It was a long time in the oven this one, and what with the Spector shenanigans and John's turbulent private life at the time it's little wonder he does indeed seem a spent force. Whenever John or Paul needed to re-charge their batteries, the default mode was to fly back to the Fifties. And this album is a selfish rummage through the attic of John's youth - only a few of the tracks could be truly described as "Rock And Roll" and of those, even fewer were delivered with any degree of bite. "Stand By Me" is convincing and outshines the original, but such weary, lacklustre renditions of "Do You Wanna Dance", "Be Bop A Lula" and "Peggy Sue" do NOT a rock & roll album make!
He does wake up occasionally. Fiery bursts of "Rip It Up" and "Ready Teddy" stir John from his exhausted reverie, and I do like his versions of "Ain't That A Shame" and "Slippin' And Slidin'". His was still the finest rock and roll voice around. Much has been made of Lennon's bowing out (for a few years) with the music that ushered him in.... perhaps he was more consciously going full circle than was acknowledged at the time.
I (and more importantly, John himself it seems) agree with Kevin - he needed a break.
But I'd probably still play this one ahead of "Choba B CCCP" or "Run Devil Run" to be honest.