Mojo (Publisher) - p.1143 stars out of 5
-- "Alternative takes of JOHN LENNON/PLASTIC ONO BAND aside, it's the Dakota home recordings that prove most compelling."
Personnel: John Lennon (vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards); Yoko Ono (vocals, drums, wind); Dr. Winston O'Boogie, Los Paranoias (guitar, Clavinet, percussion); David Spinozza, Earl Slick, Elliot Randall, Hugh McCracken, John Tropea, Steve Love, Wayne "Tex" Gabriel (guitar); Stan Bronstein (flute, saxophone); Michael Brecker (saxophone); Howard Johnson (baritone saxophone, horns); George Opalinsky, David Tofani, Grant Hungerford, John Parran, Roger Rosenberg, Seldon Powell, Ron Tooley (horns); Kenny Ascher, Ken Asher (piano, organ, Mellotron); Adam Ippolito (piano, organ); George Small (piano, keyboards); Paul Griffin (piano); Ed Walsh (synthesizer, Oberheim synthesizer); Pete Cannarozzi (synthesizer); Wayne Pedziwiatr, Neil Jason, Tony Levin (bass guitar); Jim Keltner, Richard Frank, Jr. (drums, percussion); Andy Newmark, Ringo Starr, Yogi Horton, Allan Schwartzberg (drums); Arthur Jenkins, Jr., Jimmy Maelen (percussion); Gordon Grody, Cheryl Mason Jacks, Eric Troyer, Cassandra Wooten, Billy Alessi, Kings Temple Choir, Kurt Yahjian, Michelle Simpson, Cas Mijac, Bob Alessi, Pete Thom, Benny Cummings Singers, Carlos Alomar (background vocals).
Additional personnel: Elephant's Memory, Invisible Strings, Plastic Ono Band, Flux Fiddlers, The Mothers of Invention.
Audio Remasterers: Sean Magee; George Marino; Paul Hicks.
Audio Remixers: Jack Douglas; Jay Messina; Steve Thompson ; Michael Barbiero; Roy Cicala; Yoko Ono.
Liner Note Authors: Julian Lennon; Sean Lennon; Yoko Ono; Anthony DeCurtis.
Recording information: A and R Studios, New York, NY (1973); A&M Studios (1973); Ascot Sound Studios (1973); Hit Factory, New York, NY (1973); Record Plant East (1973); Record Plant West (1973); Record Plant, New York, NY (1973); Sterling Sound, New York, NY (1973); The Automatt, San Francisco, CA (1973).
Photographers: Iain Macmillan; J?rgen Vollmer; Lilo Raymond; Spud Murphy ; Ray Connelly; Astrid Kirchnerr; David Nutter; Tom Blau; Nishi F. Saimaru; Allan Tannenbaum; Bob Gruen; Peter Fordham; Joe Sia; David Spindel; Kishin Shinoyama; Jack Mitchell; Astrid Kirchherr; Yoko Ono.
Arrangers: John Lennon; Yoko Ono.
The crown jewel in Apple/EMI's extensive 2010 John Lennon remasters series, Signature Box contains all of the solo studio albums Lennon released during his lifetime (minus the trio of experimental duet LPs with Yoko Ono released on Apple and Zapple), his first posthumous album Milk and Honey, a disc of non-LP singles, a disc of home demos, but not the 2010 showcase item Double Fantasy Stripped Down, which is available only as a bonus on the indvidual reissue of Double Fantasy. It is, in other words, close enough to complete to perhaps invite a little bit of quibbling about what is absent -- Live Peace in Toronto could fit in nicely with this batch and there are outtakes from Menlove Ave missing but the real niggling comes with the home demo disc, which emphasizes demos and alternate takes of songs from Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, leaving behind demos of songs Lennon gave away, including "I'm the Greatest" and "Goodnight Vienna," which he handed over to Ringo, and songs that never made it to one of his records. Ultimately, this is nitpicking because Signature Box is handsomely produced and contains the best-sounding Lennon remasters -- remastered by the team that did the acclaimed 2009 Beatles remasters, using the original mixes, not the recent remixes -- which is enough to make this more than worthwhile for the serious Lennon fan. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine