Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Sean Murdock, Sep 18, 2015.
You mean Four Non-Virgins...
Hey I think you're on to something here! Would Paul's amazing songs of the last 25 years have even happened if he didn't have that brief time with Costello give him the right inspirations? Sure their collective output was short lived and not all amazing but who knows what effect it may have had, even subconsciously, on his future solo writing?
Semi-related, re: Fabcast- they only annoyed me in specific instances and overall I enjoyed the episode, especially the guy (Dave?) who worked for Capital in the 80s and his first hand stories about Paul.
Anyways the related bit, I listened to their episode about Ram and while it also had cool insights, I was bothered by how often they all said "just imagine Ram as a Beatles album with John and George singing backup and Ringo drumming on all these great songs blah blah". Well yeah, that's all well and good to imagine, but I can guarantee you that most of the amazing songs on Ram would never have been written if the Beatles had stayed together.
Joking aside, I got the above FOE single a few weeks ago, but it didn't have a 5" adaptor. Unbelievably there was actually a thread on 3" singles on SH, with a link to a store in Berlin who sells them. Needless to say I ordered a couple. I have put some time in getting those CD available download only tracks I can tell you LOL. Good job I am retired
Is anyone planning on picking up the Record Store Day cassette release?
Elvis Costello took McCartney nowhere near his roots?!
McCartney's roots are skiffle, motown, Little Richard, Elvis, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry etc.
I don't hear any of that in the stuff Costello does, and he certainly didn't do any of that with McCartney!
Yes. And then, I will put it back down.
I'm sure I recall someone posting the supposed recording dates of the acoustic demos. IIRC they were, allegedly, recorded on two separate days. And yet they were supposedly recorded as they were written. Which means either McCartney's memory is faulty (not something I'd hold against him) or the dates on the session tape boxes are those on which the tapes were compiled, rather than the dates on which the individual tracks were recorded.
Poor McCartney: for any other artist, the info we have would have been sufficient. EMI's attention to detail in the 1960s was so good that anything less is just utterly frustrating.
That was indeed IT!
Thanks so much for this.
I guess that answers the 'little bit of work' question definitively then.
By referring to Hugh Padgham as 'one of the guys' in XTC, Paul was definitely sideswiping him.
While I agree on the slickness, I disagree on the reasons behind the shift in songwriting.
Listen to the rehearsals for the Japanese leg of the second world tour: bigger hits were needed to improve the reception, but they don't have any of the energy or spark that the previous tour rehearsals had — or the Back To The Egg recording sessions had, based on the bootlegs that are out for it. Paul says in Wingspan that he knew that Wings had to end; I disagree the arrest was intentional, but it was clear that he felt he needed to jettison the lineup in favour of something new.
1980's Rude Studio Demos, though, show a variety of subjects, and many of them continue into Tug Of War: band collapse ("Take It Away"), depression ("Somebody Who Cares"), great loss ("Here Today"), idealization of the past ("Ballroom Dancing"), the economy ("The Pound Is Sinking"), identity ("Dress Me Up As A Robber"), racial unity ("Ebony And Ivory") and wanderlust.
But, at the same time, George Martin felt he needed to force Paul to focus on quality of song once more — and therein lies the biggest problem with his career in the 80s: what Martin was trying to do was get Paul back to the same type of complex song development that he succeeded with The Beatles in the Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road sessions, but Wings had been operating on the same need to capture the live energy of the song creation that the early Beatles had, and Get Back sessions tried to replicate.
As a result, he slows down, and Pipes Of Peace suffers most from this: compare the demos of "Sweetest Little Show" (the need to perform to expectations), "Average Person" (dreams vs reality) and "Keep Under Cover" (romantic anticipation) and you find the songs lose all the charm in favour of having a technically better recording. "Tug Of Peace" and "Hey Hey" come off as jams that have been slowed to the point they sound exhausted.
Yes, others from the 60s/70s suffered in this period as well, but it's clear the rest of the music industry was suffering as well: the early 80s is dominated by New Wave because it was interesting sonically despite being often similar lyrically, and by those songs with videos that reached high circulation on MTV. When I hear the bands from that era trying so hard, I also hear they are trying to find a sound that fits with the quality expected from critics and it's not always working: they reclaim success when they go back to what they know best.
More importantly, when you go past Pipes Of Peace, you find a McCartney that is still working to respond to different ideas. "Simple As That" is clearly about drugs, "Not Such A Bad Boy" is about the need to please, "No Values" is about those who make money off celebrities, "Talk More Talk" is about miscommunication/misinterpretation, "Footprints" is about loneliness, "Angry" is about the critics (as a flip side to "Not Such A Bad Boy"), and "Once Upon A Long Ago" is about childhood memories. He's also approached relationships differently, from "No More Lonely Nights" (hatred of separation) to sexual innuendo ("Press") to just plain focus on the concept ("Only Love Remains").
Where the real issue with Press To Play is comes with the fact that he does not know how to move forward: he's clearly trying to capture the energy of what's going on now in music – definitely linked to pop acts of the day – but the illustrations inside show he's still trying to focus on detail. Eric Stewart and Hugh Padgham aren't enough to convince him to shift one way or another… and it takes the failure of the album for him to abandon it all and retrench back into what he knows will work.
That is why the cover sessions make sense in 1987. It also explains why his manager suggests Costello: Costello's one of the few artists who isn't bending his sound to a point he loses his core sound, and it's being recognized by the industry. (Seriously: what on Press To Play sounds like 10cc or The Police?) The 1987 demos clearly demonstrate these are two songwriters with different approaches to songwriting but who can sense in the other and equal enjoyment of the process.
It's not until midway through the sessions in 1988 that Paul feels he is losing his own sound — and recapturing the classic McCartney sound is his ultimate goal based on the previous year. He ends up changing the band into the Lumpy Trousers lineup and adds some more songs in his more classic vein: "Distractions" is pure McCartney, while three older ideas ("We Got Married," "This One" and "Ou Est Le Soleil") are resurrected.
Flowers In The Dirt becomes the ultimate hybrid of the McCartney that was and the McCartney that is, and it is received better than his albums since Tug Of War. With a hugely successful tour, he tries to repeat the sound with Off The Ground — and that is the message throughout the promotion: it's a continuation of the band he had so much enjoyment with. But even having a poet to overlook his lyrics isn't enough to make Off The Ground or its live album, Paul Is Live, achieve the same as before. He jettisons everything once more and retrenches back to The Beatles' way in Flaming Pie, and it's been a waffling between the two systems ever since.
I completely agree, and would go one step further by noting The Beatles are the only band to have all that documentation presented to the public for analysis and understanding.
By contrast, I look at the Eric Clapton recording guides I have and they keep getting re-edited every time PolyGram puts out a reissue with bonus cuts — because the bonus cuts are often completely unknown. Heck, most of the solo data for McCartney we have up to this point comes from Club Sandwich rather than any studio document!
I wish PTP had sounded like 10CC
Not sure I was clear enough.... I'm talking about the recording date of the released version of My Brave Face... There's no exact date, only the month and year, October 1988.
Agreed! One of my favorite Paul records. Would love to see this in deluxe form with Blu-ra/DVD of World Tonight doc, Bishop's Gate interview, and Oprah interview.
Well that's not correct. As those know whose mothers, sisters and wives would buy the women's magazines, what Paul and Linda were doing was photography, promoting vegetarian cooking, protesting against hospital closures, attending village events, running Buddy Holly Weeks, commissioning or developing pieces for Club Sandwich, hanging with Chrissie Hynde and Carla Lane (and appearing in TV episodes). None of this made it across to Rolling Stone and the music papers in the UK weren;t giving him the time of day, in general but he was always in the tabloids oor lifestyle mags when he gave this or that (usually cause-related) 'exclusive' or turned up at this or that event, usually locally to Peasmarsh and was definitely more in contact with 'ordinary people' than ever. He was playing the kind of celebrity that is about causes. He also did observe, himself, that his ordinary life made for ordinary inspirations and that his songs had changed as a result. McCartney doesn't need inspiration. He plucks it from the air. What happens from time to time across a long career is that he's less or more selective or purposed with it. In the 80's, he prioritised raising the kids. It didn't keep him out of the various studios he was building or using and with Linda he was definitely developing their causes which led to a product range (Linda McCartney's) and then to the Greenpeace/PETA/Friends of the Earth support and the Richard Lester film that trailed his post-Flowers tour. From ordinary concerns at home, he found global concern.
I totally agree with you on every point.
I can see that Paul was lacking an angle on FITD for reissue and went with the Costello angle but it's notable that he never particularly played that angle on the original promotion!
I can't remember a single item of promo in 1989 which made much of the Costello presence.
I also must admit I skipped all of the co-written stuff habitually as it just didn't make sense to have McCartney singing a lot of the words.
'My Brave Face' was the weaker of the two Beatlesques on the album because it was trying too hard to be both Beatley and contemporary.
'This One' was McCartney having a go on his own at reclaiming Beatliness (somewhat at Elvis' urging) and it's the superior item as it actually could have been a Beatles song.
My Brave Face should have been looser with more Elvis and that's the better song. This One is okay but the very strange video makes it ruins for me somewhat. I like the Pepperland boot version better. Really hope that the Wings/Macca Box Set happens someday. So much good stuff and likely things we don't know about. I for one think that Paul is holding onto a lot - not to prince level but a lot.
There's another solution as cheap as it gets and just a few minutes away
Finally relented and picked this up from Amazon for 112 of your crisp American dollars which translated to around 187 of our bouncy Australian dollars. Aside from the music, I have to say that the packaging IS lovely. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into it and it shows. From the textured cover (nicely protected with a custom cardboard "sheath") to the books and the "ruff book", I am very pleased that number 1438 in a limited edition of 15 million* made it to my door unscathed.
* This may not be the actual number being made
I guess Paul's free downloads on his web page for this release are done at 2... Oh well. Guess we now can begin holding our breath for word of what's "coming soon" in his Archive Collection.
Hope I am wrong but I wouldn't hold it too long...
I'm a tad leery of the "a lot of people are saying" phrase. Where? Who? I sure haven't been stumbling over such references.
The card in the Flowers in the Dirt (deluxe) box had a picture of all the previous archive album releases, but no "coming soon" announcement on the reverse side this time. My guess is that these box sets are done. But maybe it's just the pessimist in me.
I'm happy to break it down.
Number 1: "I keep hearing repeated lately that Elvis saved Paul's career"
This was the impression I got from the way people described the climate of the album's release back in 89. Their was apparently a sense that Paul drafted Costello to rescue his ailing career. I was arguing that in hindsight the stuff he wrote without Costello was just as good, so this was a silly narrative to perpetuate.
Number 2: "That this songwriting collaboration is the only great thing that's Paul has done since Tug of War (!)"
Admittedly I only heard one person say this, that podcast host that I mentioned. However when he said this none of the other 3 people on the show with him (including Mark Lewishon!) disputed him. So I took that as a sign that his view was at least mildly popular among the wider fanbase.
Number 3: "Or that the albumshould have just been the Paul/Elvis songs"
I got this impression from the numerous Alternative Flowers track listings that a lot of members here posted which minimized or got rid of much of the Paul's great solo written material while including every last Mc/Mac co-write.
As for the last one, my complete sentence was:
"I think clearly they had amazing chemistry and were getting off to a cracking good start, but their collaboration ended way too soon and produced too few songs to be as big as a lot of people are saying it is."
Here I'm not really calling out anyone's specific opinion, just that in my opinion the collaboration is a held in a bit larger regard than its actual real-life scope.
Okay, got it. Tug of War was '82, so a space of 7 years and a few albums. I misunderstood, thinking you were speaking of the here and now.
Separate names with a comma.