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Paul McCartney & Wings

  • McCartney,
  • Ram,
  • Wild Life,
  • Red Rose Speedway,
  • Band On The Run,
  • Venus And Mars,
  • Wings At The Speed
  • Of Sound,
  • London Town,
  • Back To The Egg,
  • McCartney II,
  • Tug Of War,
  • Pipes Of Peace,
  • Give My Regards To
  • Broad Street,
  • Press To Play,
  • Flowers In The Dirt,
  • Off The Ground,
  • Flaming Pie,
  • Run Devil Run,
  • Driving Rain,
  • Chaos And Creation In
  • The Backyard,
  • Memory Almost Full,
  • Electric Arguments,
  • Kisses On The Bottom,
  • Pure McCartney,

    Paul McCartney

  • The Beatles,
  • Phil Spector,
  • George Harrison,
  • John Lennon,

  • Album Reviews |

    Paul McCartney

    band on the run ram flaming pie electric arguments mccartney

    McCartney 8 ( 1970, UK pos 2 )
    The Lovely Linda / That Would Be Something / Valentine Day / Every Night / Hot as Sun-Glasses / Junk / Man We Was Lonely / Oo You / Momma Miss America / Teddy Boy / Singalong Junk / Maybe I'm Amazed / Kreen-Akrore

    It's hard to imagine too many of these songs as Beatle songs, but that's really to miss the point altogether. Who even plays on this album, for example? Well, Paul himself plays pretty much everything. Linda was there, too. 'McCartney' is a real home-produced effort, no Phil Spector production for Paul! Ah, there's a dig at John!! Not meant to sound like one, by the way. But, let's take the opening two songs. A brief sing-a-long saying how lovely Linda his wife was, then moving into the very simple folky 'That Would Be Something'. Delightfully simple in every way imaginable, very late at night camp-fire type of thing. The blues guitar of 'Valentine Day' sounds like a demo, and it probably was. But, Paul can't just lose what he had. Well, he lost Ringo, John, George and the other George... Recorded a bunch of songs with seemingly little thought as to how it would even be perceived - it really does just come across as a bunch of songs, simply played, for the heck of it. Maybe he didn't know what to do following the break-up of The Beatles, so just decided to be himself? Still, 'Junk' is a proper, heartbreaking and achingly beautiful song - Paul tugs at your heartstrings and emotions and this is Beatle quality, but why the hell are we even talking about them, anyway? Oh, yeah - right. Sorry!! 'Man We Was Lonely' shares both the simplicity of this entire solo Paul debut proper and also shares characteristics of his writing for his, a-hem, previous group. Not hard to imagine it performed by different muscians, produced differently.... and becoming something else. But as I said right at the start of this review, that really... is to miss the point. It's a nice song - that's the real point.

    'Oo You' is a piece of messing around bluesy feel kind of thing, very loose, very loose indeed. But then, it was probably never intended to be anything else. Perhaps it was intended to just evoke a feel and a smile in the listener? Obviously, it's hard to forget what came before - but we should try to forget. Still, when dealing with the solo debut from an ex-member of one of the most famous and important groups on the planet, EVER!! - then faced with something that sounds like it was recorded in the guys kitchen... you can't help but raise your eyebrows! A brave thing to do, an admirable thing to do, actually. It doesn't make the likes of 'Oo You' or the admittedly nifty guitar sounds of 'Momma Miss America' any more substantial, but it does make you... ah, I dunno. Give the guy a break? 'Teddy Boy' is pure McCartney in the best way, the beautiful melody of 'Junk' is reprised and then we get an instant timeless classic with 'Maybe I'm Amazed'. The playing is deliberately a little rough around the edges, but that certainly doesn't take anything away from one of the finest songs Paul McCartney ever wrote, Beatles or no Beatles. Add 'Junk' to that list, too. All in all, this is a very enjoyable and charming album.

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    Readers Comments

    chris taylor chrisabbeyroad@yahoo.co.uk
    Paul sang, wrote, produced and played all the instruments on this album. how can you criticise that?

    Mike Scott mikezscott@aol.com
    A real insight into Paul at the time . A bit raw and rough but neverthless great , Maybe I'm Amazed was the only studio track . I love Oo You and Momma Miss America .

    Jerry bakewell[@]gmail.com
    Junk and Teddy Boy nearly made it onto Beatles records. Maybe I'm Amazed is storming. Mix a few tracks here with George's, John's and Ringo's best from the same period (say, If Not For You, What Is Life, All Things Must Pass, Instant Karma, Isolation, It Don't Come Easy), and you've got a cracking Beatles-album-that-never-was. With very few exceptions, the music that they made after 1970 is best forgotten.

    Phantom Gtowner phantomgtowner@hotmail.com
    We must remember the context in which this LP was made. The pressure on Paul was fairly enormous with the other Beatles and the critics scathing him. Sometimes our criticisms can be unfair. There is a lot of interesting stuff here that admittedly would not have appeared on any Beatle LP. But that's what makes it so interesting.

    Pablo Castro pableia@yahoo.com.br
    With the exception of Maybe I´m Amazed, Junk, Every Night, this album sees Paul not knowing well how to start his ex-Beatle period. I agree with your review, but don´t understand why you rated it better than, say, 33 and 1/3, from Harrison, which is indeed a far better album.

    kier smith amusedtodeath@hotmail.co.uk
    i've always liked the fact that this album is so loose, it's apparent that he knocked it up for the sake of it, its just a collection of things he was messing around with at the time - it's the most natural McCartney album. great songs too, that would be something, every night, junk, oo you, singalong junk, momma miss america - maybe im amazed of course......i love this and would put it up there with his best work, its one of the few mccartney albums that work as an album.

    Carolyn carolynmhoff@cs.com
    I was only 5 years old when McCartney Paul's first solo album came out,but I have owned it for over 15 years. I haven't played it for a few years but I just started to play it again over and over and I realize it is really a very good album that I should have played sooner and more often! I just love Paul's instrumentals and he has quite a few great rocking instrumentals on this album,and the song Every Night is so great and Maybe I'm Amazed of course! Only Paul could make a song about Junk in a Yard so beautiful! And the instrumental is so beautiful too! Rolling Stone now says Paul's first 2 solo albums are excellent and underrated,and they are talking about this album and Ram which they themselves orginally underrated when they came out! I give this album a 9.Paul is such a musical genuis I think he should be cloned!

    Gazza Edinburgh
    Paul did the one man band thing way before rundgren,prince and beck , and he commences his solo career with a home made 4 track recording which is still charming,whimsical and experimental but frighteningly contempary sounding . Only the joyous "maybe im amazed" features a proper studio recording but really this album revels in the joy of making music for the sheer hell of it . Lennon might have been freed from the conservative nature of being a beatle but its macca who sounds genuinely excited here . It sounds underdeveloped and like beatles demos in places but that was a great move , in that it released paul from the pressure of delivering a solo album that would be comparable to what came before . Smart bloke paul - and "every night" is just ace 7/10

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    Ram( 1971, UK pos 1 )
    Too Many People / 3 Legs / Ram On / Dear Boy / Uncle Albert / Smile Away / Heart Of The Country / Monkberry Moon Delight / Eat At Home / Long Haired Lady / Ram On / The Back Seat Of My Car

    This was Pauls second album following the break-up of The Beatles. Some of the songs are very throwaway, the playing and production isn't at Beatles standards but on the whole this is a fine record. The opening 'Too Many People' is fairly simple musically but its also rather nice and goes off into a groovy ending sequence with bass, cowbells - the lot. It sounds like fun, sounds like they had fun recording it too. Certainly not an obvious attempt to top or even match The Beatles. Rather a sense of lets just do this and have fun. It works. The bluesy '3 Legs' isn't offensive as such and lacks any obvious musical delights but does sport some daft and charming lyrics. 'Ram On' is just wonderful though! Very silly again with odd sounding instrumentation but Paul's innate grasp of melody wins through in the end. 'Dear Boy' has great interweaving harmonies vocals that really do raise the whole track. Paul continues on underneath the harmonies, great piano work and the whole thing whilst not perhaps as 'serious' as something like 'A Day In The Life' or 'Plastic Ono Band' can't help itself in being enjoyable and melodic. Melody is half the battle won anyway, at least, for me. 'Uncle Albert' is pure McCartney all through. The rain effects, the orchestration, the tender rather wonderful vocal. 'Heart Of The Country' has 'Paul McCartney' bass. Its great to hear his trademark bass sound and its all over this song. Again, the lyrics are daft and the tone of the whole song is just so silly that matched with the wonderful melodic bass line - you're gonna smile really. Well, I do. 'Monkberry Moon Delight', 'Smile Away' and 'Eat At Home' are rockier numbers. Not like 'A Hard Days Night' or anything - there isn't any sense of importance coming through in the recordings. As I said before, very throwaway. From a musical compositional point of view though they are perfectly fine, wonderfully structured actually but simply not ambitious, if ambition was something you were looking for.

    Apart from a brief reprise of 'Ram On', the final songs are rather wonderful actually. Saving the best till last. 'Long Haired Lady' stretches out alluringly across its six minute length, good vocals, pauls bass and nice guitar. Its rather dreamy and relaxing and creates a mood to immerse yourself in. The ending is 'Hey Jude' great, if we must use comparisons. Its not as accomplished from a playing point of view of course but the brass parts add to the whole thing. 'Back Seat Of My Car' displays signs of actual genius. Brilliantly affecting vocals, rockier sections, great harmonies - Paul playing everything he can get his hands on. String parts. A song in different sections, each one of them containing enough melody to sink a battleship. Is it as good as Paul's finest Beatles moments? Well, sorry to be controversial or anything but damn it, yes. It really is. Wonderful melody, great vocals. A fantastic album closer. A decent album that on the whole isn't any work of art but is very enjoyable and a great listen.

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    Readers Comments

    I could'nt agree more.I've been listening to this album alot lately and it has brought a little smile to my soul.Like your review states he just seems to be having fun and that's the message he sends.Maybe lately new music is'nt doing much of that,so this seems so refreshing.I do think the production is quite good,although it's vinyl i'm referring to.

    brian badger@gregory1972.fsnet.co.uk
    I agree with this review. You just watch how this often neglected album will start to be re-assesed and enjoyed by a new audience. There is so much melody and colour on this album, it is overflowing with ideas and just the sheer joy of great pop. "Uncle Albert" is fun and melodic,"Dear Boy" has amazing harmonies" and "Back Seat Of My Car" is just simply a great song. This album is like dipping into a musical rainbow and I love it and all it's colours!(9)

    steve sboyden@indy.rr.com
    I've always thought that Uncle Albert was a dig at John Lennon. This came out during the height of John's efforts at promoting peace. And here is Paul mixing "hands across the waters" with some some slices of everyday life.

    Torbjorn the Swede t.wadle@telia.com
    Just love Dear Boy. The harmonies are one of the best of McCartney. This is one of Lindas better achievments on record. Just love her voice on this one. Beautiful!!!!!!!!

    Phantom Gtowner phantomgtowner@hotmail.com
    The obvious thing about Ram to me is that unlike "McCartney" the stakes are higher. He is really trying his best on this record. It isn't all great but it's still one of my favourites. Apparently "Back Seat Of My Car" was a 45 in Britain. It certainly deserved it.

    Pablo Castro pableia@yahoo.com.br
    I think that Paul once more demonstrate his incredible formal invention, going through ballads, blues, rockers, country, so many moods. And his singing is also incredible on the record. Highlights in my opinion : Too Many People, Dear Boy, Long-Haired Lady, Monkberry Moons Delight and, of course, The Back Seat Of My Car. Monkberry Moon Delight antecipates Tom Waits. Paul sings like a lion here. I agree with your review, overall..

    Steve SlyDaddy05@optonline.netk
    If this isn't Paul McCartneys best solo album I don't know what is. While Band On The Run is considered his best & so much praise has been heaped upon it, it really doesn't come close to RAM. From Uncle Albert to Back Seat Of My Car Paul & Linda pull out all the stops. This is a true classis. A definite 10!

    Mathew MatJDoyle@Yahoo.ca
    I went on a spree planning on listening to all of McCartneys albums a couple months back. When I got to this one I quickly wondered why no one else had ever turned me on to it. It is hands down the best McCartney album. Every song a gem. I daresay even better then Band on the Run. Which I know is a large claim, but oh well. Thats what reviews are for. If there was one McCarney album I would want anyone to get to know, it would hands down be this one.

    Absolute stonker - a classic album in that it never fails to make me feel happy .Its the best product from pauls "sod off im happy living on a farm in scotland period " Its the work of a musical genius let loose in the laboratory producing musical alchemy for fun . The title track is just gorgeous showing pauls only melodic rival to be brian wilson ,and proving paul only needed rudimentary tools to make classic pop. The 1st two tracks have a pop at the lennons and the beatles break up but its a mild rebuke compared to lennons "how do you sleep" which was just plain cruel . Every track is ace to my ears although a little less linda mac on "long haired lady" might have been a better idea . Its clear at this point how much paul was leading the beatles musically , johns gift was something entirely different - and the "admiral halsey" section on "uncle albert" is the kind of whimsical macca tune that used to make lennon and harrisons teeth itch . It just b! ecame clear all these elements couldnt coexist anymore in the one group. ram is maccas best solo album by a country mile and recommended to anyone who loves sublime pop music.

    Ryan Houston
    '3 Legs' lacks musicality? Absurd. Paul's acoustic guitar rhythm on this is unmatched... not to mention one it's probably the most howling and bombastic acoustic guitars ever recorded to tape. Denny Siewell's groove on this song, and the entire record if you ask me, is severely underrated. The playing, arrangement, and feel of this entire record leaves me in awe every time I hear it. It will go down as one of McCartney's great moments.

    Sand Norway
    For some reason "Ram" has become the hip McCartney record to like in recent years. Upon release it was slaughtered by the press and John Lennon shrugged it off as bubblegum music. But through years the album seems to have shaken off the bad reputation it first generated and is finally getting the credit it deserves. Being a McCartney fan through the decades, I must say, haven't always been easy with the in-crowd. Especially in the 80's/90's when McCartney's music after The Beatles was generally considered some sort of a joke, or a nadir. Except for "Band on the Run" of course. What appeals to me about "Ram", is the strangeness of it, a certain vibe, sort of homemade down on the farm, like Paul is coming down from outer space, after the success of the The Beatles, searching for planet earth. But this was 1971, the hippy-era, and rock star farmers smoked a lot of weed. You can tell you know, if you listen up close you can see the smoke coming out of the speakers. 10/10

    Georgie Oklahoma
    The record of songs on Ram,was a long long ways from turning to Flaming pie.Where only Dave Grohl might have believed it was a u.f.o.Before it was known,in a prospering shout of a bit type information..that another had given Paull the clue years before.Ram has this smiling indignant fasination to it.Going down the same road as the early 70's,true to his previous patterns everything is different from one work to the next.Which made his patterns those of brilliant calm extravagant masterpeices,sometimes his love of art being a breathless judgement.There are no words.Too many people,he prattles and rocks mysticism about.swoons echos interspering...sounds that stay with you.side one has a elements sound,while each song catches up to the next decree in changing powers.It ends with the design type irevelant joke on apparently sounding typical of his determined-play,but accents quite a bit in obviousness;dear,do you hear this as walk n rolling?The second side is linked t! o various elements not at all given in subtley on the first stretch.Instead of one point being drawn assumedly to point next,it goes a light year to a plain where they might have the great outdoors in bangkok china,then it seems quite a bit more like a serving of the elements in long hair lady.Maybe if to wonder,this song has more unique weirdness then all of the late 60s brian wilson compositions and rumours.Especially the kids hard ballad ,monkberry moondelight...where each letter of lyric can be heard being agonized in the way Paul miserably trys to make it clear..more intense then the diatribe part on oh woman oh why,where he sounds fraught with unhappiness being caught in her spotlight of truth.Back seat of my car(pause)while an inventor of cresendos and their almost sexy build up to outrageous sudden distortion in the greatness of the word loudness.Each second between the wavering words of:oh we believe we cant be alone(perusing dangerously to the conclusive ending pa! use)his voice wearys...the very ambience falls apart...the fir! eworks d uring the live version of live and let die dont capture this same amnolatity and thrust once it starts up,of Back Seat Of My Car.This recording isnt in Sir Pauls catagory of released pleasures.

    Kier Smith NottinghamRam is my favourite Post Beatles release. I think (to name 3) Dear Boy, Monkberry moon delight & Back seat of my car are 3 of his best ever songs. He put maximum effort into making this album and it shows. the melodys are perfect, his vocal range and delivery is simply sublime, the songs are catchy, interesting, weird & wonderful. His lyrics are outrageous (especially on Monkberry moon delight) It's a rainbow full of delights. There's so much to enjoy about it. This album would sit in the top 20 albums ever made for me, and i've heard thousands of albums! It's nice to read others saying it's his best release too.........

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    Wild Life( 1971, UK pos 11 )
    Mumbo / Bip Bop / Love Is Strange / Wild Life / Some People Never Know / I Am Your Singer / Bip Bop Line / Tomorrow / Dear Friend / Mumbo Link /

    Paul heard that Bob Dylan recorded an album in two days. Bob did, it was called 'Another Side Of Bob Dylan'. Thing is, Bob had written the songs over a period of time. I think Paul got a bit confused. Nevermind, hey, cos Paul decided to write AND record his new album in two days. Or at least, it sounds like it. Several songs were clearly made up on the spot, as the tape recorders rolled. The lyrics are lightweight, so lightweight and nonsensical, a child of four may as well have written them. If any of this information is slightly incorrect, I do apologise. My information is near enough the truth. 'Wild Life' was indeed recorded, and a good portion of it written as well, within a mere matter of days. Paul had a new band, too! Oooh, a guy from The Moody Blues ( who sang on their stellar hit "Go Now" ) and a drummer. Must not forget Linda, either. Linda came on-board, of course, playing keyboards and singing. Paul apparently said she would add an innocence to the sound of the music. Anyways, 'Wild Life' was savaged by every single fan and critic in the world, it seems, at the time it was released. John releases 'Imagine', Paul releases 'Wild Life'? Unfairly for Paul, I don't think his critical reputation ever fully recovered. The stupid thing is, this album, daft as it is, as dense as the concept was - does display Paul as a talent. Tossed off melodies work. The lyrics are nothing at all, just mere words that mean nothing, although the title song at least SOUNDs serious. Most of the songs are built around a single hook, or two - simplicity in themselves. Listened to years later, 'Wild Life' sounds like no other album you've ever heard. That's a good thing.

    'Mumbo' is a neat rocker, 'Bip Bop, despite having the worst lyrics in the world, EVER - a catchy pop song. 'Love Is Strange' is excrement, the title song actually very good indeed. 'Some People Never Know' opens with folky acoustic guitar and is a very nice song. 'I Am Your Singer' is a daft thing to say, 'Bip Bop Line' taking the lightweight 'Bip Bop' too far. Let's put it this way, this album is hardly 'Sgt Peppers' and the two 'Bip Bop' songs hardly bookending this album in the way the title song(s) from 'Sgt Peppers' did! Still, 'Tomorrow' is a beautiful song, an understated gem. Lovely little piano melodies. Lovely harmonies. Off the cuff lyrics that are picturesque, actually. So it goes, 'Dear Friend' is dreary, the closing 'Mumbo Link' clearly a studio jam that serves little purpose whatsoever.

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    Readers Comments

    annnnndy seagrove theseagroves@yahoo.com
    everyone dumps on this album but there is some great music here. Some People Never Know is Pauls answer to John Lennons How Do You Sleep. Listen for the the cymbal when he sings "some people can sleep at night time believing that love is alive". Tomorrow, Love is strange, I am your singer are great songs! not McCartneys best album but still agood one...7/10

    Phantomgtowner phantomgtowner@hotmail.com
    Unlike its two predesessors, it sounds like it was thrown together very quickly. Most of it is disposable. "Tomorrow" and "Dear Friend" are decent ballads but "Wild Life" sounds like a plagarism of CSNY's "Almost Cut My Hair". Of his first three LP's, it is by far the least enjoyable.

    Pablo Castro pableia@yahoo.com.br
    Although certainly solemn, Dear Friend is a great song. I like Some People Never Know, Tomorrow and I Am Your Singer, even thouh none is much ambitious.

    Turbottski markturbott@blueyonder.co.uk
    This has to be my least favourite Wings album. I'm not going to just dismiss it and call it s**t because that would be unfair. There are some good songs included but they hardly make up 50% of what's on offer here. Coming straight after the excellent 'Ram' (not actually a Wings album) this is such a disappointment. How on earth some of the tracks got as far as the recording studio I do not know. The worst offender has to be 'Bip Bop'. As Adrian quite rightly points out the lyrics are awful. I'd be embarrassed to play this to a friend but Macca actually thought it worthy enough to put it on the finished album. Also we have a cover of 'Love Is Strange'. Okay, so they wanted some reggae on the album, no problem, Linda liked it, so do I but why in the form of a cover? This is a dreary song in any form. If I was playing this LP for the first time and not looking at the song sequence/titles I'd be thinking, this is okay, probably an instrumental. Then the singing starts and you re! alise they're doing that boring Everly Brothers number. Another wasted 5 minutes. The title track is slightly better but some poor lyrics and the unnecessary length of the song make this another duffer. All this on side one of the original LP record. Thankfully this side starts with the roaring 'Mumbo'. The lyrics are impossible to make out but it does not matter at all. 'Mumbo' would have graced 'Ram' (for quality). It's a fantastic track and rocks with serious conviction. Turning the LP over to play the other side would have been a worrying prospect back in 1971 (if you shared my views). Surely not more of the same. Actually not. The remainder of the album is generally very good. We have the wonderful 'Some People Never Know', the melodic 'Tomorrow' and the reflective 'Dear Friend' which is a stark piano song later brightened with accordions and some brass. Also there is the Paul and Linda duet 'I Am Your Singer'. Not great, still not anywhere near as bad as 1977's 'Cook ! Of The House', the other rare occasion where we hear Linda pro! perly. A lso not as bad as most of side one. A game of two halves, pardon the cliche. First half you team is losing 3-1 but they come good in the second half and get a 3-3 draw. That's what this album is like, song quality wise. On the whole 5/10 or 6/10 if I'm in a good mood.

    Sandy Norway
    "Wild Life" was released half a year after "Ram". It's not the greatest set of McCartney songs, or the greatest band in the world - yet. If you listen to Wings in chronology, from "Wild Life" to "Red Rose Speedway" and "Band On The Run", you can sense an evolution and a growth. I can understand the critics and the listerens dissapointment in 1971. Only four years had passed since "Sgt. Pepper", and "Wild Life" sounds amateurish. But hey, it's really the sound of McCartney reinventing himself. 7/10 : )

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    Red Rose Speedway( 1973, UK pos 5 )
    Big Barn Red / My Love / Get On The Right Thing / One More Kiss / Little Lamb Dragonfly / Single Pigeon / When The Night / Loup / Medley...

    The artwork is atrocious. Paul and bike and lots of red, very tacky indeed. I don't really understand why the artwork had to be any worse than Beatles artwork. Was there a particular reason? Anyway, yes. Another Paul McCartney solo record. Following on from the much ridiculed 'Wild Life', 'Red Rose The Speedway' at least indicated that Paul was taking things slightly more seriously. Yet, this album simply doesn't make any attempt to be ambitious, to be hip or cool. I get the feeling John worried about such things. It's funny, isn't it? John makes 'Imagine' after losing commercial ground with 'Plastic Ono Band'. He stated he wrapped up his 'Imagine' album lyrics in music that people would find more palatable. Paul just seemingly did whatever he liked. I mean, 'Wild Life', 'Ram', 'McCartney'? None of those albums seem designed for any purpose at all, other than Paul having fun making music. 'Red Rose Speedway' continues this trend. Well, it does seem more structured than previous solo Paul. Eight related songs, plus one rambling medley. Well, we open with 'Big Red Barn'. This is just 'Wild Life' era wings with more professional playing and production. It's the same kind of material, seemingly constructed and consisting of very little. It's just Paul being relaxed. Ballads such as 'My Love' and 'Little Lamb Dragonfly' are full of AOR and MOR, Paul not worrying about being hip one little bit, it would seem. These songs are so very easy listening, they may as well not exist.

    'Loup', subtitled Ist Indian On The Moon is a deeply strange offering. Lots of sound effects and instrumental passages and nonsense. Was this Pauls reply to Pink Floyd? Whatever it is, it's the sound of someone ( eg, Paul ) arseing around in the studio. 'When The Night' is another easy on the ear ballad, but this at least does have some distinctive McCartney melodic trademarks about it. 'Get On The Right Thing' isn't actually a million miles away from late-era Beatles, but for the production. There seems to be a shiny gloss surrounding 'Red Rose Speedway', perhaps in response to the savaged yet charming 'Wild Life'. The silly thing is, 'Red Rose Speedway' isn't actually any better an album. Paul is still doing whatever he damn well pleases, still struggling to find a real purpose outside of The Beatles. So, without any such purpose, he seemingly moves in totally different directions. For 'Wild Life' we had something rough and ready, for 'Red Rose Speedway' we've got something with a level of production that indicates Paul wanted the album to sell. The material itself doesn't always match this level of production, however. Most of this material is either very safe or very structurally rambling. Take the closing eleven minute medley as a case in point. To be honest with you, I don't quite know what to make of this album at all. <

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    Carolyn carolynmhoff@cs.com
    I totally disagree with your disapointing review of Red Rose Speedway. The first time I heard this album was in 1990 on my local classic radio station when Paul was touring then. The station used to play 6 classic albums from different artists every Sunday night and the DJ said we have a great great one here tonight and then he played Red Rose Speedway.I wqas only 8 when it came out and this was the first time I had heard it and I loved right away and I bought soon after! I have read many other reviews on Amazon.com and Epinons.com and Rate Your Music and others and many people love this album too. Several people summed up well what is so great about it. Paul's beautiful melodies and harmonies,great production,great musicianship and I would add great singing too. I was so pleased to see that The All Music Guide gave this album a 4 star rating.This album along with Venus and Mars is my favorite of Paul's solo/Wings albums. While Ram an! d Band on The Run have many very good songs on them,I don't love every song on those albums but I love the whole Red Rose Speedway and Venus Mars albums from start to finish! London Town is good and Tug of War is very good too but not as great as those other two. I also feel his melodies and harmonies are more beautiful on Red Rose Speedway than Band on The Run. Quit a few people have said that this is underrated and underappraciated gem from him another said it's a forgotten classic!

    Pablo Castro pableia@yahoo.com.br
    I agree with you. Paul, the pop-formalist. No deeper message, just unambitious songs. My Love, although a little hollow, stands up for its melody and the original A-part harmony that is very inspired.

    Kier Smith Nottingham
    The more i listen to Red Rose Speedway the more i love it, it's the first post Beatles release i bought, and when i first heard it i thought, this is ok, and i never really dipped into it that heavily - i'd always go with London Town, Venus & Mars, Back to the egg and Band on the run as Wings best output, BUT (I find this with all of McCartney's output) it grows and grows on me, and if you break the album down song by song, it's all pretty damn good, and according to Linda it was an album that lacked confidence? Big barn bed, 8, My Love 9, Get on the right thing 9, One more kiss (superb) 9, Little lamb dragonfly 7, single pigeon (charming!) 8, When the night 7, Loop 7, And then the glorious medley that seems to blend together perfectly....... I particularly love "hands of love" a great little number. "Ch,n Ch,n Check it out" ;-) - i'm gonna give the medley an outstanding 9, it's that good for me. So, i've com to love Red Rose Speedway, and as someone else pointed out, if you listen to Wings catalogue back to back, you can see how they grow as a unit and how McCartney's confidence develops. This is a fine album. 8/10. As always there's some really lovely melodies here and it shouldn't be dismissed. Band on the run came next. I wont post a comment on how good that album is, i don't think there's any need!

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    Band On The Run 9 ( 1974, UK pos 1 )
    Band On The Run / Jet / Bluebird / Mrs Vandebilt / Let Me Roll It / Mamunia / No Words / Picasso's Last Words / Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five

    People find it very easy to be dismissive of the solo career of Paul McCartney and his time spent in 'supergroup' Wings in particular. John went off and 'did' John and nobody much complained that he didn't sound like The Beatles anymore. Critics almost seemed to resent Paul for having the nerve to not sound like The Beatles and not only that, but TO START ANOTHER BAND! FROM SCRATCH!! He even went on a little budget tour back in the early Seventies at the dawn of the group Wings, going around the country playing Universities and travelling around in a little crappy bus. 'Band On The Run' appeared a little way into the career of Wings but was the first to really sound totally whole, and complete. This time, the record was so good, nobody minded too much that it wasn't The Beatles anymore. The album is book-ended by the title song, in full to open the record, and as a brief reprise to close following 'Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five'. The introduction to the song is absolutely beautiful - very relaxed and with some nice little vocal harmonies to make you swoon a little. You expect a bit more than just this mellow relaxtion, and thankfully we get it. A little funky bass line comes in, hand-claps ( always a good sign! ) and a McCartney vocal with no little power. Another sequence begins, the main of the song really which leads into the songs chorus. And, it's good! This comes across almost like a little side-two of 'Abbey Road' but compacted into the one song. Not really of course, but you can see the similarites. Maybe it was just down to Paul making a concerted effort to create a very real and consistent album in response to certain critiscms of his early solo career. 'Jet' has a little Seventies cheese about it, but it's still one of McCartney's finest rock 'n' roll numbers. Decent guitar, great little keyboard sounds in the instrumental break and a great vocal performance. 'Bluebird' of course draws comparisons with McCartneys own Beatles song 'Blackbird' but apart from that, bears no real similarity. This is back to the introduction of the opening song with its relaxed, mellow atmosphere and lovely harmony parts. I'm gonna state the obvious now, but Paul knew how to write a song!! This is structured perfectly, not a single part is out of place, everything sounds natural and how it should be. It's a great song.

    'Mrs Vandebilt' builds upon the opening songs if only in the sense that it's another good song. This is a very consistent album, no real weak points, if perhaps equally nothing as astonishing as 'Back Seat Of My Car' or 'Maybe I'm Amazed'. 'Let Me Roll It' is a little silly, a little dig at John - it sounds like John singing in places as Paul does a little bit of vocal acting. The echo on the drums recalls Spectors work with Lennon and this song is reputedly Pauls response to Johns scathing 'How Do You Sleep'. It's a nice song this though, nicely blues influenced and adds a little welcome variety to 'Band On The Run' to add to the rockers and ballads we've already had. 'Mamunia' is in some ways a perfect Paul McCartney song. If people are gonna criticze you for writing silly love songs with cheap, throw-away lyrics that lack real meaning, how about this? A good portion of this song consists of vocal 'humming' gorgeously sung. The lyrics proper come in, very unobtrusively - and we swing back to the singing of songs title in that laid-back, relaxed manner. A home-made feel to this song, although the production is actually rich enough to have easily withstood the test of time. 'Mamunia' isn't meant to be a song with a message, it's just meant to be a nice little tune to listen to. With that in mind, and listening to the gorgeous harmonies and interweaving vocal lines that come through later in the song - it's certainly a success. 'No Words' includes little string parts, a solid if unspectactular rhythm section all to support more accomplished vocal work. Paul really is in fine voice throughout this record and the supporting cast add their voices to the harmonies well. 'Picasso's Last Words' funnily enough almost could have been a Beatles song. The production values are changed of course, this wasn't the Sixties any longer, but this tracks sense of fun and ridiculous, little funny brass parts and 'comedy' samples are all enjoyable. We move into a different sequence, another multi-part song again inviting certain comparisons with the second half of 'Abbey Road' conceptually at least.

    'Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five' closes proceedings ( 'helen wheels' was absent from the original LP issue, later added to the American release, in case you were wondering why i've not mentioned it ) and is very funky and fun, too. 'Shake it!' sings Paul, and you're half inclined to do just that! Great little Piano on this song, more lovely harmony parts, but then, i'm a sucker for harmony vocals. The Piano continues, a great little guitar solo. All is well and it's a good way to close a consistent album that restored some of Paul McCartneys critical standing and also became a best-seller into the bargain.

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    Rob Eustace rob.eustace@tesco.net
    This one's a little overrated for me. It starts well enough with a nice mixture of tempo's through the three opening tracks "Band on the Run", "Jet" and "Bluebird" but then tails off into some messy filler. It's a shame as this could have been a genuine classic. "Let it Roll It" is pretty solid, as is the closing "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five" but "Mrs Vandebilt", "Mamunia" & "Picasso's Last Words" simply drag the album down for me. I personally don't rate this as highly as "Ram" or "Red Rose Speedway" but to the masses it was McCartney breaking back into the mainstream. The album was certainly boosted by the fact that it contained McCartney's strongest single releases since the Beatles days but look beyond those tracks and there's nothing that inspiring as far as I can see.

    brian gregorybadger@gregory1972.fsnet.co.uk
    I think that there is far too much filler on here and it hasn't dated particularly well.This album is over-rated, Ram and McCartney are far superior. That said, Jet and the title track were great singles and Bluebird is very pleasant.I'd give it a 6 overall

    Ousetunes ousetunes@aol.com
    Rated by many as Macca's finest non-Beatles album I am one person who does not go along with that proclaimation. It's good yes, but it's not his Sgt Pepper, not by a long way. To me, it's almost Red Rose Speedway Part Two; it's not even as good as London Town - a comparible album in that it was recorded mainly by Paul, Linda and Denny as the band around this trinity fell apart. It's not even Wings' finest album. That's Wings Over America, a live triple offering that showcases the group's finest line-up along with their finest songs (inc a few old Beatles numbers thrown in for good measure) and without a doubt, Paul McCartney's finest vocal offering. The biggest disappointment of Band on the Run is its flat production. It is very poorly recorded, even by early 1970 standards. Jet should be a blast in your ears; instead it's almost one dimensional. Likewise the title track. When it breaks out into the acoustic section, there's an audible loss in the sound balance, i.e! ., the song gets quieter. The master tape exceeds breaking point in No Words where the lead guitar shatters the recording level. Maybe there were no compressors onboard?! Band on the Run also contains one or two songs which if offered to the Beatle would never have seen the light of day. The long, boring and self-indulgent dirge that is Picasso's Last Words is almost an embarrassment. Unfortunately, since the death of Brian Epstein Paul's output no longer had a Quality Control to go through. If Paul deemed it good enough, it went on the album. (See Her Majesty, Maxwell's Silver Hammer, the whole McCartney album, Bip Bop, Cook of the House, Reception, Backwards Traveller/Cuff link, etc, etc.). Alas, there are some fine offerings though not too many. The title track, for all its poor recording is a Macca classic (inspired by a comment from George stating 'if we ever get out of this place'), Jet is a fine song and No Words (For My Love) is wonderful if too sh! ort! Mamunia is pleasant enough and Bluebird is nice too. Howe! ver, the jury is out regarding Mrs Vanderbilt as Macca's crap lyrics make a quick return. Ho, hey ho! 1985 is also a great song but like its collegues suffers from truly awful production. A couple more songs and the withdrawal of the pointless repsrice at the end would also have improved this album. (And whilst I'm at it, Helen Wheels on the US and later UK CD versions - no thank you!) So, my Beatles buddies, if you were to say to me 'where should I start collecting McCartney's back catalogue' I would answer....NOT Band on the Run! Maybe Ram, maybe Tug of War or possibly, my fave Macca offering, 1989's marvellous Flowers in the Dirt.

    Tom Emanuelsamwise256@hotmail.com
    I agree with your review, and then some - for me this glorious record is the pinnacle of Paul's post-Beatles career, the one record you could play all the way through from start to finish and say, "Yes! That was as good as ANYTHING the Beatles ever did!" The mini-suites are brilliant, the rockers reckless, the love songs genuinely affecting, the melodies complex but universal, and vocals and harmonies all first-rate, the lyrics imagistic and suggestive... what isn't there to like? This ranks only six or seven from the top on my personal All-Time Greatest Albums list. Macca's masterpiece!

    Fidel fidelsjuarezg@hotmail.com
    My favourite album. It heals!

    phantomgtowner phantomgtowner@hotmail.com
    It's not my favourite McCartney but it is good and he sounds more confident than on his previous LP "Red Rose Speedway".Don’t care much for “Jet” or “Helen Wheels” but “Let Me Roll It” and “Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five” are high points. I think it's the song "Mrs. Vanderbilt" where Paul keeps repeating "What's The Use Of Worrying?"(presumably about what the critics will say). Near the end of the song Paul answers his own question by saying "No use." Then he proceeds to do what was perceived as his finest post Beatles work up to that time.

    Pablo Castro pableia@yahoo.com.br
    This album is overrated indeed, maybe because the title track is so good, a classic, and the cover is very interesting. it was recorded on Nigeria, it seems you didn´t notice that fact. So the recording quality is not very high. Band On The Run, 1985, Jet, No Words, and you have the main ones.

    john john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    "nineteen hundred and eighty five" is such an impressive tune, it's just a shame that the year itself turned out to be so crappy........

    Harold Meeking haroldmeeking@yahoo.com.au
    Are you a musician? The comments you write about Paul McCartney's music seem to indictae that this is not the case. Who cares what is "acceptable" in certain time periods? I venture that you have not really studied the songs that Paul McCartney has composed, especially those from Back To The Egg, and the arrangements and chord voicings he uses. Many of Paul's songs post-Beatles are far better arrangements than the Beatles' songs, because his creativity was more mature, and his use of instrumentation was less 'raw'. I have listened to and have memorised almost every Beatles song lyric, and whilst the compositions are great, the recordings are not as good as later recordings of the 70's and 80's.

    gazza, Edingburgh
    The only time macca managed to match his own heights on "abbey road", as a solo act . Its still a great album , i love listening to it (especially after a smoke ;)) But youre wrong about "let me roll it" its not a dig at john more a tribute and a sorry for not being more emotionally accessible during the latter stages of the beatles .Its clear reconciliation was on both mens mind after 4 years of fighting . Their fued was over at this point and lennon even made complimentary noises in the press about the album . Its simply pure macca , and one of the 70s best albums .

    kevin c Reading, UK
    "Band on the Run" is McCartney's best album - period, bar none, case closed. Some people complain about filler, but I say that even the supposedly weaker cuts, like "Mamunia," and "Mrs. Vanderbuilt" are solid album tracks. For my money, "Let Mr Roll It," is perhaps the weakest, but because of it's Lennonesque sound and sentiments, it often gets hyped up as one of the better tracks. We could argue back and forth, but this is a rarity, not only among McCartney albums, but among albums in general: A great, very listenable album from start to finish.

    Rick Robinson Memphis
    I'm glad to see the general consensus here agrees that Band on the Run isn't the pinnacle of Paul's solo career. There's a lot of genius to be heard on it, but too often that magic is clouded by instruments and vocals which fall out of tune ("Mrs Vanderbilt" and "Bluebird" suffer from some particularly discordant moments). After the original tapes they were recording were stolen roadside by Nigerian robbers, Paul, Linda and Denny had to start all over again, and one wonders if they just wanted to get it redone and get out of Africa, not bothering with a lot of retakes. Still, BOTR is a very worthy album and belongs near the top of McCartney must-haves.

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    Venus And Mars 6 ( 1975, UK pos 1 )
    Venus And Mars / Rock Show / Love In Song / You Gave Me The Answer / Magneto And Titanium Man / Letting Go / Spirits Of Ancient Egypt / Medicine Jar / Call Me Back Again / Listen To What The Man Said / Treat Her Gently / Crossroads

    Another Paul plus Wings effort, although after 'Band On The Run' had only featured a makeshift Wings line-up Paul made moves to recruit to the Wings ranks, tour the world as 'Wings', etc, etc. Still, Paul was on a high after 'Band On The Run' and bursting with confidence. So, 'Venus And Mars' has songs flowing together, a few medley's and such. No clear concept, but it's the kind of artful deceipt that, well, deceives. Looking beyond such empty jestures at being artful, what is left beating underneath? Well, the title track and 'Rock Show' opening, immediately sounding mock-glam during an era when glam-rock had already lost it's shine. At the other end of the album, 'Crossroads Theme' just sounds like one huge slap in the face to every Beatles fan on earth, Paul descending into ultimate easy listening depths. 'Venus And Mars' is an album that shines in all the wrong places. The production tricks and the somewhat glossy sound of the record often smothering the generally solid playing and usually strong melodies. As a related aside, the 70s catalogue of The Kinks is often derided for so blantantly failing to match even an iota of The Kinks 60s brilliance. A song here on 'Venus And Mars' reminds me of this, 'Magneto & Titanium Man'. It's a song that whilst it's playing you can happily nod your head to, but it's not a song that i'm particular fond of telling people who aren't familiar with it is 'by Paul McCartney'. It demeans his standing, both as an ex-beatle and as solo artist. Harsh words perhaps, but after 'Band On The Run' had built upon earlier Paul solo works such as 'Ram' and restored his critical reputation, it just seems that Paul is happy coasting here, building tracks such as 'Letting Go' and 'Call Me Back Again' around performance and musical tricks designed more to blast across an arena and sound great in that environment, rather than tracks to be repeatedly enjoyed whilst listening at home.

    I do enjoy the whimsy of the musical hall 30s flavoured 'You Gave Me The Answer'. 'Listen To What The Man Said' is a very solid track and the only obvious pick from this album to have hit single potential. It has those Paul melodies, clever melodies yet sounding so easy and hummable, in good ways. Oh, we've a song neither written nor sung by Paul, Wings were a true democratic band, right? Right. Well, 'Medicine Jar' comes across as a decent bluesy effort even if the vocalist reminds of Ringo in places, or maybe that's just my imagination? It could just be my imagination. There are hints of Sgt Peppers and Abbey Road in the sequencing and presentation of 'Venus And Mars'. There are other nods at Paul's past, something he's usually very good at doing, but here? Well, it's not a bad album as such. It's just a rather forgettable album. Good playing, well put together songs, just nothing that strikes me as being either essential or repeat-playable.

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    ed bowsher ed_bowsher@hotmail.com
    I think you're a bit hard on this album. It deserves a 7. "Love in Song" is the strongest track. An excellent understated ballad, simiar to "Waterfalls" but better. I'm amazed Macca didn't put that track on the Wingspan compilation. I also really like "Listen to what the man said" and "Letting Go." I accept the album is uneven, but that's true of most of Paul's post-Beatles LPs. And hey, "Crossroads" was meant as a joke.....

    Pablo Castro pableia@yahoo.com.br
    I really LOVE ´´You Gave me The Answer´´. ``Call me Back Again`´, and Time To Hide, very interesting composition by Denny Laine. Medicine Jar is a very good rocker too.

    Kier Smith Nottingham
    I love 'Venus & Mars' i remember excitedly getting home with my new album which i bought the day after my 18th birthday and going to bed playing it through my headphones. I loved it, and i still love it. The title track ushers in with a beautiful melody, 'rock show' is great fun, 'love in song' a beautiful haunting track, 'you gave me the answer' is wonderfully uplifting and remeniscent of Beatles songs like 'Honey Pie' 'Magneto & Tiyanium man' is a great song and very funny 'Letting go' is really cool and my favourite song on the album 'venus and mars (reprise)' is better than the first and the outro is fantastic, 'Spirits of ancient egypt' is a fine song 'medicine jar' rocks and is truly smokin'! 'Call me back again' i'm not overly fussed on but love Macca's vocal, 'Listen to what the man said' is hip and groovy. 'Treat her gently/Lonely old people' is lovely, 'Crossroads theme' slightly odd - but why not, nice solo..........good album closer. Brilliant work, I've played this album consistently for nearly 15 years now. Paul McCartney is a genius. 9/10

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    Wings At The Speed Of Sound 5 ( 1976, UK pos 2 )
    Let Em In / The Note You Never Wrote / She's My Baby / Beware My Love / Wino Junko / Silly Love Songs / Cook Of The House / Time To Hide / Must Do Something About It / San Ferry Anne / Warm And Beautiful

    Paul was at some kind of commercial high as far as Wings were concerned. Huge tours, massive sales. This perhaps explains why this album and 'Venus And Mars' come across as kind of, 'nothing to prove' records. Neither LP is really about anything, neither really has any particular reason to exist, other than to consolidate. Still, neither LP is without good moments. Well, naturally. Mr McCartney still had wits about him, still had ways with melody. The opening track and one of the best here, 'Let Em In'. It's got good rhythms, good harmonies. Very cleverly structured, as perhaps we would expect from a crafstman such as Paul. 'Silly Love Songs' was a big hit, the kind of innocuous piece of catchy fluff that Paul singles had become, much to various teeth-nashing of critics. 'Silly Love Songs'? Well, it kind of does what it says on the tin - it's sweet, charming. Pleasant and completely inoffensive. Sticking with the love theme for a moment, 'Beware My Love' is a rocker on an album somewhat light on rockers. It's a light kind of rocker, as well. Paul sings this well enough but for me, the track never really catches fire as it should. Oh, a quick word of warning for those expecting a Wings album similar in structure to the others, eg, a Paul solo album in all but name. This collection is half a Paul solo album in all but name, the rest is given over to the other group members. Even Linda! Lindas contribution is the completely awful 'Cook Of The House'. Her vocals are weakly bearable at best, thin and pinched, tuneless and irritatingly crap at worst. The lyrics are terrible. This song is followed on the album by a Denny Laine contribution, 'Time To Hide'. A far better crafted number than Linda's effort, although Denny's vocals leave an awful lot to be desired.

    Placed at the end of 'side 1' is 'Wino Junko' This song captures the mood and style of Pauls contributions far better than any other 'non-paul' song here. This works in the context of the group and the LP. Good stuff. 'She's My Baby' and 'The Note You Never Wrote' are the other 'non paul' compositions, both are decent enough I suppose, just remarkably unremarkable. That's the only thing that springs to mind, really. So, with five non-paul songs making up a good half of the album, and apart from the couple of Paul songs i've already mentioned, what's left? Well, 'San Ferry Anne' is an interesting, laid back and fairly quirky tune. The closing track, 'Warm And Beautiful' a decent enough Paul piano ballad. What's good about this being just Paul and piano is the fact it therefore avoids the MOR sugar the majority of the rest of the album suffers from. Ah, well. Something like that. To my ears, 'Wings At The Speed Of Sound' has hardly dated well. With the other Wings members getting their go at the microphone, is a bit like latter-day Byrds, as well. You no, this democracy is all very laudable, but just let the main creative dude get on with it, please?! Otherwise, you'll only end up with a compromised product. Was this an album to support a tour? Probably, probably. That's something Paul would do a lot of later in his solo career, after all.

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    Neil steed_and_peel@iprimus.com.au
    Any album that features tripe such as "Let 'Em In", "Cook Of The House", and "Wino Junko" should be taken out and burnt immediately. Truly this was a new low for MacCartney (soon to be followed by many others...). This album proved once and for all that MacCartney had nothing at all to say, and that his composition skills were little above the trivial. Yet another ex-Beatle outing that proves to me yet again that George Martin was the real brains behind the the "four lovable scousers".... :-o

    Jim Jess georgejess01@aol.com
    McCartney albums are amazing for dividing opinions, he's now made 20 solo records and each one of those is someone's favourite McCartney album. The man never stands still - each album has its own personality and contains a wide variety of musical genres, welcoming everyone in ways that 70's contemporaries such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath never did. Speed Of Sound was made when McCartney's second band were at their peak and were one of the leading acts in the world -people forget just how huge Wings were in the mid 70's, and the accompanying world tour was a massive success (and Adrian, the Wings Over America live album DOES merit a review!) Personally, I love this album. Two multi-platinum singles - Let 'Em In and Silly Love Songs (the latter a one fingered salute to the aforementioned critics) are already well known, but the majority of the remaining album tracks are top notch. Beware My Love rocks in ways Lennon could only dream of. The Note! You Never Wrote is so atmospheric and mysterious. She's My Baby (btw this IS sung by Paul) and Cook Of The House are fun, catchy songs (why is this frowned upon by critics?) and surely raise a smile with most listeners. Wino Junko is a good anti-drug song by drug addict Jimmy, and Time To Hide one of Denny's very best. Must Do Something About It is finely sung by Joe English, Wings' drummer, though I would love to hear Paul himself sing this gem of a song. San Ferry Anne is so laid back and melodic, and the final track, Warm And Beautiful, is simply sublime, one of Paul's greatest ballads. You give this a 5? For me, Speed Of Sound is at least an 8, but as I mentioned before, we all have our own tastes!

    badger badger@gregory1972.fsnet.co.uk
    This album is very poor,only Let em in has a strong melody but to say (as another poster states) that this proves that George Martin was the brains behind The Beatles is like saying that the guy who invented the electric guitar was the genius behind Hendrix! ridiculous! who wrote the songs?!!!!!!!!!!bought any George Martin albums recently??.......no,thought not.

    Leighton Thomas sirlignon@yahoo.co.uk
    I've agreed with most of what you've said up until now but you've got it wrong. Speed of sound is a fine album, and I believe all the better for the inclusion of the other members in the songwriting stakes. Sorry to correct you but 'She's my baby' was in fact a Paul sung number, the other in question being "I must do something about it." People are often so overly critical and viciously scathing, see the previous comment of "should be thrown out and burnt" The only thing that should be thrown out and burnt are the misadvised words of people who constantly expect groundbreaking work from an artist who had NOTHING LEFT TO PROVE. Speed of sound is a god album - no more no less. As Paul sang on Wildlife: "Some people never know". Having said that though, "Cook of the house" WAS abysmal. I don't think anybody disagrees with that. (except Paul maybe)

    kevin c Reading, UK
    I liked this when it came out -- when I was 14 -- but it doesn't hold up too well these days. Two good songs - "Silly Love Songs" and "Let 'Em In." The ones sung by the other members are lightweight to begin with, and historically, have virtually no value. Who cares about a song sung by Joe English? Jimmy McCullough? And, of course, Linda's song is absolutely dreadful. Why Paul didn't write a real song for her and then dress up her vocals with overdubs, harmonies, etc. I will never know. He left her hanging out to dry on that turkey.

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    London Town( 1978, UK pos 4 )
    London Town / Cafe On The Left Bank / I'm Carrying / Backwards Traveller / Cuff Link / Children Children / Girlfriend / I've Had Enough / With A Little Luck / Famous Groupies / Deliver Your Children / Name And Address / Don't Let It Bring You Down / Morse Moose And The Grey Goose

    A peculiar album, this. Trimmed down to a trio for the first time since 'Band On The Run', Denny Laine and cohorts ( Paul and Linda ) produce a very homely, nice record to listen to. We've got some hit and miss experimentation that proves Paul still wasn't afraid to take risks. We've a couple of very mainstream, MOR pop songs. We've got a bunch of ballads and folk songs and a Denny Laine sung track that's actually really very good. Sounds alright as a combination all that, doesn't it? So yes indeed, Denny Laine was still around and contributes 'Children Children', a lovely sweet inoffensive song that makes me smile because of its simplistic nature of joy. Oh, a word to the wise. Recent CD editions of this album carry both sides of huge UK hit song, 'Mull Of Kintyre', a celtic sounding folk monstrosity that also happens to be one of the best selling singles of all time. So huge was it, in fact - in the UK ( strangely, it was never released as an a-side in the US ) that us UK fellows can barely listen to it now. Yes, some twenty five years later! Ah, one question I bet everybody is wondering about. Did Paul ever 'go disco'? Plenty of people did, with often terrible results. So, does Paul go disco? Well, yes. But only on a couple of songs and then, he tries his best to place a load of other stuff in the songs, as well. So, we have the inconsequential, soft funk/disco instrumental, 'Cuff Link'. The quite frankly hugely bizarre 'Morse Moose And The Grey Goose' which almost defies description. A good two minutes elapse before the song gets going proper, it then goes all folky and uptempo and then the disco arrives. Quite accomplished and well produced disco but married to some kind of story-telling lyrics. Well, you can see i'm struggling. Apparently, some Paul fans hate this tune, I just find it funny and hilarious. Which was probably the intention Paul had with it, all along.

    We'll move around the track-listing for a bit before summing up. It's no biggie you see, this album. It just is what it is. With Wings becoming so huge for a couple of years ( i'm deliberately not reviewing the triple set live album ), I can't think of a better way for Paul to 'come-down' than this 'London Town' album. Speaking of which, the title song is very nice, very soft with synths and string sounds. But, a very charming vocal melody. 'Girlfriend' features Paul on falsetto and will be familiar to many because of the Michael Jackson cover version that appeared on 'Off The Wall'. 'With A Little Luck' i've often read as being of 'Beatle quality' by certain UK music critics. It's a little too much of its time production wise for me, the synths and bass, the overall sound just screaming late seventies MOR. Best track on the album for me is the wonderful 'Cafe On The Left Bank', a serious Paul composition with electric guitar and very good production and structure. Similarly enjoyable is the simplistic rocker, 'I've Had Enough'. Paul reaches back into his past to produce something akin to a Beatles rocker. Only something akin to a Beatles rocker, you understand, but this is a fun track nonetheless.

    'London Town' is no masterpiece but is certainly better than a few of the other McCartney efforts we've already discussed. It's easy to listen to, contains no real clunkers but equally, not enough highlights of genius. Still, I say well done to Paul. Good stuff.

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    Turbottski markturbott@blueyonder.co.uk
    Good review Adrian, I agree with your marks out of 10 for this album too. Like so many Wings albums, this is above average but there's little here out of the ordinary. This album in my opinion is an improvement on 'Wings At The Speed Of Sound' but not quite as good as the final 'Back to the Egg' LP that followed. The album has an excellent opener in the title track and the folk numbers are generally pleasing but a little twee at times. 'Cafe On The Left Bank', 'I've Had Enough' and 'Don't Let It Bring You Down' are all good songs but most interesting are the album's two longest tracks. 'With A Little Luck' at 5.43 and 'Morse Moose And The Grey Goose' at 6.24 sound a bit disorganised at first but improve with each play. The latter is one of the oddest Wings tracks I can think of. It develops into a sort of sea-shanty and then has disco undertones later on. There are 3 or 4 tracks to be found here that really are fillers, I'm sure they were never played live. 'Girlfriend' has ! since been arguably bettered by Michael Jackson but doesn't fall into the filler category, after all it's a superb song and a highlight. I would only recommend this album to major Macca fans and completists, then again they'd probably own it already.

    Kier Smith Nottingham
    Yeah, a fair review. I really like London Town, it's a strong album. There;s a couple that could have been left off, 'Famous Groupies' namely. The title track is great, Cafe on the left bank is superb, I'm carrying is great, Backwards traveller - ill take, Children Children great, Girlfriend lovely, Delivery Your Children - superb. Morse moose and the grey goose - superb! When Macca is hot, he's red hot. Cuff link is funky, Don't let it bring you down is largely under-rated. I've always loved 'With a little luck' - not too mad on 'Ive had enough' personally. There's plenty of goodies here, London Town is possibly 3rd behind Band on the run and Back to the egg for the best Wings albums. I'd give this album 8.5/10

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    Back To The Egg 6 ( 1979, UK pos 6 )
    Reception / Getting Closer / We're Open Tonight / Spin It On / Again And Again And Again / Old Siam Sir / Arrow Through Me / Rockestra Theme / To You / After The Ball / Winter Rose / The Broadcast / Glad To See You Here / Baby's Request

    The final ever Wings album. It did moderately well commercially, but not quite as well as previous Paul/Wings albums. It seems to me to be a rather schizophrenic album release. Paul incorporates elements of punk and disco into his songs. He also seems to just wanna rock on a bunch of songs here, although Paul trying to be Elvis Costello ( or whoever the hell he had been listening to at the time ) seems to produce an album that means we lose a little melody in the process. A lot of this album simply doesn't sound like Paul McCartney at all. Now that would be all well and good if what replaces the signature Paul melodic threads and little twists were at all inviting. Not of course that Paul's talent deserted him. What you once have in abundance can never completely desert you unless you go raving mad, which Paul never seems to have done, thank god. There's little short pieces here like 'We're Open Tonight' which has seen some fans dub 'Back To The Egg' as Wings version of 'Abbey Road'. That it certainly isn't, due to the sheer lack of flow and coherence this album presents us with. 'Baby's Request' for instance is pure McCartney in easy listening mode aka 'Good Night', although when sat right next to the punk effort of 'Glad To See You Here'? It's a perfect example of the sheer oddness of this album. 'The Broadcast', for example. A little Paul piano/classical thing upon which an apparently stirring speech is presented over the top. It's inconsequential when taken in isolation. It's a filler/linking track, at best. The intro and vocal approach of 'To You' and other tunes here seem to prove Paul had at least taken Punk on board, even though the music 'Back To The Egg' presents in this mode would probably make the least convincing punk music on earth.

    Plus points, then. 'Old Siam, Sir' is an experiment that works, although i'm not too hot on the paul vocal. Musically, it's pretty funky. 'Arrow Through Me' and 'To You' ( i'm deliberately ignoring 'Rockesta Theme' which is seventies daftness at its worst ) form a solid mid section to the album. I quite like the mellow and not at all hip 'Winter Rose/Love Awake'. It's the longest song on the album at four minutes, fifty eight seconds. We've a lot of short songs, another nod towards punk. Sadly, we've an album lacking almost entirely in cohesion or sensible direction. It's a brave experiment from Paul, he put himself out there and did something different, I love him for that. But I don't love listening to this album all that much. I feel like saying sorry for not liking it, but what can a person do?

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    Mecko mecko@tutopia.com
    I think this is a fine album. Very different from the others. A little punkie, a little kitch, but good. It deserves an 8.

    Kier Smith Nottingham
    I strongly recomment this album, I think it's superb, and could well be Wings masterpiece, Much like 'RAM', every song is interesting, and Paul's voice is in superb form again. I particularly love "again & again & again" (Denny Laine), "old siam sir", "arrow through me" "after the ball/millions miles" "winter rose (beautiful vocal) / "Love awake, "so glad to see you here" , "babys request" a brilliant swansong. (though not intended to be) 9/10 for me. The Front cover is great, the Rockestra theme was cool and - i love it all.

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    McCartney II 8 ( 1980, UK pos 1 )
    Coming Up / Temporary Secretary / On The Way / Waterfalls / Nobody Knows / Front Parlour / Summer's Day Song / Frozen Jap / Bogey Music / Dark Room / One Of These Days

    After several years of Wings, McCartney goes solo again. The album was titled McCartney II in deferance to his first solo effort which much like this one, was also entirely self performed. The album is an often bewildering mix of eccentric electronics with straight McCartney ballads and pop. The lyrics sound like Paul was on something during the period the album was put together. The entire effect is demoish in terms of song-structure, everything thrown into the pot to see what sticks, kind of thing. In places, the album comes across incredibly well, incredibly bravely. For Paul to be delving into almost Kraftwerk territory in some places, then deeply strange new wave / analogue synth music in other places, has to be admired. Has to be, even if the album, practically by dint of its own design, doesn't come across as anything approaching a conventional masterpiece. Perhaps in all but very recent years, Paul has always strived to be contemporary. Technology was changing fast, and although Paul was no expert in these matters, decided to put his own creativity to the test. It's perhaps easier to be creative with an instrument you aren't actually a master of. It forces you to use a side of your brain that will solve any potential problems you may encounter due to your own lack of mastery. That's my theory anyway, and i'm sticking to it. Well, i'll mention a few of the more straight-forward songs first. Following two fairly odd sounding opening tracks, 'On The Way' manages to be a convincing blues flavoured number. 'Waterfalls' is a beautifully penned McCartney ballad of the finest calibre and the closing 'One Of The Days' an acoustic-tinged, typically pretty slice of McCartney whimsy.

    The hit single 'Coming Up' is great pop music, pop music with a Talking Heads/Devo kind of feel, which in 1980 wasn't a feel that all ex-members of huge selling sixties bands were producing! 'Temporary Secretary' just strikes me as being deeply funny, the melody produced by the computers and machinery, the beeps and drums and everything else - the lyrics - clearly all something out of a mind that's not entirely taking the project seriously. Still, we love this in our house. The song displays a kind of playfulness that hadn't been a factor in McCartney-land for a good long while at the time this album was first released. 'Front Parlour' and 'Frozen Jap' are deeply strange and funny instrumental pieces. They work as marvellous entertainment, at the end of the day. Not to be taken too seriously though, please don't frown in front of these two tracks, frowning or tutting will hamper your enjoyment of them! What else? Well, 'Summer's Day Song' is a synth and beautiful McCartney melodies and a touching, atmospheric vocal. 'Nobody Knows' a song that comes across a band jamming and having fun. To no real purpose or grand design, yet simply exuding something. Exuding something that is a key in the understanding and enjoyment of music. It's taking it all back to the pioneers, to the fun to be had in hearing and listening to someone doing something different to what had gone before. Not to give Paul too much credit for 'McCartney II' however, it is of course fairly shambolic in many places, yet having said that, it rarely fails to amuse, surprise or delight me.

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    Gregory badger@gregory1972.fsnet.co.uk

    Joe H. jcjh20@hotmail.com
    I agree exactly with what you said about this album in your review. "Coming Up" is my favorite. Such an incredibly catchy song with some really odd arrangements, not to mention with a nice commercial beat to it. Strange that the live version of this hit number 1 instead of the studio version, which is what should of happened. "Waterfalls" and "Summers Day Song" are both gorgeous, and the latter is filled with lots of dreamy mellotron. "On the way" is a really cool bluesy tune that sounds like a song he would do in the mid-60s when that sort of thing was done more by rock/pop bands. Agreed with your 8 rating.

    Kier Smith
    The more i listen to this album, the more i rate it and the more and more i want to listen to it. So Paul breaks up Wings and just as he did when The Beatles split, goes into the studio and mucks around and see's what he comes up with. A mixed bag, all manner of styles and songs and some interesting pieces. Obviously he was messing around with synths and by his own admission "i found out what i dont like about sytnesizers" - 'Coming up' is a brilliant piece of pop, 'Temporary Secretary' is silly playful stuff but i love the acoustic on it, and it's a strangely addictive song! 'On the way' is like 'Oo-You''s little brother.......very cool. ' 'Waterfall's is a lovely minimilitic approach that works well. 'Nobody knows' is an up-beat simple number. The next 3 are just fantastic ' Front Parlour' & 'Frozen Jap' are two fantastic instrumentals, hummable and make me wanna move.... 'Summers day song' is in between them and is very moving, haunting and, well, gorgeous. 'Bogey Music' is a step too far admittedly but i always have this sense of "why not" with Paul, because some of his best moments come out when he's being utterly odd! 'Darkroom' is a fine example of that, tell me - name another artist that would dare put this type of stuff out? people tend to think Paul has this image of being utterly perfect, they're missing the point entirely fo me........... Paul does what he likes and the album closer 'One of these days' is another classic Paul to keep your all sweet! ;-) . A truly strange collection of songs, but still very Paul and a must have for me. 8.5/10

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    Tug Of War( 1982, UK pos 1 )
    Tug Of War / Take It Away / Somebody Who Cares / What's That You're Doin / Here Today / Ballroom Dancing / The Pound Is Sinking / Wanderlust / Get It / Be What You See / Dress Me Up As A Robber / Ebony And Ivory

    Denny Laine and Linda are here, perhaps naturally. So is George Martin, less naturally, as the last major rock album of any note he'd produced had been 'Wired' by Jeff Beck back in 1976. Post Beatles, George Martin just became this 'name' you attached to your album if you wanted some serious credibility. Thus, Sir Paul McCartney struck up a deal, George Martin signed on as producer and gushed that Paul was writing 'wonderful songs'. Almost none of the songs here are Beatles-quality. Yes, i'm going to be really strange here and imagine for a second all four Beatles were still alive in 1982. 'Wanderlust', 'Tug Of War', 'Take It Away' and 'Here Today' would make the cut, simply due to lack of other great material. George, you know, would have contributed 'Gone Troppo', for Ringo to sing. John, we'll never know, of course. George Martin no doubt would have produced and gone for the same, slick and overly respectably professional and soulless sound the majority of 'Tug Of War' possesses. I like ballroom dancing. I'm really clumsy, but the art of it has a certain air of grace. Ah, the song? Sorry! It sounds playful and sounds the most 'paul' of all the songs here. Paul was quite capable of self producing and performing, he didn't need guests waiting for a pay-day and being 'in the same room, playing on a Paul McCartney album, I loved The Beatles, oh my god!'. Paul always needed equals. Difficult thing to find when you've the history of Paul McCartney, I suppose, but the list of musicians on 'Tug Of War' does Paul no favours. Stevie Wonder? 'Ebony And Ivory' is absolutely dire drivel of the worst order, Cliff Richard would have rejected it for being too sappy. 'What's That You're Doin' is the sound of Stevie Wonder jerking around in the studio whilst being such an apparent legend, not even that other legend Paul McCartney felt like saying it wasn't worthy of the studio time to go on the album.

    'The Pound Is Sinking' has a bit of life to it, yet it's very irritating, lyrically. The first four songs on the album are all good to great and being around in 1982 hearing this Paul McCartney album and listening to the hype, 'best since band on the run' must have lent that extra importance. Beatles fans and music critics would have had expectations raised by the George Martin connection. Paul, in truth, didn't have enough good songs and although i'm perhaps in a minority, I prefer Paul messing around by himself, aka 'McCartney II' and taking risks. 'Tug Of War' never recovers from the Stevie Wonder collaborations, both of which are awful. Ignoring those, the album is fairly consistent, although no more so than other post 'Band On The Run' McCartney efforts, really. If Paul released this as a new album in 2007, he'd be laughed at. He'd be considered an absolute has-been. In 1982, this was considered a welcome return to form. All it actually is, is a return to normal pop/rock, which the often eccentric Wings releases rarely usually offered. 'McCartney II' certainly didn't, but for all The Beatles invention, to criticize 'McCartney II' for being experimental and to praise 'Tug Of War' for being more 'regular' seems like a very weird thing for a person to do. Paul was happy anyway, the album sold and the critics mostly liked the record.

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    Øyvind oy-sand@online.no
    I totally disagree. This is such a smooth and well crafted pop album. Timeless production and every song is a winner. Everybody criticize Ebony And Ivory for the lyrics. I don't understand why,it's the same guy who wrote Love Me Do, She Loves You and Hello Goodbye. McCartney ain't Edgar Allen Poe, he never was and he never will be. I give Tug Of War 10 out of 10.

    Kier Smith Nottingham
    'Tug of war' is a fine album, The title track is one of my favourite McCartney songs, a great song, great production"we will be dancing to the beat playing on a different drum" sounds tribal and incredibly uplifting to me. 'Take it away' is a great Paul number, poptastic, 'Somebody Cares' is wonderfully comforting and a nice song. 'What's that you're doing; is a fun track, seriously funky and some great vocals. 'Here today' would naturally be the best tribute song in the world from the heart and a wonderful song. 'Ballroom dancing' take it or leave it, i can dig it. 'The pound is sinking' is my second favourite here, brilliant and bouncy, lyrically amusing (good lyrics dont necessarily have to be about something massively meaningful - and Paul is the master of bending words and phrases to fit his tune, its a wonderful playful thing he does) 'Wanderlust' is high quality 'Get it' i dont care for 'Be what you see' (link) is great and leaves me wanting more 'Dress me up as a robber' is brilliantly written, sung and played - a real hidden gem in the McCartney canon, this song has grown and grown on me through the years. 'Ebony and Ivory' is fine, a good song. Big hit, why not. I too agree that i prefer Paul being dangerous and taking risks mucking around like the 'McCartney' & 'McCartney' II albums, he can do it however which way you want it? it's all interesting and has kept me amused and in love with it ever since i first picked up The Beatles. A Fine album, One of his best. 8.5/10

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    Pipes Of Peace 7 ( 1983, UK pos 4 )
    Pipes Of Peace / Say Say Say / The Other Me / Keep Under Cover / So Bad / The Man / Sweetest Little Show / Average Person / Hey Hey / Tug Of Peace / Through Our Love

    Somewhat bewilderingly, 'Pipes Of Peace' failed to make the Billboard top ten. I say bewilderingly, Paul was an ageing rocker by now, having hit 40. He was apparently past his best, despite the 'revival' with the acclaimed 'Tug Of War'. Perhaps, and i'm only speculating here really, critics realised they'd been over effusive concerning 'Tug Of War' therefore wanted to redress the balance, slightly? 'Pipes Of Peace' is easy to dismiss anyway, a copy-cat of 'Tug Of War', with half the album apparently consisting of 'Tug Of War' rejects. Still, failing to make top 10 on Billboard? Two collaborations with Michael Jackson, who was absolutely massive commercially? They were apeing the Stevie Wonder collaborations? I know Mr Jackson is hardly popular in McCartney fan circles, that old Beatles-catalogue chestnut, yet i'll take these Jackson/McCartney tunes any day of the week. Well, 'Say Say Say' is a little irritating, yet 'The Man' contains delicious and subtly played melodies. I was speaking of irritating things for a moment, though. Was there really any need at all for 'Tug Of Peace', an experimental remix number joining together 'Pipes Of Peace', 'Tug Of War' and early 80s disco? Possibly not, and 'Tug Of Peace' is/was certainly a target for critics of the album. Another target, then? Another reason to easily dismiss the album? Well, 'Hey Hey' is a fairly pointless three minute instrumental, the sound of studio musicians laying down a little light, souless funk music. Taken together with 'Tug Of Peace' and removed from the album, we're left with only 32 minutes of music. Surely that's another reason to dismiss the record and also provide foundations for Paul lacking substance? Ah, that old chestnut!

    Where were we? I was losing the plot, yes, that's right! Well, i'll actually discuss a few of the songs nobody seriously could use as targets to dismiss Mr McCartney with. The title track made for an excellent xmas number one in 1983 and was accompanied by a stirring, memorable video. 'Keep Under Cover' contains many melodic moments and is thoroughly enjoyable. 'So Bad' is no 'Yesterday', granted, yet I for one love the McCartney falsetto here and the seemingly genuine sentiments expressed. 'Average Person' seems to indicate Paul had been listening to the work of Ray Davies, yet Paul mixes up these influences with those patented, catchy and easy to enjoy McCartney melodies. 'Sweetest Little Show' is wonderfully unambitious, which certain songs can be, believe it or not. The closing ballad 'Through Our Love' is given a rich, thoughtful arrangement with effective strings, layered vocals and much more besides. So, whilst 'Pipes Of Peace' probably ( certainly ) isn't Paul's best album, surely it's by no means his worst? I'm giving it a '7', although i'm tempted to raise that '7' by half a mark. A '7' will certainly DO, 'Pipes Of Peace' clearly not as bad as certain Wings efforts, at least. In summary then? I blame Michael Jackson.

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    Fidel fidelsjuarezg@hotmail.com
    Whoah, dude. Thanks for giving a good grade to this plastic, yet, enjoyable little album. Methinks that even Press To Play has some worthwile stuff in it. Sorry for the disgusting gramma, but I've got a hangover and it's time for lunch. Also, I'm mexican (not that there's any connection between disgusting gramma and nationalities).

    sean feeney sfeeney@nhs.net
    i remember this album becuse it got a 5* review from rolling stone magazine on it's release. the review i found today says 'by and large mediocre'. was there some mistake? can your readrz clarify?

    Sandy Norway
    "Pipes Of Peace" is McCartney's slickest album to date. Even a rocker like "Keep Under Cover" comes through with a touch of elevator music feel to it. There's hardly anything on here that sounds edgy. Probably an album made up of craftmanship rather than inspiration from the gut. But listen to "Pipes Of Peace" for what it is (smooth pop), instead of what it is not (hard rock), and you have a nice friendly album of well crafted songs. Pipes of peace. 8/10. : )

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    Give My Regards To Broad Street 3 ( 1984, UK pos 1 )
    No More Lonely Nights / Good Day Sunshine / Yesterday / Here There And Everywhere / Wanderlust / Ballroom Dancing / Silly Love Songs / Not Such A Bad Boy / So Bad / No Values - No More Lonely Nights / For No One / Eleanor Rigby - Eleonor's Dream / The Long And Winding Road / No More Lonely Nights (Playout Version) / Goodnight Princess

    It almost certainly wasn't the greatest movie of all time, but the soundtrack gave Paul an excuse to re-work some beatles classics, a few then recent solo highpoints and add in a new hit single, for good measure. So, we have an acoustic 'Here, There And Everywhere' with faint hints of lovely brass, a reasonably faithful and thus rather pointless 'Good Day Sunshine'. What else? A quite lovely violin assisted 'For No One' alongside an orchestrally extended 'Eleanor Rigby', re-titled 'Eleanor's Dream'. Well, it's not a piece I ever have a desire to listen to, but it probably cheered up George Martin until the reviews came in. Oh, before I get onto more interesting aspects of the album, the re-worked 'Long And Winding Road' is terrible. A sax blares away for the middle-aged, the tempo is plodding, the drums sound fake, and if they weren't, shoot the engineer and producer. So, Paul manages to not only cover his own Beatles tune without any particular reason, he also manages to slaughter 'Long And Winding Road'. Wonder what Phil Spector thought of it all? I mean, the other Beatles re-works are hardly essential, but I can at least tolerate them. The one major new tune on the album is of course 'No More Lonely Nights'. It's an appealing power ballad with an appealing solo from Dave Gilmour. It's good, but it's another tune for the middle-aged. Perhaps the appeal of 'Give My Regards To Broad Street' is strictly with those beatles-fans that had/have followed Paul and the lads throughout the years and wanted something safe and cosy to listen to in their car stereo's?

    Solo McCartney re-workings include an enjoyable 'Ballroom Dancing', guitar parts added, production tricks in place. 'Wanderlust' and 'Silly Love Songs' are decent tunes, they always were, but re-recorded so soon after original release with no major new arrangements other than even shinier production? What's the point. Oh, another new song features on the album, 'Not Such A Bad Boy'. Chugging 80s rock guitar opens, the echo and plastic sound of the tune and the spaces inbetween the fake drums give the game away. It's not a very good tune anyway, but i'm sure played live with a kick-ass band and a couple of solo's that at least it could be enjoyable. Why Paul ever released this album is a mystery. It reached UK number 1 in the album charts. To me, that's even more of a mystery. There's no accounting for taste.

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    sand oy-sand@online.no
    This album is usually slaughtered as McCartney's worst studio album. A proof that he was drying up as a songwriter, using old material in new versions on a new album. But the fact is that "Give my Regards to Broad Street" is a soundtrack album. It's just a bonus in his catalog. He released the songs from the movie on a record. No more, no less. If it had "original Soundtrack" written on the front cover I think it would have been judged differently. Considered a side project. Nobody consider Bowie's "Peter and The wolf" on the same level as "Low", do they? It's just Bowie doing something else. A side project. The same with this record. But don't get me wrong, I don't think it's brilliant or something, I just dont think it's right judging it at the same level as "Band on the Run" or other studio albums. Because it isn't. 6/10

    Gary Dobbs South Wales
    This album is far better than it is given credit for - it's a soundtrack and not a studio album so it should not be judged alongside the studio albums. And as a soundtrack it doesn't go wrong - the version of Silly Love Songs here is better than any of the other versions and No Values is excellent. It's also nice to hear Yesterday merging into the other Beatle Paul ballads and then the awesome Wanderlust. Personally I'd rate this as a 8+

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    Press To Play( 1986, UK pos 8 )
    Stranglehold / Good Times Coming / Talk More Talk / Footprints / Only Love Remains / Press / Pretty Little Head / Move Over Busker / Angry / However Absurd

    The absurd ( co-writes with 10cc's Eric Stewart? ) mix with the understandable ( hot producer of the day Hugh Padgham ) to create a package that was surely an attempt to prove Paul was not resting on his laurels by producing either remakes of Beatles tunes or overproduced, plodding middle of the road tunes that could be remakes of Beatles tunes in another, much poorer, universe. Not since the also much criticized in certain quarters 'McCartney II' had Paul attempted anything truly daring with his music. Not that 'Press To Play' is especially daring on the face of it, the production sounds and fairlight synths had already been used plenty of times by other musicans. 1986 was the year 'new wave' music was being brushed away by C86 bands ( alternative ) and stadium rock ( U2, Simple Minds, Tears For Fears ). In that context, 'Press To Play' was always going to sit uneasily alongside the critically acclaimed works of the year on the CD and LP racks. Commentators and McCartney fans often wonder why 'Press To Play' doesn't sound like a McCartney album in so many places. As if co-writes, a hot producer of the day, Carlos Alomar and numerous other guest musicians wasn't enough of a clue. Which is of course the major difference between 'Press To Play' and a 'McCartney II'. 'McCartney II' was pure Paul, warts and all, experimenting and writing a few strong, actual tunes. 'Press To Play' is somewhat light on the tunes front, but it provides a very solid listen, all in all. Not so much a good Paul McCartney album as a good album, full stop. By no means a great album, not many of these tunes are hummable or even memorable, but it's always a simple joy to listen to.

    As a good example of the entire LP, check out 'Move Over Busker'. It's the sound of Paul taking 'Let's Dance', 'Scary Monsters' and 'Tonight' by David Bowie as his inspiration. Carlos Alomar does his best Bowie guitar sound, Paul does his best Bowie vocal impersonation and the entire song creates a decent sound. It may not mean anything or artistically amount to anything, but it's there and it's ok. 'Press', the near title tune, should probably have been a hit. It's a very catchy, well engineered and programmed piece of 80s dance-pop. McCartney melodies are clearly present within the grooves and this is perhaps the single best new-wave/dance pop/mccartney collaboration of the entire LP. Paul even sees fit to ensure there's a couple of wailing guitar parts along the way for good measure. Cheers, Paul. Oh, 'Pretty Little Head' I really enjoy. You can barely hear Paul and would never, ever guess this was a Paul McCartney song, but it's a good experimental 80s alternative synth/new wave track. That it was released 2/3/4 years after the sounds it presents were more of a rage was just down to bad timing. Well, the music scene, for my money, stagnated anyway between 82 and 85, only in 86 did we see changes, but during all of 'Press To Play', Paul apparently hasn't noticed these changes. Oh, a word about 'Footprints' before I go. A tune without the production sounds of the rest of the LP, it's pretty much Paul and guitar(s). It's a lovely ballad and one of his better compositions. In summary then, whilst 'Press To Play' may seem pretty ugly overall, it's by no means his least creative or enjoyable album. Those rating 'Give My Regards' ahead of something actually creative, like 'Press To Play', just bemuse me. Yes, it's a slightly confusing album and has it's weakpoints, but as i've already suggested, I really enjoy listening to this. I'll leave the last word to the wikipedia entry, just to prove i'm not mad to like the record.......

    "Press", a slick up-tempo pop song, was released in July 1986 and surprisingly only became a Top 30 hit in the UK and US. Press To Play itself appeared in September to the most positive reviews McCartney had received in years and stunned everyone by being his weakest-selling album of his solo career. Peaking at #8 in the UK, its chart life was brief, while in the US, Press to Play failed to even go gold, cresting at an underwhelming #30. Follow-up singles, "Pretty Little Head" and "Only Love Remains" performed poorly at retail.

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    Sandy Norway
    "Press To Play" has become quite a donkey in the Paul McCartney canon. Everybody seems to be picking on this one these days. I'm not sure how well deserved it really is. Form a musical point of view, this is the experimental side of McCartney, stretching out, trying out some new recording technics in the mid-80's, never the one to rely on a formula. Ten songs, ten different directions. Very eclectic, diverse. Pop art/art pop, sort of, there's hardly any song on here you can call a 'classic'. But you can't expect every McCartney tune to be a memorable super catchy hit song either. McCartney is also a musician and an avant garde music maker, not just a songwriter. Judging everything on terms of good song/bad song becomes a very limited way in hearing music, i think. What doesn't make "Press To Play" my favorite McCartney album, has nothing to do with the music, but rather a lack of anything personal going on. In many ways, records are like people, and you get connected on a de! eper and a more lasting level, if you get behind under the skin. And "Press To Play" is all skin, and no bones. But I think it's a nice listen and a good little album with some interesting music. Like having a chat with a person you like, but are't connected to on a best of friends level, sort of. 8/10. : )

    Seedman USA
    Eric Stewart was not an "absurd" choice for this album. Before 10cc, he had been in Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, a well-regarded British Invasion group with a couple of hits. So it was no more absurd than hiring Denny Lane from the Moody Blues. I think it is one of Macca's more interesting solo albums, at least half of it is rather good. I think you've overrated it (and all McCartney's albums) by about double. But this was just about the only interesting thing he did in the whole 1980's, so I'd reach for this first before a lot of the others.br>
    Kier Smith Nottingham
    Press to play - is another brave move by McCartney, never scared to do something a bit different to what he's done before, always trying to write a new song. Press to play has some great McCartney moments. I love 'Stranglehold', 'Good times coming/feel the sun' is brilliant and possibly my favourite, 'Pretty little head' is one of my favourite McCartney compositions too. I don't care too much for 'move over busker' or 'angry' too much, 'Only love remains' is beautiful, 'Press' is funky The bonus tracks on the cd like 'write away' and 'tough on a tightrope' would have been better choices as album tracks - but no matter, i'll always take whatever McCartney delivers with both hands thankyou. Mine is not to reason with a genius, only to enjoy what he delivers. Amen. 8/10

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    Flowers In The Dirt( 1989, UK pos 1 )
    My Brave Face / Rough Ride / You Want Her Too / Distractions / We Got Married / Put It There / Figure Of Eight / This One / Don't Be Carless Love / That Day Is Done / How Many People / Motor Of Love / Ou Est Le Soleil

    Back in 89, three years seemed an eternity for any artist to take off from releasing albums. After a mere three years away these days, we’d hardly call the artists return a comeback. In McCartney’s case however, with the 80s being seen as a totally lost and wasted decade ( apart from a couple of big cheesy hit singles earlier on ), a lot seemed to rest on his return with ‘Flowers In The Dirt’. I remember being around at the time and the critics seemed fairly pleased. A lot was made of the writing partnership between McCartney and Elvis Costello. Interviewers asking daft questions such as ‘Was writing with Elvis like writing with John’, to which Paul would invariably reply, ‘Yeah, because he was kind of taking that role, you know’. A suitably vague, yet interviewer pleasing answer. Hopes were high, yet lead single ‘My Brave Face’ almost completely failed to be an event. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an undeniably catchy piece that still became a hit, yet gone were the days of Paul dominating the singles charts as he had in days of yore. That didn’t seem to matter though, as long as Paul was writing good songs. It’s in that area that ‘Flowers In The Dirt’ proves to be something of a mixed bag. Speaking of ‘My Brave Face’ though and especially re-listening to it now years later, the influence of Elvis Costello is all over the place. Even in the vocal lines, Elvis clearly having written and/or amended some of the vocal lines, probably sang them in the studio to Paul and as a result, Paul manly attempts to match Costello’s phrasing and style. It’s actually a pretty good blend of the two artists styles, although the song does seem to remain primarily Paul’s, as indeed it should seem to remain to be. I don’t really want an Elvis Costello song on a Paul McCartney album, no disrespect to Elvis, naturally.

    So, ‘Flowers In The Dirt’? I generally tend to find the Paul ballads more pleasing to the ear than the rockier tunes. There seems to be a lot of nice atmosphere in the mix of such songs as 'Distractions'. 'Distractions' isn't hip or cool, it's Paul and strings. It reminds of a potential theme tune to a romantic comedy, but at least it's Paul, musing nicely about doing nothing much in particular with a loved one. I like it best when Paul's real character shows through, no matter what the stylistic diversions, or lack of them. To be fair, the first half or so of the album is generally song, if not particularly exciting. I remember 'We Got Married' from upon original release. The guitars are really nice, slightly european in a sunshine/spanish kind of way. A slight departure I guess, but the crux of the matter is within the song construction, which is superb. The brief 'Put It There' is a semi-classic Paul folky thing, again a song not about anything mind-blowing. It's a typical solo McCartney piece, and I mean that in a good way. It's a very charming tune. Yet, the album does severely lose both pace and distinction throughout the second half. Plodding and strained material such as 'That Day Is Done', the dreadful six minutes of 'Motor Of Love', six minutes giving new meaning to the word middle-aged and half-deaf. Because you'd have to be to remotely enjoy this over-produced piece of fluff. The synths are very over-bearing, almost more so than anything from any of his other 80s efforts. It's funny as a huge Beach Boys fan, but 'Motor Of Love' resembles the late eighties Beach Boys material in everything apart from length. It'd be nice as two minute filler, but six minutes? The album's already long enough. Cut off the final three songs and give me a ten track 'Flowers In The Dirt' and i'd raise the grade a little. Ultimately for me, and perhaps i'm upsetting all you 'Flowers In The Dirt' fans out there, five or six good songs on a 13 track album, none of the good songs absolutely great or anything is not enough. 'Flowers In The Dirt' suffers from poor sequencing and padding. It's no disaster, don't get me wrong. Yet, I don't reach for this very often. The huge tour that followed the albums release seems to have been rapturously received and perhaps blots out the failings of that tour's parent album?

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    kier smith amusedtodeath@hotmail.co.uk
    Interesting reading, McCartney is my all time hero, and i know im bias toward him as i think he gets alot of stick for just being Paul - It's a good album , but it's interesting that you said it could be a ten track album, i'd never thought that, but it would be more compact and it would fit nicely, i agree that 'that day is done', 'how many people' and maybe 'motor of love' could have gone, at least 2 of them 3 should have been sacrificed, the good songs on the album are, 'put it there', 'we got married' - that's (david gilmour on guitar there!) it certainly could have been better, as can be said for alot of McCartney's albums.

    Jim Johnston georgejohnston@hotmail.com

    I got this at the time cos im a big costello fan and was curious about the hyped collaboration. The collaboration didnt work lets face it . "that day is done" is actually a great song it just doesnt suit macca - check out costellos gospel tinged version which is extremely emotional , my brave face is just banal but "you want her too" isnt bad where the singers take respective personas fighting over a woman - at least it was a good idea. The actual irony is that some of pauls own songs actually come off better - "this one" is a good melody and the hindu imagery (the swan)and the regretful lyric suggests he was reaching out to george for reconciliation.(in fact i believe paul approached harrison to write an album together after flaming pie but george rejected the idea) "put it there" and "distractions" are pleasant enough ,nothing earthshattering . The rest is just garbage . Pauls talent is immense but like many of the old guard he was caught out badly in the 80s an! d is floundering a bit for direction here and post wings in general.

    kevin c Reading, UK
    I'm basically in agreement here with the overall rating. "My Brave Face" is top-notch, kind of Beatley. The rest? "Figure of Eight," "This One" and "Put it There" are OK, but that's about it. And, you're right, "Motor of Love" is in his Top 10 worst songs of all time - possibly in the top three because of it's length. I think I took it off the turntable (this is one of the last albums I bought back in '88) at the 3-minute mark.

    Gary Dobbs South Wales
    Man you are so wrong - the tracks That Day is Done and Don't be careless love are awesome and form a high point on the excellent second side. Listen to the lyrics and feel Macca's performance vocally. I agree Motor of Love is shite and so is Too Many People and Put it There, but they are the only three weak songs on this album. This One is brilliant. as is My Brave Face, Figure of Eight and Rough Ride. I don't rate this above Press to Play, which I think is a yet to be hailed masterpiece but I certainly think this is deserving of at least an 8.

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    Off The Ground 7 ( 1993, UK pos 5 )
    Off The Ground / Looking For Changes / Hope Of Deliverance / Mistress And Maid / I Owe It All To You / Biker Like An Icon / Peace In The Neighbourhood / Golden Earth Girl / The Lovers That Never Were / Get Out Of My Way / Winedark Open Sea / C'Mon People

    Four years after 'Flowers In The Dirt' Paul releases this rather low-key effort and watches it become a relatively commercial damp squib. Criticals were also rather ho-hum upon release and it seemed Paul was in danger of becoming merely irelevant. Good points first. There are some fine melodies dotted around the album and the playing is superbly professional. On the downside, the playing is perfectly professional and those self-same superb melodies are rendered somewhat weaker by the actual sound of the record. If this album had featured a few acoustic numbers and had come across generally more naturally, because although the songs seem organic in structure there's no ambition to the arrangements and every song is mixed somewhat flat. All the songs sound strangely 'dead' and lacking in liveliness, whether the songs actually posses some amount of energy or not. Well, the tempo of several of the tunes arguably could have been increased either way, although 'Mistress And Maid' and the simplistic ( in a good way ) 'I Owe It All To You' are perfect enough just as they are, the former particularly beatle-esque, if you must. Main single 'Hope Of Deliverance' is one of those easy and annoyingly catchy melodies Paul can knock up almost at will, which is all the more frustrating when he doesn't.

    I gather 'Off The Ground' is a somewhat controversial album in fan circles with disagreements over the relative merits of the album and one song in particular either being praised, or more usually, slated. 'Biker Like An Icon' may have irritatingly clumsy and/or lazy lyrical sections, yet as one of the few uptempo songs here is welcome enough for me. Such an unassuming song to be slated as one of the mans worst effort? Surely not, surely not. Look, we even get an actual guitar solo, possibly the only memorable one the entire LP. Well, it's not really that kind of an album. It's perfect Sunday morning, mid-morning, listening. Something to put on in the background knowing it won't get in the way. 'Golden Earth Girl' is a highlight though and does standout, welcomingly so. It's one of those cleverly subtle yet instantly memorable melodies that Paul does so well when he's on form. On form? He is for most of the LP, yet it really does need more differing textures, it sounds of a piece, but too much so for it's own good, sometimes.

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    Sandy Norway
    Well, I think I'm basically with you in your review of "Off The Ground". Nothing too much (just out of sight)to add from my own personal point of view. Except "Biker Like An Icon" maybe. It seems to me like some storytelling song. And words like 'biker, like and icon' has the same kling-klang sound to them. Sort of half-rhyming or something. I've seen other people picking on those lyrics too, but for me, not THAT good in English, I think they're quite alright. Not exactly "Eleanor Rigby", but, if nobody else had picked on them, I wouldn't have noticed. But then again, I think "Bip Bop" is a rather cool little nonsense song. 7/10. : )

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    Flaming Pie( 1997, UK pos 2 )
    The Song We Were Singing / The World Tonight / If You Wanna / Somedays / Young Boy / Calico Skies / Flaming Pie / Heaven on a Sunday / Used to Be Bad / Souvenir / Little Willow / Really Love You / Beautiful Night / Great Day

    Trawling through The Beatles archives evidently had an effect on Paul and ‘Flaming Pie’ is the result. Paul’s desire to keep things fresh in the studio has rewarded him with a well-played yet natural and warm sounding record. There’s a lightness of touch quite unheard of for a Jeff Lynne collaboration ( 8 tracks ) and the looking back doesn’t appear to have resulted in mere nostalgia. It’s things like knowing how to assemble songs together into an album. Also lyrically, this is one of the finest sets Paul has ever produced. Lines keep popping up that stay in the mind, my favourite of which has to be ‘I go back so far, I’m in front of me’ – John would have approved. That line is taken from the rocker ‘The World Tonight’ which is followed by another rocker ‘If You Wanna’, a Steve Miller collaboration with superb guitar work. There’s much to enjoy on this album. Do you notice how many tracks it’s got? Fourteen? Yeah, that’s like a Beatles album. The rockers I’ve mentioned ( and there are more than just the two ) are never clumsy or over-wrought as Paul rockers sometimes can be. They sound smooth yet retain their edge. There’s a joy present in these recordings which is remarkable in some respects when you consider Linda was terminally ill at the time. Even something like the George Martin assisted ‘Somedays’ manages to firstly not be mawkish and secondly to always retain a hopeful edge. The lyrics are quite lovely and the Spanish guitar touches a joy. ‘Young Boy’ goes down in my book as the finest single Paul had released in around twenty years. It’s a simple little song but it’s been taken seriously enough not to just be tossed off yet they also haven’t complicated matters in the studio. Basically, it’s the right mix of craft and inspiration and pop gold as a result.

    This is the finest set of songs Paul has released since ‘Band On The Run’ and it’s as simple as that. I don’t normally like making such statements, but I feel this warrants it. It’s not perfect mind you, the couple of bluesy numbers on side two sound nice but ultimately have little substance. That’s the only thing I can say that’s bad about the album though. I mean, we’ve got the title track with rollicking piano, superb and fun nonsensical lyrics and a general sense of joy. This is followed by the dreamy ‘Heaven On A Sunday’ the kind of song on which Paul could have fallen flat on his face but he sounds like he means it. There’s no cheeky grin to be heard anywhere, really. No, ‘I can do this’, he just does it. ‘Great Day’ closing things, a little kitchen ditty dating back to the seventies but it’s just really nice. Basically, if you don’t like this album I don’t see how many other Paul McCartney albums you’re likely to appreciate, if any at all. Thumbs aloft indeed.

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    danny danny@leftoffthedial.com
    nice review. As a pretty weak fan of McCartney, I worked at a record store when Magic Pie came out and they played it a bit. I remember nothing about the album now except, that I liked it...just like your review...I was searching for any reason to pick it apart and say THAT'S WHY I DON'T LIKE PAUL McCARTNEY, and this album gave me no chance to do that. I've been meaning to pick it up someday ever since.

    Ziss London
    Band on the Run must be Wings finest album.However, Flaming Pie is surely Paul McCartneys best album with or without wings. Several of these songs could have made it on Revolver and the White Album. McCartney seems to be at his best when he is not pretentious self indulgent and when he keeps things simple yet Mesmerising..ie For Noone, Let it Be, Blackbird. On Flaming Pie this is exactly why I feel this album is great, there is nothing pretentious or self indulgent about it, it is a reminder of one of the Greatest Singer songwriters in popular music and all I can say is Welcome back Macca. I will not go on about individual song preferences because like Rubber Soul, Revolver and the White album, it has to be appreciated as a whole or nothing...10/10

    Sandy Norway
    Back to basic after a decade of highly polished albums. Kind of a homemade do it yourself approach, but where "McCartney" was an independence statement from The Beatles and "McCartney II" was a showcase for McCartney's wacky humor, "Flaming Pie" is more of a mature and reflective record, made with a little help from his friends. Whimsical like always, from carefully crafted songs that took five years to finish off and songs written in five minutes. Gorgeous ballads, primitive rockers, lighweight pop and a couple of loose jams made up on the spot, that only adds to the intimacy of the album. 10/10. : )

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    Run Devil Run( 1999, UK pos 12 )
    Blue Jean Bop / She Said Yeah / All Shook Up / Run Devil Run / No Other Baby / Lonesome Town / Try Not To Cry / Movie Magg / Brown Eyed Handsome Man / What It Is / Coquette / I Got Stung / Honey Hush / Shake A Hand / Party

    An album of rock'n'roll covers. The band comprise of the following musicians; David Gilmour, Ian Paice, Dave Mattacks, Geraint Watkins, Pete Wingfield, Mick Green and Paul McCartney. Alongside three Paul McCartney originals the songs covered are by artists such as Gene Vincent, Fats Domino, Little Richard and Carl Perkins. That generation. Arriving after 'Flaming Pie', even at the time of release, 'Run Devil Run' was seen as nothing more than a marking time excersize following the death of his wife Linda. Still, Paul threw himself into the sessions, minimal takes and a fresh sound that brings these dying rock n roll numbers back to life. The cajun flavoured 'Brown Eyed Handsome Man' is a note that Paul also wanted to have some fun with the arrangements. To promote the album he perform a set in the Cavern Club playing songs from 'Run Devil Run' and the press at the time of the albums release were kind, praising the musicianship and praising Paul for his spirit. It's an enjoyable little LP I must say, yet if you're not an existing fan of Paul McCartney you're unlikely to view this as anything other than a nicely disposable LP that you do enjoy when you play it, but you maybe don't pick it up very often. Beatles fans and long-term followers of Paul will inevitably have a greater emotional attachement to the album, especially with it being the first new project he released after Linda's death.

    The closing 'Party' is a good example of the live in the studio sound of the LP. Perhaps the best track is the cover of the obscure 'No Other Baby', a wonderful song, a softer moment on the LP and one of the most heartfelt performances for me. The best original composition is perhaps the title track, it fits right in with the other songs from the fifties and with a few Little Richard styled 'Whooa's' could have sounded much like the early Beatles. 'Try Not To Cry' is another strong McCartney original on an album where providing original compositions wasn't really the point of the project, but 'Try Not To Cry' is certainly a strong song. Why the lowish grade? Well, exactly as I stated before. It's not an album, unless you're a Paul/Beatles fanatic, that you're likely to reach for very often. Cover sets rarely are, let's face it.

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    Driving Rain 7 ( 2001 )
    Lonely Road / From a Lover to a Friend / She's Given Up Talking / Driving Rain / I Do / Tiny Bubble / Magic / Your Way / Spinning on an Axis / About You / Heather / Back in the Sunshine Again / Your Loving Flame / Riding into Jaipur / Rinse the Raindrops

    Paul records his first full-length set of new songs post Linda's death with a bunch of LA session musicians and records the album in speedy, loose fashion. Well, the playing is of course spot on as these professionally recorded modern day McCartney albums tend to be. The arrangements are slightly strange, though. As if Paul is allowing the musicians the space and time on his own album to express themselves creatively whilst Paul takes a backseat, allowing the compositions themselves to hopefully do the talking for him. He does play every instrument he can get his hands on, including some very fruitful bass parts, yet a couple of other multi-instrumentalists also feature to help him out. So, it's not quite Flaming Pie where Paul had a hand and a finger in everything that went on. The mode of recording Paul uses here, helped by Beatle engineer Geoff Emerick, is perhaps best demostrated by the ten minute closing tune 'Rinse The Raindrops'. Firstly, it doesn't sound like anything Paul has attempted recently. This is rock music with a capital R that suddenly switches directions into a jam some three minutes in. Two minutes later, Paul and company suddenly sound like The Police as Paul's vocals come back in. Deeply strange, especially as the latter half of the track descends into messy chaos.

    More melodic tunes do feature here and there. 'Tiny Bubble' is a charming pop tune, 'Spinning On An Axis' is an impressive composition with music that's alternative rock over which McCartney just does his stuff, a strange, disarming combination. 'About You' is a fine rocker, one of the more energetic tunes on an album that too often drifts towards mid-tempo mediocrity. You were waiting for a trademark McCartney ballad? There is one, a very fine one thankfully. 'From A Lover To A Friend' contains some good McCartney lyrics, fine singing and melodies and works to be very affecting, especially post Linda. The semi-alternative rock production hampers things, or at least tries to. Why does this album sound slightly murky? We know, we think, why it sounds slightly down and dark. Is that why it also sounds murky? The production could have been better. This is an album of great ideas that fails unfortunately to work into a cohesive whole. Oh, final word for 'Riding Into Jaipur' where seemingly the ghost of George Harrison pops up on sitar. It's a lovely, experimental track and certainly a highlight in our house.

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    Sandy Norway
    "Driving Rain" reminds me somewhat of Wings "Wild Life" in approach. Only thirty years later; A new decade/millenium, a new band ... a new wife. Quickly made and loose in its form. Listening back on it in 2009, after "Chaos" and "Memory" and "Electric", I get the same feel of a starting point for even greater albums to come. Another reinvention. 7/10. : )

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    Chaos And Creation In The Backyard 8 ( 2005 )
    Fine Line / How Kind of You / Jenny Wren / At the Mercy / Friends to Go / English Tea / Too Much Rain / A Certain Softness / Riding to Vanity Fair / Follow Me / Promise to You Girl / This Never Happened Before / Anyway

    Paul works with noted Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich and comes up with one of the most focussed albums of his career. Godrich forced McCartney to play most of the parts himself rather than hire someone in, always the easy solution when you're a Paul McCartney or a Brian Wilson in the 21st century. By getting Paul to address issues within his compositions and the performances himself, Godrich has drawn Paul out of himself. Godrich also ensures the arrangements and actual production itself are thoughtful and fleshed out without ever sounding overly glossy. Indeed, the album retains a natural, organic sound. It's a good album, actually. I sound surprised by myself for saying that, but I never expect a modern-day McCartney effort to rival his very best work. Well, 'Flaming Pie' did the trick but then, I expected that. I was concerned 'Chaos And Creation' was all press-release and no substance, but thankfully that's not the case. Yet, it does tail away towards the end, almost as if Paul simply ran out of decent tunes, although he had put to one side an entire other album he had been working on prior to hooking up with Godrich, so actually, he was on something of a roll. 'Fine Line' which opens the album certainly seems to demonstrate a McCartney on-form, what an ace little tune. It has whiffs of ELO about it, but we won't hold that against it.

    Highlights on this set include the delicate and lovely 'Blackbird' apeing 'Jenny Wren' alongside the very McCartney whimsy of 'English Tea', a shortish track that harks back to music-hall including doses of nostalgia and countryside. It's as nice as the fairycakes mentioned in the lyric towards the end of the tune. 'Too Much Rain', although seeing Paul stretching for the high notes remains a clever, affecting tune. Elsewhere, it's moments of songs that reach out and grab you. 'Certain Softness' for example has lots of lovely instrumentation with the piano, the faintly spanish guitar, and the harpsichord. 'Riding To Vanity Fair' has a tremendous atmosphere and I think much credit goes out to Godrich, it reminds me slightly, just slightly mind, of Radiohead's 'No Surprises', that kind of texture. Another moment? The surprise of the lovely harmonies on the fun 'Promise To You Girl'. So, that's that. A decent album, let's hope he keeps it up and produces two good-uns in a row, something you rarely get from Paul.

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    John, County Kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    It could be the newly revived energy from working with Nige, or something more exestential, but either way Macca is back to his supreme best. One for the birthday present list, methinks. The BBC documentary recorded in Abbey Road just shows that you can't keep a genius down. 8.5/10.

    Complete surprise it may be to a casual mccartney fan like me but this is pauls finest album IMO since "band on the run" . His late period masterpiece ? Well certainly getting godrich in to produce was a masterstroke , macca plays nearly everything himself here and provides a set of strong melodies which lyrically have a very forthright and downbeat feel (unusual for him) . "vanity fair" is the best track reminiscent of godrichs work with beck on "sea change" it features a surprisingly bitter lyric and hypnotic music. "fine line" "promise to you girl" and the lovely "jenny wren" could easily have fitted on beatles albums circa 67/68 quality wise. I also enjoyed the bossa nova feel to "a certain softness" and the noel cowardisms of "english tea" . But most of all what comes across is what a great singer macca is , i mean sinatras pipes had gone by the time he was 50 never mind 60 ! Chaos and Creation maybe becomes a little overearnest in places but theirs not a duff! song on here , and all for the pricely sum of £1 from woolies bargain bin - i might invest in pauls new one as a consequence . Excellent album .

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    Memory Almost Full 8 ( 2007 )
    Dance Tonight / Ever Present Past / See Your Sunshine / Only Mama Knows / You Tell Me / Mr Bellamy / Gratitude / Vintage Clothes / That Was Me / Feet In The Clouds / House Of Wax / End Of The End / Nod Your Head

    Everybody else has said it, so I shall as well. There's a touch of Wings about Paul's latest effort. It's not just the fact this album has guitars, pop, rock and much to commend several of the arrangements. It all comes across as a proper album. That's where the Wings comparison really falls down for me, though. How many Wings album suffered because of inexcusably poor tracks next to the good stuff? It's just 'Memory Almost Full' is the sound of a full-band, although mostly that's McCartney playing everything. So, everything has a touch of McCartney. The drums are McCartney, the bass certainly is. The guitar is rather fine and suddenly this is as much of a Beatles album as Paul has produced since 'Flaming Pie' ten years ago. Yet, it doesn't sound like a cross between Wings, Queen and ELO for no reason. Paul is in nostalgic mode and marries these sounds to modern production. Indeed, 'Memory Almost Full' makes it two well produced McCartney albums in a row. At least half of these tunes were penned prior to 'Chaos And Creation' by the way with new songs making up the total. It's good, it's nearly all good stuff and I can't wait to hear these new songs played live. I hope he does actually play them, because there are songs here that stand up to anything the man has done. There are plenty of lyrics looking backwards and plenty of great lyrics you'll be pleased to hear. Well that was me, Royal Iris, On the river, Merseybeatin, With the band, That was me. That was me, Sweating cobwebs, Under contract, In the cellar, On TV, That was me

    You know you could be in for a treat when thirteen new McCartney compositions come in at around forty one minutes. With the exception of 'House Of Wax' and 'Only Mama Knows' all of these tunes are under four minutes in length. People did that back in the Sixites, you know. The opening track and lead single is a little misleading. Paul doesn't seem to either be able to, or want to.... conqueur the hit parade these days. 'Dance Tonight' is just such a simple little charming tune. Paul even sees fit to whistle throughout a portion of it, just to complete the picture, so to speak. You know, being brave he could have released 'That Was Me' as a single. One of the best McCartney tunes for years. The bass really shines, the song has a groove, it's uptempo, it's got guitar on it and very fine McCartney 'rock' vocals. The lyrics are utterly fantastic and there you have it. Winner number one. Winner number two? 'Mr Bellamy' is a rare ( these days ) McCartney character-led song and it's absolutely spine-chilling stuff. Not scary spine-chilling, just that hairs on arms stood up kind of chill the very best music does for a person. Winner number three is 'Vintage Clothes' and winner number four the epic 'House Of Wax'. I could carry on like this, but I won't do. The weakest songs here are the first two unfortunately, but dig past those and you've got one of the very best McCartney albums. Certainly thumbs aloft from this reviewer, at least.

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    John, County Kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    Two in a row, Paul must be drinking from the same sanctified well as Neil Young discovered recently. A reasonably fresh sound that alternates from the previous top notch album, I've only heard sporadic bursts from this one, but enough to convince me that it's certainly in the top 10 best albums of the year.

    GAZZA Scotland
    I Think youve overrated this one . Most of the 1st half of the album is strong (apart from only mama knows) but it tails away badly in the 2nd half with only "that was me" really impressing with its gulping bass and bluesy beat . Its also one of the few times the lyrics are impressive too . I think pauls problem is similar to his old contempory paul simon . Both artists stock should be high considering the current new acts they have both influenced, but both have struggled to make a consistent run of good albums . Simons latest had little in the way of tunes but great lyrics while maccas is let down by clumsy lyrics and cheesy rubbish like "gratitude" and the excruciating "nod your head" Maybe they should collaborate?? Macca still can produce a decent tune it would seem . Both artists recent albums explored personal themes with limited sucess . Simons however at least manages to explain what its like getting older , the only time macca manages that here is "you tell! me" which is quite touching in how he shrugs his shoulders at the advance of time . Further problems ensue with the overblown "house of wax" and "vintage clothes" in which macca manages to sound like an ELO outtake. The good stuffs good though . Especially "see your sunshine" which evokes steely dan at their shiniest and the uber catchy openers "ever present past" and "dance tonight" Its pretty decent pop music for a guy in his 60s . Apparently macca asked thom yorke to help with "mr bellamy" but it seems like thom was spot on to pass this one over . Another problem is the sound of the disc , its clearly been compressed to buggery with the bass sounds nearly blowing the cones out of my fairly speakers . Macca always liked to keep up with the times i suppose . "memory almost full" is not a patch on "chaos and creation" which was a tasteful and melodious album and his best work in 20 years . Godrich seemed to push him a bit further than whats been expres! sed here adrian . 6/10 .

    Reghan Butler Rockford IL
    To me this is the Paul McCartney I love. I agree that the 2 first songs are the weekest, all though I do like Ever Present Past. Great pop song.Only Mama Knows anf House Of Wax show that Macca still are able to rock. To me this is Band On The Run part 2, let´s have part 3

    John, County Kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    Though I am a lover of all McCartney albums, and love the sound in all of them as unique, Memory Almost full is waht we've been excpecting from Paul. It made me laugh cry, and listen Rock On McCartney!

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    Kisses On The Bottom 6 ( 2012 )
    I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter / Home (When Shadows Fall) / It's Only a Paper Moon / More I Cannot Wish You / The Glory of Love / We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me) / Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive / My Valentine / Always / My Very Good Friend the Milkman / Bye Bye Blackbird / Get Yourself Another Fool / The Inch Worm / Only Our Hearts

    Ringo Starr released his first solo album in 1970, it was called 'Sentimental Journey' and one of the tracks Ringo covered was 'Bye Bye Blackbird'. McCartney also covers 'Bye Bye Blackbird' for 'Kisses On The Bottom', his own journey into a sentimental past. Following Paul's lack of vocal chords at the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony, and then posthumously listening to this set, you suddenly get the idea Paul singing softly and in a whisper for 'Kisses On The Bottom' was probably a good idea. So, Paul is on vocals and acoustic, the rest of the playing here has been performed by a variety of Jazz hands on the whole - soft, easy Jazz rather than easy listening. The set contains twelve standards and two self-penned compositions, which thanks to the astute production and cohesive sound of the album don't seem at all out of place.

    I adore 'Inch Worm', which I believe is a childrens song. I've always liked the words and feel the children singing the backing during Paul's version is rather lovely. Some really nice jazz piano lines appear on this tune before we inch (sorry!) our way into the self-penned 'Only Our Hearts' to close the set, a tune wrapped in some lovely warm strings, a far better composition incidently than the Paul by numbers of 'My Valentine' which sounds like a dozen early love songs strung together using every cliche - both lyrical and musical. I like 'My Very Good Friend The Milkman' and generally prefer this and such material as 'Inch Worm' to the arguably more worthy but dull material on offer too often elsewhere. Hard to be too critical overall, the playing is always impeccable, but when the playing and production are the most note-worthy things about an album, an eyebrow or two is always raised.

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    Sand Norway
    "Kisses on the Bottom" is very enjoyable to me, it sounds like he cared about the project and put much care and detail into selections, arrangements and musicians, it's not just a sloppy run through of old standards, I read an interview with Quincy Jones, and he mentioned it as the best standards album he'd heard in years, it was something about the 'autencity' and understanding of these songs that he liked. McCartney's voice has its ups and downs live these days, but sounds warm and intimate here, I guess you have the advance of re-recording in the studio, if you are having a 'bad day', let's hope he does not lose his voice in the near future, I think McCartney will write songs and record till he drops, it's his nature, I'll give "Kisses on the Bottom" 9/10, as a McCartney fan, it's a 'project' I've heard about for years, here it is... : )

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    Pure McCartney( 2016, UK pos 3 )
    Maybe I'm Amazed / / Heart Of The Country / Jet / Warm And Beautiful / Listen To What The Man Said / Dear Boy / Silly Love Songs / The Song We Were Singing / Uncle Albert - Admiral Halsey / Early Days / Big Barn Bed / Another Day / Flaming Pie / Jenny Wren / Too Many People / Let Me Roll It / New / Live And Let Die / English Tea / Mull Of Kintyre / Save Us / My Love / Bip Bop / Let 'Em In / Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five / Calico Skies / Hi, Hi, Hi / Waterfalls / Band On The Run / Appreciate / Sing The Changes / Arrow Through Me / Every Night / Junior's Farm / Mrs Vandebilt / Say Say Say / My Valentine / Pipes Of Peace / The World Tonight / Souvenir / Dance Tonight / Ebony And Ivory / Fine Line / Here Today / Press / Wanderlust / Winedark Open Sea / Beautiful Night / Girlfriend / Queenie Eye / We All Stand Together / Coming Up / Too Much Rain / Good Times Coming - Feel The Sun / Goodnight Tonight / Baby's Request / With A Little Luck / Little Willow / Only Mama Knows / Don't Let It Bring You Down / The Back Seat Of My Car / No More Lonely Nights / Great Day / Venus And Mars - Rock Show / Temporary Secretary / Hope For The Future (Main) / Junk

    A lady in Paul's office apparently suggested the idea of a lengthy playlist of Paul songs she could enjoy on a road-trip. Well, why not? She could have course have just made her own Spotify/Tidal playlist, but no. Instead, we get a comprehensive Paul McCartney solo/wings collections, running to either 39 or 67 songs depending on which version you purchase. Fans will have these songs already, but aren't Paul solo albums often quite inconsistent? The sound quality could be improved on some of them - remastering and studio technology is improving all the time. So, 67 songs it is for me, why not go the whole hog? This is a fairly randomly selected set of songs - but the sequencing does work in terms of different types of songs from different eras flowing into one another. We've had Paul compilations before, 'Wingspan' of course, but 'Pure McCartney' does a better job of fitting all of the mans styles together without being a Greatest Hits set or bound by chronology. One absence I find weird is the lack of 'Back Seat In My Car' - the absence of any songs at all from 'Flowers In The Dirt' is more easily explainable - it's scheduled for re-issue later in 2016.

    Paul after The Beatles was lost, a bit of a wreck and didn't want to even try to 'follow that'. In truth, if viewing Beatles solo careers up to the point John died, Paul wrote more good songs after The Beatles than John. John vanished for half the decade, released two classics to open his solo career then made half an album with 'Double Fantasy'. One question, why is 'Ebony and Ivory' on this collection? Why is 'Frogs Chorus' on this collection, I mean, why??? Little things, about a couple of hours in you get to the sleepy phase - that's assuming you are indeed going on some kind of road trip. Freaking out is a distinct possiblity once 'We All Stand Together' comes up - yet, however derided this thing is, it's expertly put together - the arrangement is perfect, seriously! 'Maybe I'm Amazed' is Beatles quality of course, but the songs from the 70s just sounds so 70s, as much as The Beatles really do sound so 60s. John just sounded like John, but Paul was ever the populist and really there isn't much wrong with that. 'Band On The Run' was a genuinely brilliant record and his Bond theme was also of Beatle quality. Paul could play everything after all if he wanted to. On a few of his albums, he did just!

    The 1980 record 'McCartney II' I always will have a soft spot for, Paul messing around with electronics and recording quickly then forgetting almost everything about it. Sure, John had the masterpiece 'Just Like Starting Over' and you cannot even begin to take the two songs together on any kind of level, but which was more fun? 'Good Times Coming' from the slated 'Press To Play' arrives, all 80s production and seemingly not much Paul - yet isn't it weird how much better such material fares when placed alongside 66 other Paul songs and not tied to time, place and the original LP? HAHA!! I missed something. 'Back Seat Of My Car' IS on this! 'My Brave Face' from 'Flowers In The Dirt' might have been nice too - but adore 'Back Seat Of My Car'. It has Beatles strings done on a budget, harmonies and weird chords and 'stuff'. 'Venus And Mars Rock Show' still sounds crap and it is followed on this set by 'Temporary Secretary' from 'McCartney II'. Paul went new-wave, he went right up to date then got George Martin in to produce his next record, which was all wishy-washy nonsense -'Tug Of War' it was, title track excluded from this compilation.

    'Junk' was a Beatles song - it was written during their latter days and pitched as such. Well, pitched might be a strong word - but people almost seem to forget Paul wrote 'Eleanor Rigby' and all that stuff and occasionally believe he instantly turned crap in 1970. Well, 'Junk' is the last track here after several hours of Paul and you know what? This compilation only makes me want to hear more - a good indicator of a quality compilation.

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    this page last updated 27/04/17

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