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POLL: How do you rate Paul McCartney/Wings "London Town" album?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mrjinks, Dec 9, 2014.

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  1. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged Thread Starter

    Boise, ID.
    Time to evaluate another McCartney album. Round Sixteen (!) in an ongoing series, spread out a couple weeks between albums (to show a modicum of mercy to those sick of Beatle-related threads).

    The ground rules: this poll, like the others, is designed for people familiar with the album in question and with at least some familiarity with some of his other post-Beatle catalog (for comparison purposes). If the poll doesn't interest you, please kindly move on to a thread that does. I intentionally don't name "comparison albums" on the best-to-worst scale, as some may think a particular album of his is awesome, while others have a completely different take on the same album. Just consider how YOU would rate it in comparison with his other post-Beatles work.

    If you've missed a previous poll, feel free to vote below. Here's a recap of how the others have rated so far:
    The "New" poll. 371 votes, with an average rating of 3.64 (edging slightly towards "solid effort").
    The "Back To The Egg" poll. 297 votes, with an identical (!) average rating of 3.64.
    The "Wild Life" poll. 360 votes, with an average rating of 2.92 (just below "not bad").
    The "Driving Rain" poll. 288 votes, with an average rating of 2.78.
    The "Flowers in the Dirt" poll. 309 votes, with an average rating of 3.73.
    The "Flaming Pie" poll. 324 votes, with a very favorable average rating of 4.13.
    The "McCartney II" poll. 257 votes, with an average ratingof 3.11.
    The "Red Rose Speedway" poll. 290 votes, with an average rating of 3.34.
    The "Memory Almost Full" poll. 214 votes, with an average rating of 3.37.
    The "Pipes of Peace" poll. 224 votes, with the lowest average rating to date of 2.48.
    The "Band on the Run" poll. 388 votes, with the highest average rating of 4.64 (!!).
    The "Give My Regards to Broad Street" poll. 207 votes, with an average rating of 2.57.
    The "McCartney" poll. 314 votes, with an average rating of 4.01.
    The "At The Speed Of Sound" poll. 311 votes, with an average rating of 3.13.
    The "CHOBA B CCCP" poll. 151 votes, with an average rating of 3.01.

    Thanks to all those who continue to take place in the voting!
    theMess likes this.
  2. Fred68

    Fred68 Loves Music

    One of my favorite McCartney albums. I prefer his low-key stuff (McCartney, Wild Life, Red Rose Speedway, London Town, and Chaos).
    theMess likes this.
  3. DavidFell

    DavidFell Forum Resident

    I have quite a bit of fun listening to this one. Famous Groupies is pretty funny, I've Had Enough rollicks, and I think of Morse Moose every time I'm at my local transit stop, Morse.
    OneStepBeyond, dartira and theMess like this.
  4. Daniel Plainview

    Daniel Plainview God's Lonely Man

    Lower tier. Cafe, Luck, and Carrying the only songs I give a hoot about. Well, maybe Morse Moose when Im in a wrong state of mind.
    jon9091 likes this.
  5. Obvious throw always on this including the two Denny Laine stuff he sand lead on. Still, Cafe On The Left Bank, London Town, I've Had Enough, Don't Let It Bring You Down. I like the structure of Morse Moose and the music is interesting but the lyrics are complete nonsense. If he had included Girl's School on the original album rather than Children Children I think he might have had a stronger album.
    jon9091 likes this.
  6. Yankee8156

    Yankee8156 Forum Resident

    New York
    Not bad. Enough decent stuff to keep it from the lower tier, but definitely in the lower tier of his '70s work.

    Backwards Traveller is one of my favorite little bits from his albums. The title track is good, as is With a Little Luck and Morse Moose. There's nothing really bad, just some stuff that's sort of boring.
  7. egebamyasi

    egebamyasi Forum Resident

    Worcester, MA
    I had it when it came out but haven't listened to it in 30 years. I would like to hear it again now that I know it was recorded on a boat.
    theMess likes this.
  8. drbryant

    drbryant Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    This may be my least favorite McCartney album. It's fluffy and poppy and completely unmemorable. If pushed, I would say that it is listenable, and some of the fragments (Backwards Traveler for one) sound good, but it's all so deliberately lightweight that it was almost embarrassing when compared with Darkness, This Year's Model, Running on Empty, Some Girls, The Cars, Parallel Lines, Aja, More Songs, Living in the USA, Excitable Boy, etc., etc. 1978 was a great year.
    Carlox and duggan like this.
  9. Mechanical Man

    Mechanical Man Cease to Exist

    Oakland, CA, USA
    "Cafe on the Left Bank" and "Don't Let It Bring You Down" are first rate. The rest, not so much. (I admit to having a soft spot for "With a Little Luck" and "Girlfriend", though.)
  10. GV1967

    GV1967 Forum Resident

    Northeastern US
    One of my favorite McCartney albums. Not a bad track on it.
  11. Love LT. One of my most listened to Wings album
  12. Scott S.

    Scott S. reluctant social media icon

    Walmartville PA
    It was a disappointment but I like Cafe on the Left Bank.
  13. zen

    zen Senior Member

    The album really clicked with me in '78. Great vibe.
    OneStepBeyond and theMess like this.
  14. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Kent, UK
    This album grows on me every time I listen to it; I enjoy it more and more every time. I have thus rated it 'Clearly one of his best', because IMO even the songs that could be considered 'filler' by some are enjoyable when I am in the right mood for them.

    As others have said here before, the album has a wonderful folk-rock feel to it, with a heavy use of acoustic guitars, and songwriting to match.

    I also enjoy the experiments with synths, especially on the great single 'With A Little Luck', which has a wonderful ambient feel and great, catchy melody. It may be lightweight to some, but the synths are an added detail which really help the song in my mind, and I personally think that the song points ahead to the pop music sounds of the 80's, and it was a deserved hit.

    Like the BOTR album, I feel that London Town benefits because it was mainly recorded by the key Wings trio of Paul, Linda and Denny. Although it was a shame that English and McCulloch left, it did push the remaining three into recording and releasing a different kind of album, after the 'arena rock' albums that were Venus and Mars and Speed Of Sound. I am a big fan of both of those albums, but I am glad that London Town is so different to them, because otherwise Wings could have fallen into a bit of a rut.

    One of my favourite songs on the album is the wonderful title track. Yesterday, on another thread, I said: ''I have always felt that the lyrics about meeting 'ordinary people' were especially poignant; to me they seem to describe how cut-off Paul was from normal interaction with other human beings because of his world wide fame, which he had already lived with for over a decade when London Town was released.'' I think that this song perfectly describes one of the negative aspects of fame, and I think that it is a very meaningful and beautiful song, one of Wings most underrated.

    I fully agree with George Harrison that 'I'm Carrying' is a wonderful song; I see it as one of Paul's finest ever ballads, a delicate song with a beautiful melody and fantastic lyrics that were quite different for Paul. This is another song that I wish was more well known and appreciated.

    I am very impressed with the McCartney/Laine songs, Children Children and Deliver Your Children, both of which contribute to the folk feel of the album, and both of which have very strong melodies.

    Cafe On The Left Bank is another strong song, one where the lyrics and music successfully conjure up the image described in the song title. I love the laid back feel of the song, and the interesting production choices.

    Although I feel that Michael Jackson's version of Girlfriend may seem more natural, I am very fond of the version on London Town because it shows off how adaptable Paul is, and how strong his falsetto was. The song was written with a group like the Jacksons in mind, but Wings successfully managed to record a very good version; I like the description of the song that I saw yesterday, where it was described as 'blue-eyed soul'.

    Don't Let It Bring You Down is arguably my favourite song on the album and one of may all time favourite McCartney songs. Alongside Wanderlust, this is a song that I wish had been a big hit. Like 'I'm Carrying', it is a wonderful ballad with a fantastic melody, and it is one of Paul's finest excursions into the folk-rock genre.

    I have seen Name And Address get criticised in the past, but I cannot understand why; I think that it was a great 50's throwback rock'n'roll song, and I can imagine someone like Elvis doing a great cover of it. I wish that Paul had sung it live at some point.

    The two songs that I have to be in the mood for are the completely unique and very interesting Morse Moose and Grey Goose, and the humorous Famous Groupies, a song with a wonderful melody, but which I sometimes wish was more serious. Still, the humour aspect does not ruin the song for me, and I still get won over by how catchy it is.

    The areas of the album that could be improved IMO include Backwards Traveller, which is a very good song, but one that should have been longer (like the demo, which is on Youtube) and Cuff Link, which is inoffensive but nothing especially interesting. I do enjoy the catchy I've Had Enough, but feel that it would have been better if Paul had held it back and recorded it for the BTTE album, where he could have recorded it in a more 'rocking' way.

    I also agree with others that the rocking Girl's School and the beautiful Mull Of Kintyre should have been on the album. The addition of Mull would have given the album a second giant hit in the UK, helping the albums sales, and it would suit the folky feel of much of the album.

    Finally, my playlist version of the album replaces Cuff Link with the catchy Waterspout and the beautiful Sea Melody, both of which deserved to be on the album IMO.

    Overall, I really enjoy the album and I am glad that Wings made another 3-man band album, after the previous success of BOTR. I think that it is a shame that the synth-folk sound that Wings developed on this album was abandoned after it was released; it would have been interesting to see how it would have developed and whether Paul would have written more wonderful folk ballads and more ambient/synth hits like With A Little Luck.

    Still, I am glad that we have London Town, and I hope that we get an archive edition with demo versions and songs like Waterspout.
  15. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    "Not bad - some good/great tracks, but plenty of the usual throwaways"

    This was the first studio McCartney album I owned, and I loved it as a kid. Still like it, but it's probably not in my top 10 anymore...
  16. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Kent, UK
    Thanks for keeping these threads going; I really enjoy them, and I look forward to seeing how all the albums will stack up against each other at the end.

    There have already been a few surprises for me; I am pleasantly surprised at how well Flaming Pie has done, and I am also pleased to see both McCartney and McCartney 2 also do well, but I am shocked that Pipes Of Peace has been rated as worse than even Broadstreet. I did not expect that.
    mrjinks likes this.
  17. autodidact

    autodidact Forum Resident

    It's not bad. I really like the title track. It's generally listenable though I cannot stand the last track. To me it's a bit melancholy in a way I can't quite put my finger on. Silver rain was falling down upon the dirty ground of London Town -- this sort of sets up the mood for the whole record. Not quite as depressing as "hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way..." but it doesn't sound that cheery either.
  18. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly 1964-73 rock's best decade

    I really liked LONDON TOWN a lot when it came out. It was one of the first Beatles solo albums I bought right when it was released. Later I kind of soured on it and considered it fairly average. But upon going back through all Paul's albums a few years back I rediscovered LONDON TOWN and now rate it fairly high. Not in the "elite" category of BAND ON THE RUN, RAM, TUG OF WAR, or FLAMING PIE, but it makes the next tier of McCartney albums (MCCARTNEY, VENUS AND MARS, FLOWERS IN THE DIRT, MEMORY ALMOST FULL). One thing I really like about LONDON TOWN is that there are a lot of songs. Good variety and no really weak tracks.
    theMess likes this.
  19. bluesbro

    bluesbro Forum Hall of Shame

    Lower tie, really low
  20. Brian Frank

    Brian Frank Forum Resident

    Amarillo, Texas
    I still like "I've Had Enough" and "Name and Address" a lot. And I agree with others - adding "Girls School" and "Mull of Kintyre" would have made it a stronger album. Have to keep the copy of Wings Greatest just to have MOK.
    theMess likes this.
  21. ccbarr

    ccbarr Forum Resident

    Iowa, USA
    I really like this album. It is low key, but there is a lot of variety on the album. No one track really sounds like the other, and I do like the 2 Denny songs. I have an old 2GB Sony Walkman mp3 player (my first one) that I still use quite a bit because it has such great sound, and if I make a playlist of my favorite McCartney/Wings albums London Town is always on the list, and the player only holds about 200 songs at 320 kbps mp3 files so I have to choose carefully.

    For me LT is in the rung just below BOTR, V&M and Ram. I really like the Paul McCartney Collection CD which adds "Girls School" and "Mull Of Kintyre". they really fit on the album. For me London Town is an album where I don't skip a single track.
    theMess likes this.
  22. ralph7109

    ralph7109 Forum Resident

    Franklin, TN
    With a Little Luck - the long version only please - is top shelf McCartney.

    The title track and Girlfriend - not a fan.

    Three great, a few decent and some not so much

    Three great? Oh yeah - I added Mull of Kintyre and Girls School to my London Town so it gets a bump - plus I never have to wonder what if.
  23. ShawnX

    ShawnX Forum Resident

    Detroit, Michigan
    I'm Carrying...:)

    Always loved the mood of this gem. I'm not a huge macca fan but this is a fine example of an amazing songwriter.
    Folknik and theMess like this.
  24. ccbarr

    ccbarr Forum Resident

    Iowa, USA
    Thiis is a great review, basically sums up my feelings for the album. I too think "Name And Address" is great, didn't Paul write that with Elvis in mind? I can't remember if it was a tribute since Elvis had just died or if he wrote it thinking it was a song Elvis could cover, as it was his style of song.
    theMess likes this.
  25. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Kent, UK
    I think that it was definitely written with Elvis in mind, although I don't know whether he ever offered it to him before he died.
    ccbarr likes this.
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