Sunday, 23 January 2011

Paul McCartney Archive Collection

"Coming soon to the Paul McCartney Archive Collection" is the headline on a small insert in the Band On The Run repackage, which I finally got around to buying (not the £75 version, naturally). Underneath are pictures of six McCartney albums, which will presumably all be enlarged over the next year or two. Thoughts and suggestions as follows . . .

McCARTNEY: I can't imagine how this could be extended, though I love the idea of a set of pre-album demos (which would probably be more 'produced' than the finished record). I'd be delighted if Paul can suddenly lay his hands on an hour of out-takes, even if they all turn out to be instrumentals. Anyone fancy a 30-minute version of 'Momma Miss America'? (I do.) More likely would be full-length versions of 'Suicide' and 'The Lovely Linda' (if Paul ever finished it), alongside the 1971 B-side 'Oh Woman Oh Why' (which always sounded to me as if it belonged on McCartney rather than Ram).

RAM: This gets me genuinely excited, as it's my favourite McCartney album. If there's a demo of 'Back Seat Of My Car' in Paul's vaults, I want to hear it. A proper retrospective of the Ram sessions would have to include two tracks that were belatedly included on Red Rose Speedway, 'Little Lamb Dragonfly' and 'Get On The Right Thing', plus the I-can't-believe-this-still-hasn't-been-released gem 'A Love For You'. In their wonderful book Eight Arms To Hold You, Chip Madinger and Mark Easter reckoned that 'Little Woman Love' was also a Ram out-take, plus of course the single 'Another Day'. Then there's the mono mix of the entire LP, which appeared on a US promo, and the ten minutes of amusing nonsense issued as another promo, Brung To Ewe By. I'd love to believe that there are hours of rough mixes and alternate takes locked in a cupboard somewhere; I'd also love to believe that Paul might lower his guard long enough to release them. But I'm not holding my breath.

VENUS AND MARS: We know there are rough mixes and out-takes from these 1974/5 sessions, because they're available on bootleg. And there are 'live' versions of several songs from the LP which were tackled during the Elstree rehearsals in September 1975. Plus film footage that was used for the videos promoting 'Letting Go' and 'Venus And Mars/Rock Show'. But why am I feeling bored at the prospect? Maybe it's because the charm of this record lies as much in its production as its songwriting, so anything less than perfection is going to pale by comparison.

WINGS AT THE SPEED OF SOUND: To my mind, this is the weakest of the Wings albums, and I'm not aware of any out-takes from the sessions. So the mind boggles at how Paul might be able to extend this to two or three CDs/DVDs. I'm happy to be surprised, though.

WINGS OVER AMERICA: Another strange choice. Obviously, there must be more material available, as Eight Arms To Hold You reckoned that the original 3-LP set was taken from eight different shows, and it's entirely possible that every US concert in May/June 1976 is somewhere in the archive. Plus there is plenty of film footage, as the tour spawned both the Rock Show and Wings Over The World films. But . . . could there possibly be anything new to give us? The set-list remained virtually the same throughout the tour.

McCARTNEY II: Well, there's certainly room for a two-CD edition of this album, because it was originally meant to appear as a double-LP, with several additional 'songs' and extended versions of several more. I can't imagine playing it more than once, mind you, but it would be worth owning as a reminder of one of Paul's more adventurous trips into the unexpected.

The overall verdict? It depends how McCartney approaches each of these projects. He is understandably reticent to throw open the vaults and let everything out, because a major part of his talent is/was knowing where to draw the line. My hunch is that he will always err on the side of conservatism, and hold out-takes back rather than letting all his dirty laundry blow proudly in the breeze. But then whoever imagined that he would do something like Oobu Joobu, which was full of weird off-cuts and curios? Be brave, Paul: the fans will love you for it, and you'll also sell more records that way.


  1. Sir: I'm right there with you. If he could approach this like Neil Young addressed his Archives (though I'm not holding my breath) we could be in for some fun stuff. What he did with BotR was a step in the right direction.

  2. Very awesome info. I just found your blog. I am in agreement on almost everything you said. Good call on Venus and Mars. I am a RAM fiend but I love the first album too. I hope these deluxifications can enhance those two albums to point of generating a re-interest in them. Those two albums were by Beatle Paul (not even the Paul&Linda tag could displace the denial). All other albums were by "ex, former, once Beatle" Paul. I am dying to hear any 'McCartney' out that isn't a GetBack rehearsal (excluding any version of TeddyBoy).
    Wings over America has always suffered from obesity. It needs to lose weight. McCartney II would have been way better as a legitimate single and (the rest) a bootleg album. Speed Of Sound is a great album in my book. Considering how much Paul doesn't sing on it, I play it quite a bit. Anyway, that's a start. I am grateful for this much needed update.

  3. The excellent track 'A Love For You' was released on 'The In-Laws' soundtrack. Believe it had new overdubs done for it at the time.

  4. Hey Peter. You should check out this thread in the Hoffman forum:

    There's some very knowledgeable people there and they've recently had this to announce:

    Mid 2010, from MPL insider, the ‘possible’ songs on the bonus disc for McCartney were:

    . Maybe I’m Amazed (long version)
    . Every Night (other take)
    . Suicide (Cavendish complete version)
    . Rock n Roll Springtime (long version)
    . Cavendish Parade (unreleased instrumental)
    . Maybe I’m Amazed (1st mix)
    . Oo You (instrumental)

    All of these dated from 1970

    plus :

    . Suicide (Abbey Road 1974)
    . Suicide (Abbey Road 1977 wings version for Sinatra)
    . Hot As Sun (rehearsals from 1979)
    . Hot as sun (live from Glasgow ‘79)
    . Every Night (live from Glasgow ‘79)
    . Maybe I’m Amazed (live from Glasgow ‘79)
    . Man We Was Lonely (1988 duet with Johnny Cash)
    . Singalong Junk (1991 rehearsals)
    . That Would Be Something (1991 rehearsals)

    But other great stuff has been discovered since, in Paul's different houses and vaults, so.

    “Momma Miss America” is made from two instrumentals linked together, "Rock n Roll Springtime” (with 2 minutes forgotten) and “Momma Miss America”.

    “Cavendish Parade” was recorded the same day as “Oo You” but was left unused, because the insider said it's very rough but sounds very fresh and crazy.

    There is also a very strange version of “Some People Never Know” recorded at Cavendish as a duet with an unknown male singer. Even Paul doesn't remember the guy but the recording is brilliant and very moving.

    Another great lost gem found recently is the original wonderful demo of "Runaway" recorded with a guitar and Linda on backing vocals in Barbados 1981 the day before the recording with Ivory.

    And for the Wild Life remaster, there is a wonderful complete version of “Dear Friend” that is 1½ minutes longer with three totally different mixes and the orchestration more prominent… made by Richard Hewson.

    And two long crazy Wings jams with strange overdubs (a short part of them was used for the links on the lp) . The original release is a very bad edit.

    And finally, 3 cassettes of demos from Summer 1970 have just been found in Scotland last summer in a suitcase inside a "le France boat" envelope containing mainly RAM demos with 29 tracks with 2 of them unreleased tracks not recorded during the ram sessions.

    And there are some outtake for Speed of Sound as evident with the new bootleaks last year and the info here:

  5. I think Paul should include the out-take of "Rode All Night" that he recorded during the RAM sessions. It's awesome.

  6. These two albums are far too historically important to start diluting their brevity with non-vintage trips down memory lane. We need outtakes from the sessions, various vintage mixes/arrangements, and nothing live, no new remixes and no 'instrumentals' of released tracks. We need these albums to retain their integrity while at the same time drawing new listeners in. But excellent work regardless...thank you.