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Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

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Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Old 09-17-10, 10:28 AM
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Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Sorry about the "Eee!"

Macca's had a 40 year solo career. Critically, his works have been all over the map. Twee. Milquetoast. Lightweight. Commercial. Pap. "Not as good as his Beatles material!" seems to be the common refrain. I say there's gold in them thar hills. Often some great stuff. Some good tunes. A bunch of filler. Some guilty pleasures. Noble failures. Ignoble triumphs. Etc. I think at the very worst, this thread might encourage people to check out his solo catalog and perhaps realize that "Wild Life" is nowhere NEAR the crap album people say it is.

We'll see how long we last. I personally can't wait until we hit McCartney II. Temporary Secretary is all sorts of brilliant fail.
Old 09-17-10, 10:30 AM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

McCartney -- Paul McCartney



Original Release Date: April 17, 1970

1. "The Lovely Linda"
2. "That Would Be Something"
3. "Valentine Day"
4. "Every Night"
5. "Hot as Sun/Glasses"
6. "Junk"
7. "Man We Was Lonely"
8. "Oo You"
9. "Momma Miss America"
10. "Teddy Boy"
11. "Singalong Junk"
12. "Maybe I'm Amazed"
13. "Kreen-Akrore"


Released a scant week after McCartney announced he was leaving The Beatles -- as shrewd a marketing move as it was dastardly, as Lennon had already announced his intention to leave but was convinced to temporarily keep it to himself for the good of the band -- McCartney wasn't Paul's first solo project (he had previous scored the John & Hayley Mills film "The Family Way"). But it was easily his most important, his opening salvo and statement as a solo artist freed from the frustrations and expections with which he had been encumbered as a Beatle.

The result is... certainly something nobody expected. This was a true solo effort; Paul played every instrument on the album! Guitars, bass, drums, percussion, keyboards, mellotron, vocals (with the only assist coming from wife Linda on some backing vocals), Paul did it all with a 4-track recorder, either at home or in the studio. And as a result, the entire album feels entirely homemade.

McCartney is a trifle, but a pleasant, interesting one. Other than the smash hit "Maybe I'm Amazed", which is easily as great as anything he ever recorded as a Beatle (although never released as a single; the version from his live "Wings Over America" went top 10), there's little else that can be categorized as truly great. What we do have is Paul, for all intents and purposes, getting the Beatles taste out of his mouth and recharging his batteries.

Some of it works nicely. Some of it is forgettable. Some of it is leftover Beatle material. Most of it sounds like interesting outtakes. It's a testament to where Paul's head was at in late 69/early 70. "That Lovely Linda" is a throwaway, a twee bit of improvisation he did while testing out his 4-track recorder. "That Would Be Something" is a repetitive piece of piffle, a gentle toe-tapper with some nice acoustic accompaniment. At its best, it would have been a throwaway track on "The White Album.

"Valentine Day" is the album's first of five instrumentals. Even though he played it entirely himself, it sounds like any other band simply warming up. For the album's first three songs, we've had nothing terrible but nothing really substantial. Thankfully the first fully formed song appears next with "Every Night", a strong, heartfelt tune with great hooks and musicality that we expect from McCartney. And at just over 2.5 minutes, it's gone too soon.

"Hot as Sun/Glasses" is the 2nd instrumental of the album, which starts with a bit Paul composed in his Quarrymen days and gives it a nice Caribbean spin. It's instantly more memorable than Valentine Day. The 2nd portion of the track "Glasses" isn't as good; it consists of tones generated from the rims of glasses, and then breaks into a vocal portion that ends abruptly. Loved the first part of the track; the second, not so much.

"Junk" is another gentle, pleasant acoustic number that Paul was originally demoed for (but left off) The White Album (it can also be heard on Anthology 3). It's fairly forgettable and, at 2 minutes in length, is gone just in time. The problem is, again, it *feels* like a lesser Beatles track that was left off a studio album for good reason.

"Man We Was Lonely" has that sweet reverb on the opening lick, and I appreciate the vaudeville/ragtime feel of the chorus (although it gets grating real fast.) Linda's backing vocals are shaky during the verses. An OK song at best, mediocre at worst. The parts are definitely better than the whole.

As we get to Side 2 with "Oo You", Paul is FINALLY starting to rock out again. Nothing wrong with getting down-home and folksy, but he was starting to veer into repetition and Granny music territory. "Oo You" is a solidly good tune, with a strong, punchy rhythm guitar track and some soulful basslines. The rock vibe continues into "Momma Miss America", the 3rd instrumental track and probably the most fully realized one so far. Decent track, but at this point in the album the jam noodles are starting to get a bit tiresome.

"Teddy Boy" is another Beatles leftover, a bouncy, acoustic number from the "Get Back" sessions. I like this little tune, a sort of "Rocky Raccoon" spiritual sequel, and the chorus is kind of infectious. It moves right into "Singalong Junk", the 4th (!) instrumental, this time a retread of "Junk" from earlier in the album. I actually like the instrumental version MUCH better. Maybe because the lyrics are all sorts of dopey treacle.

"Maybe I'm Amazed" is next. As mentioned earlier, it's 37 delicious flavors of awesome.

"Kreen-Akrore" closes the album with its 5th and final instrumental. At 4:14, it's the longest (!!) song on the album. It starts with a jungle rhythm, moves into rock territory with crashing guitars and a drum solo (!!!), then into odd chanting, percussion, heavy breathing, distorted guitar licks, more drum fills, and then ends with organs and guitars in crescendo... all for nought. What a piece of shit.

McCartney is an odd album. It's a down-home, homemade, "I'm gonna noodle around and see what happens" loose-feel project that didn't amount to a whole lot, but overall isn't a bad album. I love "Maybe I'm Amazed", and really like "Teddy Boy", "Oo You", "Every Night", and "Singalong Junk". The rest of the album is OK-to-forgettable, and only "Kreen-Akrore" really stinks. If you take this album as it should be taken -- as Paul goofing around in the studio to see what he can come up with -- it's a gentle, enjoyable romp. But there's little on it that's truly lasting.

When McCartney would get to his next album, things would be much different. For the better.

Last edited by Hokeyboy; 09-20-10 at 03:38 PM.
Old 09-17-10, 02:01 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

4. "Every Night"

That was the best song on the record. I respect the album because McCartney was "a one man band" on it.
Old 09-17-10, 02:03 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

I never did understand the album cover. Kind of dumb, unimaginable. Cherries on a table with a bowl. Ooookay.
Old 09-17-10, 02:30 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

The cover was Linda's concept. I always interpreted the empty bowl of cherries as the dissolution of the Beatles, with new "cherries" to be found elsewhere and around where the loss of the Beatles stood.
Old 09-17-10, 03:06 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
However, as a fan of "all things Beatle", I will say at the onset of this thread that I am not a big fan of any of the Beatles' solo works.... I enjoy some of the songs, but not once in any of their careers post-Beatle have I enjoyed a CD by any of them from beginning to end.....which is not something I could say about the Beatles. In fact, quite the opposite; I can listen to nearly every Beatle album from start to finish, and enjoy every second.
That's the thing. I said this in another thread: the whole was only as good as the sum of its parts.
Old 09-17-10, 03:07 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

I must confess that I've always liked this album despite the fact that it doesn't rock. That said, this album has always had soothing effect on me. I just have to be in the right mood.
Old 09-17-10, 03:16 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
Me, too. It's not my favorite solo endeavor from Sir Paul, but I like it.

However, as a fan of "all things Beatle", I will say at the onset of this thread that I am not a big fan of any of the Beatles' solo works.... I enjoy some of the songs, but not once in any of their careers post-Beatle have I enjoyed a CD by any of them from beginning to end.....which is not something I could say about the Beatles. In fact, quite the opposite; I can listen to nearly every Beatle album from start to finish, and enjoy every second.
I hear you. I think POB and Imagine are both great albums, and love a bunch of the albums coming up in this thread later on, as well as most of All Things Must Pass and Material World, but there's not a moment while listening to them that I wouldn't stop and put on, say, The White Album or A Hard Day's Night.

But you could say that for pretty much almost any other band out there, so it's kind of a harsh comparison.

Still, I think one of the driving motivations for this thread was to challenge the oft-repeated claim that McCartney's solo output was somehow subpar or without merit. And certainly compared to much of the exciting music emerging at the same time, McCartney's quaintness, throwbacks, and pop tendencies were probably seen as simplistic or outdated. They might have been, but that doesn't necessarily degrade the work when viewed in hindsight.

Still though... someone explain "Let 'Em In" to me when we get there.
Old 09-17-10, 03:26 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy View Post
I hear you. I think POB and Imagine are both great albums
I like POB at least as well as any Beatles album.

I think McCartney is a weak album, but "Maybe I'm Amazed" is one of the best songs he's ever written.

Even if The Faces did it better.

Last edited by wendersfan; 09-17-10 at 03:34 PM.
Old 09-17-10, 03:30 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!



Old 09-17-10, 04:12 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Damn that was one sweet cover. I don't know if it's better than Paul's, but a fooking love it.
Old 09-17-10, 04:15 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Maybe I'm Amazed is , in my opinion, one of the best songs Paul ever wrote. It's really wonderful. The rest of the album is pretty forgettable.
Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post

However, as a fan of "all things Beatle", I will say at the onset of this thread that I am not a big fan of any of the Beatles' solo works.... I enjoy some of the songs, but not once in any of their careers post-Beatle have I enjoyed a CD by any of them from beginning to end.....which is not something I could say about the Beatles. In fact, quite the opposite; I can listen to nearly every Beatle album from start to finish, and enjoy every second.
I think Paul did release one great album a beginning-to-end masterpiece, but this ain't it.
Old 09-17-10, 04:19 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Taken for what it is, McCartney is an album of simple pleasures. Coming from the man who spearheaded Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road, that's something of a surprise, but this is more the guy who wrote "Why Don't We Do It In The Road" on display. Out of all The Beatles, McCartney was always the one who like to jump around and play with different genres of music the most, but for some reason in his solo career he tended to focus on one mood or style per album for the most part. So McCartney is the quaint homespun "I can do it all by myself" album that is nice to listen to but would never be confused for a major statement.

The best songs on here, "Maybe I'm Amazed," "Oo You," and "That Would Be Something" stand out like beacons amidst the instrumentals and throwaways. Perhaps the cherries on the cover was Paul's way of telling his audience they'll want to cherry pick through the record, because that's what I always do.
Old 09-18-10, 11:59 AM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Well moving right along then...

Ram -- Paul & Linda McCartney



Original Release Date: May 17, 1971

1. "Too Many People"
2. "3 Legs"
3. "Ram On"
4. "Dear Boy"
5. "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"
6. "Smile Away"
7. "Heart of the Country"
8. "Monkberry Moon Delight"
9. "Eat at Home"
10. "Long Haired Lady"
11. "Ram On (Reprise)"
12. "The Back Seat of My Car"

Bonus tracks on 1993 reissue
1. "Another Day"
2. "Oh Woman, Oh Why"

After the reasonable success of McCartney, Paul took a bit of a holiday and returned fresh to the studio in November 1970 to begin the Ram sessions. This time the approach would a solidly studio effort, incorporating sesions musicans such as guitarists David Spinozza and Hugh McCracken (actual name). Through early 1971 they recorded 23 songs for the Ram sessions, and the album (pared down to 12 songs) was released the following May.

Ram is strongly considered to be one of Paul's best solo efforts (if not THE best), and it's almost impossible to argue that it isn't a huge step forward from his first solo LP. Whereas that album generally consisted of homespun musical doodles, the tracks on Ram are more polished, layered, and fully-formed. The end result is a very strong album with some really memorable work.

"Too Many People" opens the album as if to immediately quell the listener's fear that they'd be listening to "McCartney part II". It's a slick, midtempo rock number that is one of his best, highlighted by that rich guitar tone on its signature riff (opens the song, played under the chorus). The song contains two digs at Lennon that probably resulted in that infamous Lennon postcard with him recreating Ram's cover... with a pig.

"3 Legs" is Paul doing his White Album blues wankery, and it's a tolerable song but just as easily skippable. A chirpy ukelele strum introduces "Ram On", a cheerful number that has a wonderful dreamy quality to it. I love the sound of the vocal orchestrations on this track. Paul seems to be having fun by now, and this leads directly into the wondeful "Dear Boy", the most Beatle-esque sounding track on the album. You could have slipped this into any Beatle project mid 67 through 68 without anyone looking twice.

And then.... "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey". I can hear the knives sharpening in anticipation. All I can say is that I *LOVE* this ridiculously silly song. Always have. Have at you.

"Smile Away" wisps away the silliness of the previous song with a loud, swingin' rocker. The track really doesn't stick out in any memorably way, but it doesn't stink the joint out either. Linda's backing vocals are beginning to get a bit grating. Gears shift again with "Heart of the Country", Paul doing his gentle folksy bit, and I like it. Say what you want about McCartney being "lightweight", but he was easily the most versatile of The Beatles, both as a songwriter and a musician.

There's only one song I actively dislike on Ram, and that's "Monkberry Moon Delight". Linda's vocals get REALLY grating here; it's not so much that she can't sing, but more like because her vocals simply don't fit. Anywhere. The over-emoting in Paul's vocal delivery doesn't help either. The sad thing is, with a couple of fixes this song could have gone from annoying to good. I like the chorus for the most part, the production sounds fine, and with a different approach (taking away the echoey repeats at the end of each line in the verses, removing Linda's vocals, Paul singing it straightforward rather than in a melodramatic manner) it could have been a MUCH better song. As it stands... it annoys me.

Things improve much with "Eat At Home", a cheeky upbeat rocker about afternoon delights. It has a country twang to it that really works. The only thing I could do without is the "hoo-hoo-hooooo" during the bridge, but overall this is a sweet tune.

Linda gets pushed to the forefront ENTIRELY too much with "Long Haired Lady". Her droning delivery during the opening verse is nails on a chalkboard. Again, not so much that she can't sing -- she can't, at least, not professionally -- it's more like she SHOULDN'T. Average, at best. Once she gets shoved out of the way, the song isn't bad. Definite filler material.

To end the album we start with a 1 minute reprise of "Ram On" which, OK, doesn't really count for much of anything. Finally we have "The Back Seat Of My Car", a dark, piano laden ballad that rises to a strong, powerful crescendo and then... just ends. I'm flabbergasted. Paul's vocals sound strong and confident here, I like the feel of the song; it has that sort of "written in movements" feel of "Band of the Run" or "Admiral Halsey". It's a great track but it just feels incomplete at the end to me, for some reason. It ends the album on a puzzling note.

Recorded during the Ram sessions but NOT included on the original album were "Another Day" and "Oh Woman Oh Why". These songs were released as a single, the former the A-side and a big Top 10 hit for McCartney, and has the distinction of being his first solo single released after the Beatles breakup. It's a great tune as well, a contemporary urban take on "Eleanor Rigby". Also just as good is "Oh Woman Oh Why", a rocker with a killer groove and strong bluesy vocals from Paul. Both tracks, if included on Ram, would have made a really good album even better!

Overall, I really like Ram. It has some great songs, a few filler tracks, and only one number I actively dislike. Although it was derided upon its release, over time rock critics have recognized that McCartney was forging ahead with his own sound and produced a strong album. He successfully raised his game from his quizzical first album in terms of production and songwriting, although to be honest there's nothing on Ram that even comes close to the phenomenal "Maybe I'm Amazed"; however, this speaks less about Ram's songs as it demonstrates how much of an anomaly MIA was compared to the rest of "McCartney".

So for his next album, McCartney was going to take another quantum step forward with his songwriting and studio approach, right? Well...

Last edited by Hokeyboy; 09-20-10 at 03:39 PM.
Old 09-18-10, 01:47 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Ram was the first solo Beatle album I actually bought. It got a lot of rotation on the turntable. Heh Because of that, a lot of the quirkiness really endeared me eventually. While it's wasn't quite the masterpiece that Band on the Run became, it was an album that brings back fond memories of a simpler time in my life. There will always be that connection.

And count me in as another fan of "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey". It's a fun, silly song and I loved the time signature changes.
Old 09-18-10, 07:27 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

I can't stand the bulk of the Beatles work but the solo work of Lennon and McCartney are great, much more substantial and interesting than the "na-na-na" stuff.
Old 09-18-10, 07:57 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Ram is definitely McCartney's best solo album. A freewheeling trip through McCartney's artier inclinations without sacrificing melody. I used to hate Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey, but it's grown on me (although I still hate that stuffy British guy talking through some of it). It's a shame McCartney couldn't keep up the quality or consistency of this album in his future work.
Old 09-18-10, 11:01 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
Ram is definitely McCartney's best solo album.
[respectfully disagrees, emphatically]

And I feel like I'm living in some sort of bizzaro universe where people actually like Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey. To me it, along with Let Em In, is undeniable proof that Paul really DID die and was replaced with some sort of simplistic autobot who composed jingles for breakfast cereal commercials instead of the auteur who wrote some of the 20th Century's greatest songs. The funny voices, the lame rain sound effects and fake telephone ring and those animal noises. Not to mention the tuneless Linda backing vocals that were WAY too audible in the mix. And that "Be a gypsy" ending? Yeesh.
That is the song we're talking about, right? You all like that one?
Old 09-19-10, 04:01 AM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

No discussion of Ram would be complete without John Lennon's reaction:

Old 09-19-10, 01:40 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

And, of course, the lyrics to his song "How Do You Sleep" from Imagine:

So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise
You better see right through that mother's eyes
Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
The one mistake you made was in your head
Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?

You live with straights who tell you you was king
Jump when your momma tell you anything
The only thing you done was yesterday
And since you're gone you're just another day
Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?

Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?

A pretty face may last a year or two
But pretty soon they'll see what you can do
The sound you make is muzak to my ears
You must have learned something in all those years
Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?
Old 09-19-10, 02:00 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

I really hated McCartney (but loved the album jacket and photography and, of course, Maybe I'm Amazed) but have played Ram to death. I always wondered how much more of an impact Ram would have had as Paul's first album. I never grow tired of this album and especially Smile Away and The Back Seat of my Car.
Old 09-19-10, 02:15 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Originally Posted by gmanca View Post
I can't stand the bulk of the Beatles work but the solo work of Lennon and McCartney are great, much more substantial and interesting than the "na-na-na" stuff.
Old 09-19-10, 06:11 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Honestly, I'm just not a fan; I love Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Because, and Strawberry Fields Forever but that's it. But their solo stuff, I love it; it may be classified as "accessible" but it's more agreeable to me, things like Band on the Run, Goodnight Tonight, Old Siam, Sir, Arrow Through Me, Daytime Nighttime Suffering, Coming Up those are really great pieces of music.
Old 09-20-10, 03:17 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

Wild Life - Wings



Original Release Date: December 7, 1971

1. "Mumbo"
2. "Bip Bop"
3. "Love Is Strange"
4. "Wild Life"
5. "Some People Never Know"
6. "I Am Your Singer"
7. "Bip Bop Link"
8. "Tomorrow"
9. "Dear Friend"
10. "Mumbo Link"

1993 remaster bonus tracks:
11. "Give Ireland Back to the Irish"
12. "Mary Had a Little Lamb"
13. "Little Woman Love"
14. "Mama's Little Girl"

Well, he did it. Paul McCartney formed a brand new band. Unthinkable, but there it was. Energized after the modest creative and commercial success of "Ram", Paul (and Linda) took drummer Denny Seiwell and added Moody Blueser Denny Laine to the mix, and with that Wings was born. Sequestered in McCartney's Scotland studios in August of 1971, the "Wild Life" sessions resulted in the recording of 9 new songs in two weeks -- five of them recorded on the first take!

Expectations certainly had to be enormous for Sir Paul. If your last band was The Beatles, and your last two albums were commercial hits but not exactly blockbusters, and didn't set the critical world on fire either, you've got some mighty big shoes to fill. Certainly your next album HAS to be big. It's got to be swirling full of layered melodies, strong songwriting, impeccable production values... the kind of sweeping numbers that will grab the listener and make them pay attention, enraptured by the sheer melodic power and maturity of your work.

Certainly no one was sort of expecting Wild Life. The album was a critical disaster and "only" went Gold (Paul's previous two efforts went Double Platinum each). Instead of another quantum step up from the previous album (ala "Ram"), Wild Life seemed to be a bit of a repeat of "McCartney". A silly one-off with studio doodlings and nothing of any real substance. People wondered if Paul's new "band" was little more than Paul's backing musicians (which they were, for now). In any case, the first Wings album did not amount to much in terms of sales, critical analysis, or public acceptance. People wondered if Paul was indeed creatively bankrupt, or in the need of a little help from his "friends".

In my opinion,Wild Life is nowhere NEAR as bad (or inconsequential) as made out to be. It's actually, on its own, a decent album. It's not as good as "Ram", and at times it does get a bit throwaway, trifling, and just plain weird, but taken on its own it has its charms and, while no masterpiece by any means, is an enjoyable one at times. I can imagine, though, that McCartney fans in late 1971 were starting to get a wee bit fed up.

You almost have to respect (on some level) any album that starts out with "Mumbo" and "Bip Bop". "Mumbo" sounds like an outtake, as its literally Paul screaming nonsensically (and somewhat gratingly) over the verses and "WHOOOOO!!!"'ing through the chorus before going back into authentic frontier gibberish. I have no idea what to make of this song. But I like it. McCartney's basically scatting (heh) through the song but he makes it rock. Somehow. "Bip Bop" is another "either you kinda like it or you really hate it tune". Here a little slide guitar and echoey vocals guide the listener through a nonsensical bluesy folk number, and if your toe isn't tapping throughout the entirety of it, I'd be highly surprised. Then again after about a minute or so of this repetitive piffle I can see many skipping past it. I'm not gonna say it's a great song, but I like it as an offbeat, charming sort of tune.

McCartney's first solo cover tune came next with "Love Is Strange", a reggae-influenced reworking of the 1950s Mickey & Sylvia song. This is, simply put, a great arrangement and a great cover. My only complaint would be that the drumwork is a bit too busy, but other than that nitpick this is a highlight of the album. That song's perky, upbeat charms are quickly disippated by the slower, minor-key, 3/4 beat of the title track. "Wild Life" is a dark, critical tune, albeit a surface-level one, decrying the state of humanity or some such nonsense. This is an OK track. It's somewhere above filler and below really good. Not essential, but memorable. It probably goes on for a minute and a half longer than it needs to.

"Some People Never Know" is an acoustic shuffler, with a gentle rhythm as reflective as its lyrics. A likable tune, it really builds over its running time effectively. I think it's one of McCartney's forgotten gems. Unfortunately, the joys of that track are kinda obliterated by "I Am Your Singer". It's not the back and forth vocals between Paul and Linda that destroy it -- Linda's mediocre warbling doesn't help one iota -- but the song is incessantly maudlin in lyrics to the point of diabetic shock, and the blatant lack of musicality (even in its simplicity) is brutal.

Hidden track puzzlers emerge with "Bip Bop Link", which is just under a minute of 12-string guitar wankery. OK, adds a touch of character to the album. Nothing much else to see here. Unfortunately the same applies to "Tomorrow", which is another mediocre-at-best folky/rocky thing that is pretty much the definition of "forgettable". Not so much that it's a bad song, it just feels generic, workmanlike, a pinpoint exercise in blatant ho-hummery.

Not recorded during the "Wild Life" sessions but during "Ram" sometime in February/March of 1971, and included on this album, is "Dear Friend", Paul's attempt at some kind of reconciliation with John Lennon. It's a powerful and honest song given the time and context of its creation, and perhaps at no point in his solo career thus far has Paul sounded so much like a genuine artist (with the exception of "Maybe I'm Amazed"). Maybe that's why it sounds like such an odd fit for this album.

The album finishes with its second of two hidden tracks "Mumbo Link", which like BBL, is useless hooey.

Wild Life starts out much stronger than it finishes. As mentioned before, you either like the silly charm of the opening numbers or you hate them, but they're kind of fun in their own right. "Love Is Strange" is a highlight, "Wild Life" does OK, and "Some People Never Know" rounds out the first side very nicely. And then Side 2 has two useless tracks in the awful "I Am Your Singer" and the totally blah "Tomorrow", the pointless hidden tracks of BBL and ML, and then somewhat redeemed with the powerfully honest (but oddly-fitted) "Dear Friend". What Wild Life lacks is one singularly defining great or classic song. It is also decidely VERY non-rocking, which is fine but what is missed is Paul really letting loose and bringing some real energy to the proceedings. A bit more "Mumbo" would have helped a buttload on Side 2.

It's not a horrible album, certainly not as bad as it's made out to be, but it's not a very good one either. I remember liking "Wild Life" a lot more when I first heard it years ago. This was an EP's worth of good material at best. In fact if you took the best of this album and the next, you'd... well, we'll save that for when we get there.

Now as for the bonus tracks: "Give Ireland Back To The Irish", a 1972 single, is Paul getting down and funky with a political statement. Subtlety isn't his strong suit here, but as a piece of protest it works in a basic sing-along sorta way. Banned by the BBC (for obvious reasons), it was a modest hit around the rest of the world and probably bought Paul some street cred from those who thought he was too lightweight for this sort of material. It's a good song, if not a particuarly deep one. Speaking of deep: "Mary Had A Little Lamb"? REALLY, Paul? OK it's actually a cute throwaway kids song and taken for what it is... fine. Legend has it he recorded the tune as a response to the BBC's banning of "Irish" ('Let's see if they'll ban THIS!'). Whatever. It's a cute throwaway, at best. It went Top 10 in the UK but didn't do as well in the US. "Little Woman Love" is a spirited like honky-tonk tune that was "Mary's" B-side, and it SHOULD have been included on "Wild Life" to pick the pace up a bit. A lost opportunity for such a good song. Another great song is "Mama's Little Girl", a spiritual mix of "Blackbird" and "Mother Nature's Son". It's a beautiful song. Actually recorded during the "Red Rose Speedway" sessions, it was never released officially until 1990 as a B-side to the "Put It There" single. Talk about hidden treasures: this is a HUGE one.

For the bonus tracks alone, Wild Life is elevated substantially as a CD. In the end, it's worth picking up just for "Love Is Strange", "Some People Never Know", "Give Ireland Back To The Irish", "Little Woman Love", and "Mama's Little Girl", the standout tracks. As it stood in its original format... not quite as compelling.

Last edited by Hokeyboy; 09-20-10 at 03:39 PM.
Old 09-20-10, 03:42 PM
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Re: Album by Album Thread featuring: PAUL MCCARTNEY/WINGS! Eee!

I'll admit, I've never listened to this album. I guess I'll give it a try someday.

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