Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A pair of Wings

Sunday's car boot sale was hot and sunny, and there was a fair amount of vinyl on offer.  Much of this was of course the usual piles of easy listening and country LPs that had belonged to the late parents of the baby-boomer stallholders, but I still came away with a few decent records.

Paul McCartney & Wings recorded seven albums during their time and I bought two of them for £1 each, both in great condition.  First was Band On The Run:

Paul McCartney & Wings - Band On The Run (1973)
Back cover and inner sleeve pic

This was their third album and best selling one, reaching no.1 in the UK and US as well as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Spain and Norway.  It was recorded in Lagos, with only Denny Laine joining Paul and Linda; the other two members Henry McCullogh and Denny Seiwell left the group - Seiwell just the night before they were due to leave for Nigeria.  The LP came with a poster with photos of the recording trip.

Clive Arrowsmith took the photos for the famous cover which includes Michael Parkinson and Chrisopher Lee in the line-up of criminals.

The two big singles Jet and Band On The Run open the album then the tempo is dropped by Bluebird; a love song with a little sax break.  Mrs. Vandebilt (more sax) and the Lennon-esque Let Me Roll It finish off Side 1 quite nicely.

Side 2 starts with the long, dreary Mamunia, then relief is provided by No Words and the quirky Picasso's Last Words which reprises Jet and whose tempo changes and musical about-turns are reminiscent of the Abbey Road medley (albeit a duller one).  The piano-rock of final track Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five is the strongest of the side, reprising Band On The Run at the very end.

Band On The Run was remastered and re-issued in 2010 as part of an ongoing series of Paul's Wings and solo remasters (Ram came out this week).  It stands at number 418 in the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list and was said to have marked a return to form for Paul.  It's certainly not my favourite of the two Wings albums that I picked up the weekend however.

Back To The Egg rocks harder and is for me far and away the better record:

Paul McCartney & Wings - Back To The Egg (1979)

The idea of Back To The Egg was to go back to a more basic rock'n'roll ethos, as well as a new beginning for Wings as a whole.  In terms of the music this was true - it's a vibrant and consistent album of pop, rock, soul and funk.  On songs such as Old Siam, Sir (a stonking rocker) and  We're Open Tonight, Macca's voice never sounded better.  The celebrity jam of the Rockestra Theme (starring among many others Dave Gilmour, Pete Townshend and John Paul Jones) is a gleeful, backslapping bit of fun.

Back cover, inner sleeve pic and egg labels (Sunny Side
Up and Over Easy)

But the new beginning was not to be.  After Paul was arrested in Japan for possession of dope and deported, plus John Lennon's murder later that same year, the band eventually unravelled and Wings never completed another album.

Critics generally slated Back To The Egg, with Rolling Stone being particularly grumpy using words like "lazy", "slipshod" and "drivel".  I'm too young to remember but I gather there was a fair bit of Macca-bashing going on around this time for whatever reasons.  I thinks it's a great album and the public seem to agree, as it reached a respectable no.6 in the UK and no.8 in the US.

Predictably neither album is on Spotify, so here's a medley on the 'tube:

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