Tuesday, June 14, 2011

If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Street Date: 6/14/11

Like The Beach Boys' "Love You," Sir Paul's quirky "McCartney II" seems to have a lot more fans than I would expect. Both Mojo and Q magazines, when handing out reviews of the two new Macca reissues below, slapped Paul's debut with 2 stars, while giving "McCartney II" 4 stars. I'm not feeling that at all.

Both "McCartney" and "Ram" contain some of my very favorite solo Beatle moments, and occasionally fight it out with each other for the top slot on my fave McCartney album list. I've revisited 1980's "McCartney II" a number of times, usually when it gets an upgrade and the reviews start pouring in. And like the Beach Boys' "Love You," it has moments, but still mostly leaves me a bit baffled by the accolades.


McCartney's Seminal Solo Albums Will Be Available In Multiple Configurations Featuring Remastered Rare And Unreleased Audio & Video Content With Special Exclusive Packaging

MPL and the Concord Music Group are pleased to announce McCartney and McCartney II as the next releases in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection. Heralded as one of the most beloved solo debuts of all time, McCartney, the smash # 1 album, originally released April of 1970, yielded the timeless tracks "Every Night" and "Junk" along with the immortal classic "Maybe I'm Amazed." McCartney II originally issued in May of 1980 was McCartney's return to solo work after nine years touring and having released several massively successful albums with Wings. Reaching #1 in the UK, and #3 in the U.S., the album produced enduring classics such as "Coming Up," "Waterfalls," & "Temporary Secretary."

Paul McCartney personally supervised all aspects of these two reissues. The remastering work was done at Abbey Road using the same team who recently remastered the complete Beatles' catalogue.

Both McCartney and McCartney II will be available in a variety of formats.

McCartney will be made available as a 2-disc (2 CD) Special Edition featuring the original remastered album plus seven bonus audio tracks including the previously unreleased outtakes "Suicide" and "Don't Cry Baby" plus a rare live 1979 recording of "Maybe I'm Amazed". For collectors, the reissue will also be made available as a lavishly packaged 3 disc (2 CD, 1 DVD) Deluxe Edition which includes an exclusive bonus DVD featuring rare and previously unseen footage, an extraordinary 128-page hard bound book containing many exclusive and unpublished photos by Paul and Linda McCartney, original album artwork, downloadable hi-res audio versions of the remastered album and bonus audio tracks, an illustrated history of the making of the album, and expanded track by track information for the two audio discs as well as detailed historical information on the film content.

McCartney II will also be made available as a 2-disc (2 CD) Special Edition featuring the original remastered album plus eight bonus tracks including B-Sides and alternative versions. The bonus audio CD includes the #1 hit "Coming Up (Live At Glasgow, 1979)" and holiday perennial "Wonderful Christmastime."

The lovingly packaged 4 disc (3 CD, 1 DVD) Deluxe Edition of McCartney II not only includes an exclusive bonus DVD featuring rare and previously unseen footage (including performances of `Coming Up' and the new video for the unreleased track `Blue Sway') but includes an additional seven rare bonus audio tracks exclusive to this edition. Additionally, the McCartney II deluxe edition contains an extraordinary 128-page hard bound book featuring many previously unpublished photos by Linda McCartney, original album and single artwork, downloadable hi-res audio versions of the remastered album, an illustrated history of the making of the album, and expanded track by track information for all three audio discs plus detailed historical information on the film content.

Both original remastered albums and bonus audio content will also be issued as 2 disc 180gm audiophile vinyl editions which will come with an MP3 download of all included audio.

The musical achievement of McCartney and McCartney II are noted in the annals of music history as they serve as bookends to the historic first chapter of McCartney's solo career.

McCartney & McCartney II mark the second and third releases from the Paul McCartney Archive Collection, an ambitious reissue program that encompasses 41 years of cherished, classic material from the most successful songwriter and recording artist in music history. In November of 2010, the inaugural title in the Archive Collection, Paul McCartney & Wings' 1973 classic Band on the Run, was released to worldwide acclaim.


Live recording from Neil's 1984-1985 tour with the "International Harvesters," a band that featured Ben Keith and Spooner Oldham, among many other country music greats.

* Denotes Previously Unreleased Track

1. *Amber Jean (9/20/84) Nashville Now TV - Nashville, TN
2. Are You Ready For The Country? (9/21/84) Riverbend Music Center - Cincinnati, OH
3. It Might Have Been (9/25/84) Austin City Limits TV - Austin, Texas
4. Bound For Glory (9/29/84) Gilleys Rodeo Arena - Pasadena, TX
5. *Let Your Fingers Do The Walking (10/22/84) Universal Amphitheater Universal City, CA
6. Flying On The Ground Is Wrong (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA 7. Motor City (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA
8. *Soul Of A Woman (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA
9. Get Back To The Country (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA
10. Southern Pacific (9/1/85) Minnesota State Fair - St. Paul, MN
11. *Nothing Is Perfect (9/1/85) Minnesota State Fair - St. Paul, MN
12. *Grey Riders (9/10/85) Pier 84 - New York City, NY 


After 10 years and 6 albums, "Kings & Queens" is the first I am hearing of "Blackie & The Rodeo Kings." Apparently, the band is one of Canada's leading roots-rock bands. This must be true. Look at the line-up of special guests they've recruited for "Kings & Queens":

Rosanne Cash
Emmylou Harris
Pam Tillis
Serena Ryder
Lucinda Williams
Cassandra Wilson
Amy Helm
Janiva Magness
Mary Margaret O'Hara
Sam Phillips
Sara Watkins
Exene Cervenka
Patti Scialfa 
Holly Cole



It was difficult for me to take Peyroux's 1996 Atlantic Records debut too seriously. She sounded so much like Billie Holiday, I thought it was a joke. But the stellar cast of jazz musicians employed on "Dreamland," Cyrus Chestnut, James Carter, Vernon Reid, and Marc Ribot for starters, made me realize, this was no joke. The record was met with critical acclaim, though that didn't make me like it any more.

It took 8 years for a follow up, and I often wonder if it had anything to do with the Billie Holiday comparisons. Not that Peyroux's voice had changed for her 2004 release "Careless Love," but the vibe certainly did, going from smoky jazz to a collection of pop, folk, and country tunes. It worked better...for me.

On her new recording, Peyroux recruits some more wonderful people to back her up, including Allen Toussaint, Glenn Patscha, Me'Shell Ndegeocello, Jenny Scheinman, and the aforementioned Marc Ribot. "Rooftop" features songs by Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Robert Johnson, as well as a handful of Peyroux originals. Not everyone is going to embrace the laid-back approach to the covers, with "Love In Vain" being the most difficult for me. Peyroux delivers it with what sounds like a vocal nod to Peggy Lee, backed by a droning violin and muffled drums. Interesting, but something is just not right.

Still, as a whole, "Standing On The Rooftop" is another fine entry from Madeleine Peyroux.


New records from Barry Manilow, Ziggy Marley, Pat Metheny and Marc Broussard.


Anonymous said...

I'm a big Blackie and the Rodeo Kings fan. I had an advance listen to the Sara Watkins track -- Another Free Woman -- and loved it.

I just bought the album and am digging it on first listen.

I see from their website that the band is in New York tonight at The Living Room on Ludlow Street. If your Mom lets you go out on a school night I bet it will be a fun show.

Now ... I have to get my head around your comments on the McCartney.


Shriner said...

The stream I heard of the Neil Young was great. Cracking (as Don would say...)

McCartney II -- I never understood why people thought it was better than "McCartney". The less-dull songs from II were *covered* better by others on the two "Tribute To Paul McCartney" CDs from a few years back.

vanwoert said...

The musical achievement of McCartney and McCartney II are noted in the annals of music history as they serve as bookends to the historic first chapter of McCartney's solo career. So what's in the middle besides "Ram" or are we to include Wings in that statement because "Red Rose Speedway and "Back to the Egg" make their very own(historically awful) bookends.

Sal Nunziato said...

Wow! I happen to love both "Red Rose Speedway" & "Back To The Egg."

Peter Ames Carlin said...

First of all, massive props to Sal for throwing down in the name of "Back to the Egg," which is troubled, sure, but nowhere near irredeemable. The whole first side is actually quite solid, and in unexpected ways. Check out the super-fast punk groove in "Spin it On." and the heavy-booted stomp of "Old Siam, Sir." Then there's "Again and Again and Again," which I think is the best song Denny Laine ever wrote - love the harmonies Paul sings with him on it, too. And while the 2nd side is marred by the awful Rockestra tracks, "To You" is sweet, dark and mysterious, while "Arrow Through Me,"for all its doofy lyrics, sounds amazing - check out the way he uses the keys and synths.

I also do not get "McCartney II." I kept trying to dig into it when I was writing about Paul a few years back, but that many-layered synth sound only goes so far when you've got so many barely-written songs.

Ah, but the solo headwaters: "McCartney." A beautiful record. Critically slaughtered when it emerged (just as Paul seemed to announce that he was ditching the Fabs, thus triggering the grim family feud playing out nonstop in the media. But the record is full of gems: "Maybe I'm Amazed," "Every Night," "Junk," and the lightly written but heavily strutting "Oo You." Is it full of song fragments? Sure. But taken together the fragments add up to something quite special: The sound of a post-Beatle Paul reducing his music (and himself) to its/his most elemental parts. Yes, I know the public break-up wouldn't happen until the album actually appeared in the spring of '70. But in the fall of '69 (post John's declaration of independence in Sept) the writing was dry on the wall. The group was done. Now Paul was 27 and confronted with the terrifying task of recreating himself. So he got that little home 4-track, picked up his guitar and got going. A couple of chords, a scrap of melody, a gush of feeling for his new wife, and snap: "The Lovely Linda." Forty-five seconds in length, but just enough to spur him onward, ever onward.

That's what I hear when I hear "McCartney."

Sal Nunziato said...

While we're at it, "Winter Rose/Love Awake,"from "Egg" is absolutely beautiful.

And say what you want about "My Love," but no song that contains a guitar solo as perfect as Henry McCulloch's should be tossed off.

vanwoert said...

My problem with Sir Paul's recorded output from around 73 on is that he is an artist for which the term underrated has never applied. The bar was set rightfully high and although I try not to compare one album to another and find many moments (like the solo in "My Love" Sal mentioned)of absolute brilliance and beauty in his seventies work there were just to many throw away tracks."Venus and Mars" comes to mind immediatly. I am defering however to Mr Carlin and am going to listen to "Back to the Egg" later and see if I still feel the same.

Peter Ames Carlin said...

Hi Vanwoert - "Band on the Run" doesn't have any tossed-off tracks, by my estimation. I'm not sure "Ram"does, either. And if you want to get into the later albums, "Run Devil Run," his post-Linda collection of kick-ass cover songs (could've been recorded in Hamburg in '61) blows my mind, too.

A lot of other Paul albums (w/ and w/o Wings) have oodles of stand-out tracks. None of them just exactly perfect, but after 40 years of post-Beatle work, he's got a massive collection of great songs. Plus probably just as much languishing in his archives. For instance, how about the whole album of McCartney/MacManus tracks they co-produced in '87/'88? Paul nixed it (instead, the watered-down if at times delightful 'Flowers in the Dirt') but it exists somewhere.

Sal Nunziato said...

Peter, you must have the McCartney/McManus demos? It's like the greatest thing since ketchup.

Sal Nunziato said...

Oh...while I'm here, the "Rockestra Theme?" Killer, too! Really!

"Bada da---BASH! Bada da--BASH..BASH...BASH!"

Kinda great, me thinks.

Anything Should Happen said...

I think you know what my McCartney feelings are Sal.

Post Band On The Run, it's been a matter of either "Will That Do?" or people surrounding him telling him any old crap is great.

I think McCartney is a fine album, McCartney II is dull.

Back To The Egg is sub par, if it were not McCartney it would be remainder on release, but at least it's not as bad as London Town.

I attended a playback thing for Press To Play in Liverpool and some wag came out with the immortal "Hey Rock And Roll, McCartney's On The Dole".

Anything Should Happen said...

I also think that vanwoert's comment about never being underrated is a really apt comment.

He was a Beatle and I'm sure that Lennon's solo stuff could be scrutinised just as negatively as McCartney's, but it never seems to.

Perhaps because McCartney is still here 3 decades on.

For entire albums, Imagine is probably all that you need.

It doesn't stop my adoration of The Beatles, it just underlines my disappointment at the lack of quality after it ended.

Big Jim Slade said...

Don't know much about Madeleine Peyroux, but the first thing that struck me was the discordance between the album title and the album cover. The album cover for Standing on the Rooftop shows her sitting, inside (on a metal box, next to a dog). Whose idea was that? They couldn't get another photo shoot on a rooftop, or another idea for the album cover? How about name the album after a different song, maybe The Kind You Can't Afford or Don't Pick a Fight With a Poet. Those are good titles.

I see what you mean about the Billie Holiday thing - fortunately her voice is a bit lower (at least from the Amazon sound clips). It freaks me out when someone sings like Billie Holiday. Maybe this isn't fair, but only Billie Holiday should sound like Billie Holiday.

Peter Ames Carlin said...

OMG, the McCartney/MacManus demos are spectacular. "Tommy's Coming Home" is beyond belief (that tight harmony singing..) and howzabout the duet version of "So Like Candy" and on and on. How could that not come out? Oh, I've heard stories. Not repeatable just now, but trust me.

"Rockestra Theme," eh? I'll give it another listen. But I did linger over singling out "So Glad to See You Here" too, but then worried it was a Rockestra track too, and didn't want to sound like a hypocrite. But that sounds OK. I guess I just don't understand the utility of calling together every great British rock artist (more or less) to bash away in unison. Seems less Spector-like than a rock 'n' roll traffic tie-up. But different ears, different conclusions. No problem w/ that.

Sal Nunziato said...

I misspelled MacManus. Or is it "misspelt?" Fuk!

bglobe313 said...

McCartney II sucks. It was the album that persuaded me that I did not have to be a Beatles completist.

Really weak, a complete throw-away. To try to justify that as "experimentation" and "avant garde" is nonsense.

This is the man who could make something as fantastic as "Ram" and as unexpected and appealing as "McCartney".

"McCarteny II" is one of the best arguments against smoking dope. Lazy, self-indulgent, and lacking in any judgment.

Have I made myself clear?


Anything Should Happen said...

Hi Peter,

It's not bashing, we are certainly not trend followers here.

For me, it's how I feel when I listen to it, it is all so mediocre.

Others may not feel the same and that's cool, but it won't change my opinion, just as it won't change yours.

It is definitely not me wanting him to fail, just sad that he does.

Les said...

Discussions like this is one of the reasons why I love Burning Wood.