Yoko Ono - Plastic Ono Band LP
Label: Secretly Canadian
The Plastic Ono Band emerged out of an urgent need to recast Lennon and Ono's Fluxus sound experiments into a more progressive live band setting. Debuting with Live Peace in Toronto 1969, Lennon enlists Ringo Starr and Klaus Voorman for the rhythm section for a split-sided affair with Lennon's exploded blues on one side and a two part extended vocal piece of Ono's called "Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow), that made "Cambridge 1969" seem like a walk in the park. The addition of a rhythm section gave Ono's primal vocal extensions a more ferocious but focused attack, but at the same time made her work more aligned with progressive and punk influences that were just beginning to make themselves heard.
Following that release, The Plastic Ono Band released two separate albums, (one focused on Lennon, the other Ono) with the same cover of Lennon and Ono basking under a tree, only a childhood photo on the back told you which record was which. Ono's version for years was the most difficult to find, though it was the more revolutionary sound-wise of the two. While still heavily experimental, the full band line-up in a studio brings almost a krautrock groove to Ono's vocal assaults. Pivoting her voice into flanging screams reminiscent of distorted guitar and slow echoing chants that bring forth a sense of abject theater, the use of studio effects pushes Ono's work into a new palette of sounds and strategies. She even jams with Ornette Coleman and Charlie Haden on "Aos," a rehearsal recording for a concert at Albert Hall. Coleman invited Ono to collaborate and she only agreed if it was her piece and not his, asserting herself as a formidable female artist in what was then a heavily male-dominated field. Love her or hate her, Ono quickly emerged a musically performative artist in her own right and this electrifying Plastic Ono Band release paved the way for her defining solo masterpiece, Fly the following year.