply in styles between side 1 and 2 and most listeners are likely to play just a single side depending on mood - if Menlove Ave were on CD the record wouldn't work half as well - but they will find themselves rewarded. Worth the asking price just for Here We Go Again. I can't believe this track has not arrived on compilations elsewhere...

Rating: 3.0
Nov 26, 1999
Ward
When this album appeared in the fall of 1986, it was unclear at first sight just what we were getting. Side 1 were made up of Rock 'N Roll outtakes seemingly, but what was with all those Walls and Bridges retreads on side 2? Obviously these were all originally recorded outside of Yoko's immediate sphere of influence; did she even know what these tracks were? (And the packaging: a clear plastic inner bag, no lyrics, limited notes, and the same art on front and back covers....) Looking back, she did us all a favor by putting these tracks out, and whetted the appetites of the uninitiated to the many marvelous Lost Lennon tapes to be discovered. Since then, I've listened to side 2 much more than side 1. Quite simply, this is the 1974 equivalent of John Lennon Storytellers on VH-1. Stripped down versions of 5 Walls songs, with minimal accompaniment by the cream of his post-Beatles cohorts: Jesse Ed Davis, Jim Keltner, Klaus Voormann and Nicky Hopkins. Intimate and stunning. Side 1 still seems half-baked today; John was looking for direction in his originals and couldn't find one. Yet "To Know Her Is To Love Her", in Spector's drastically slowed down style (typical for him at the time), gives John a chance to pour out his heart, proving that perhaps he had learned something from Janov after all. Coming the same year as the official release of the One-To-One concerts, we fans began to get spoiled. But the bounty would be limited, as Menlove Ave. was slightly ahead of its time; had they remained on the shelf in 1986 these tracks would all be prime cuts on the Lennon Anthology.

Rating: 4.5
Mar 31, 1998
Sir Frankie Crisp
This is a terrific album, and I think that it actually is one of his better solo albums even if it basically is just demos and etc,. like the anthology albums. It is great. The Walls and Bridges material sounds so much better on here without all the overdubs. It is great. "Nobody Loves You" sounds more raw and realistic since it does nto aound as dated as it does on Walls and Bridges, and "Steel and Glass" is one of teh major highlights with its much tougher take at this great song. And the Rock and Roll sessions are great! "Here We Go Again" is also included and it is another great song on here, basically there is nothing really wrong with this album at all, except that it needs to be rereleased on CD with more bonus songs to get the five apples--since it is kind of short--I think it is like 35 minutes, but if you can find it, get it now.

Rating: 4.0
Mar 13, 1998
Judeobscure
Menlove Ave. was always an intresting album to me - only avalible on import (in Britain at least) and seemingly lacking in unknown tracks to justify the hefty price. I delayed getting it for a while and then finally decided that I had to have it and I`m glad I gave it a go. From the opener `Here We Go Again` your immediately aware that this isn't just any outtake album. The first five tracks are culled from the Rock and Roll album. (with the exception of the charged `Rock and Roll People`, a pure Lennon rocker which he recorded at the time of Mind Games and really should have used it to liven up that album) These tracks are pure Phil Spector productions, with lush orchestration, milking every ounce out of the musicians. Lennon sounds like you always thought he might as he drowns his sorrows amongst a sea of echoes. `Since My Baby Left Me` is a worthy rendition, `To Know Her Is To Love Her` a barely recognisable cover that suceeds through the personality of it's singer as he throws his words over the music as he wishes, seemingly in a fit of emotion. The standout is `Angel Baby` an unlikely choice for Lennon working very much in the vein of `Just Because` on Rock and Roll. Why Lennon should not have chosen this track for Rock and Roll must stand as one of the greatest mysteries in his back catalouge. (another mystery is why Yoko didn't choose to put John's version of `Be My Baby` on this compilation, a song which even the still-born `Roots` included) The second half of the album is much better known material, but not quite like you ever heard it before. Take some basic tracks from Walls and Bridges and take away the funk and saxaphones and you left with a start Plastic Ono Bandesque set of demos that see Lennon far more bleak and alone than he ever displayed on his own releases. `Steel and Glass` with it's unfinished "Mickey duck and your Donald fuck" lyrics sets the scene wonderfully, but it is the second of these tracks `Scared`, already bleak on the release version but now so stark and desperate, that it is easily the best of these demos. `Scared`'s relentless beat makes for a pained if ultimately rewarding background to Lennon as he wails out how stoned he is. (something which Lennon chose to omit from the finsihed product) `Nobody Loves You When Your Down And Out` provides little different from the finished take but `Old Dirt Road` comes off as a beautiful song, which I believe Lennon never fully capitalised on in the finished version. (just listen to the way he cries "Water" on this take) The whole album is finished beautifully with a worthy rendition of `Bless You`. Considering this album is made up from cast offs from three different Lennon albums I think it is intresting that Menlove Ave. actually prooves to be one of his most honest, powerful and complete albums. This is the real Lennon of the lost weekend and he's not so lost.

Rating: 2.5
Aug 11, 1997
Jim Jacobs
John's rarities album. It could have been much better. Although there is some new material on side one, the only track worth anything is Angel Baby, recorded for the Rock 'N' Roll album but never released. Why wasn't the other track-Be My Baby issued on this album as well? If it were, then all of Rock 'N' Roll would be available. The second side are just rough versions from the Walls & Bridges album. You could consider this side, John's version of Anthology. With all of John's creative output, Yoko Ono could have at least put out alternate takes from some of John's memorialble recordings such as Instant Karma, & Imagine. Who knows, maybe there will be a John Lennon Anthology someday. If there is, it would certainly surpass this one.

Rating: 3.0
Jun 13, 1997
Jason Woodburn
"Menlove Avenue" is not the best of the unreleased of John Lennon, but a fine taste of what the vaults held back for years. An almost-pre-cursor-like collection to the Beatles' Anthologies, "Menlove" delivers great alternatives to Lennon tracks and a few "left-over" (the kind you don't mind eating). "Hear We Go Again" is a good song, although the arangement is Spectorized. The Lost Lennon Tapes versions are much more under-produced (and better). Why it wasn't initially released, I'll never know. "Angel Baby," "Since My Baby Left Me" and "To Know Her is To Love Her" are "Rock 'N' Roll" outs that are fun, but understandable on the non-release. The "Roots" mail order mishap included "Be My Baby (not on this record) and "Angel Baby." The Walls and Bridges chunk of songs are a nice touch to the album, yet inferior to the released versions, and rightfully so (although "Bless You" isn't too bad. This album is even more tasty with the news of a possible Anthology-like collection of more unreleased O'Boggie music. "It's just a rumour" may apply, but at least it is fun to anticipate. Hopefully it will improve on the idea of "Menlove" and be as successful as the Beatle trilogy was.

Rating: 4.0
May 11, 1997
Winston O Boogie
Overall, this is a fine album! The period in which these songs were written and/or recorded was during one of the most crucial stages in John's life. It all took place over his "Lost Weekend" away from Yoko. You can hear the vulnerability of John through his words: "So I say hello again, and nobody gives a damn." The first track, Here We Go Again is brilliant! It's my favorite track on the album. Listen closely, it's very John. The second track, Rock and Roll People is just a typical rock and roll song...very well done. It reminds me of New York City, or one of John's other early 70's rock songs. Angel Baby, the third track is a beautiful remake of one of John's "all time favorite songs." The next two tracks (Since My Baby Left Me and To Know Her is to Love Her) are two other rejects from the Rock and Roll album. Overall, they sound good, but they're not favorites of mine. The next five tracks are alternate takes from the Walls and Bridges album. Steel and Glass sounds better here (at least to me) because there isn't much instrumentation. Check out the last verse of this song. It doesn't appear on the Walls and Bridges version. Scared sounds better here also, but I don't particularly care for Nobody Loves You on this album. The very depressing Bless You, the last track on the album, is John's wistful plea for Yoko in demo form. Not bad. I think the album deserves more recognition. It seems to have been cast away in the shadows just like Milk and Honey, a preceding album of unreleased material put out by Yoko in 1983. This album was released in 1986, over ten years after these songs were recorded. What a shame these songs took so long to see the light of day! I only gave it a 4 because it wasn't an official album and contains only five previously unheard songs.

Rating: 5.0
May 7, 1997
Scott
This is one of John Lennon's best albums! I really recommend this album to ANY John Lennon fan!! The songs on this album are spectacular! As allways, these songs reflect John Lennon's view on a whole lot of things!! ALthough I think Old Dirt Road was a good song, it didn't make too much sence! All of the other songs made PERFECT scence! This, in my opinion, was one of John's greater albums! The song I think is most depressing is "Bless You"! I don't know why, but I hear that song and it depresses me! But it's still a good song! I think it's great of sam to let me post my opinion on this album and many others! This album should be the next one you buy!(Or the first, if you don't have any yet!) I really like this album and I hope I can pass it on to my children, then their children etc. If we get ATLEAST this album cerculating in the world, this album ALONE could probably get us world peace!

 

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Last updated on Nov 6, 1998