Paul McCartney reissue review: McCartney

During the messy and all too public breakup of The Beatles, Paul McCartney took his first tentative steps into the world of a solo recording artist. The result was a rustic sounding album with a very homemade feel, simply entitled McCartney.

Using a four track recorder to record on, Paul is the only person to appear on the whole album with the exception of his wife Linda, who contributed with harmony vocals on several songs. McCartney was issued in April of 1970-a month before The Beatles final album Let It Be. The album also came with an interview with Paul in which he confirmed that The Beatles were in fact going their separate ways, at least for the time being.

While both George Harrison and Ringo Starr both (cautiously) praised McCartney, a bitter John Lennon was the first to attack the album, saying he was ‘surprised at the lack of quality’. While McCartney has several fully formed songs on it, there is also a large amount of the album that is just instrumental. At first many agreed with Lennon and didn’t give the album a fair shake of the stick, however in subsequent years people recognised its musical merit and it started to receive a warmer reception.

The album opens with the simple ditty The Lovely Linda. At less than a minute in length, the song was recorded in Paul’s living room in his London home, and at one point you can even hearing the door loudly squeak as Linda enters the room.

Next, That Would Be Something is carried along by its strong finger picked guitar riff. While the song goes round in circles it has enough interesting bits and pieces throughout to keep you interested.

An acoustic guitar based jam, Valentine Day allows Paul to just show off his talents on the many instruments he is able to play. It’s short and to the point with an enthusiastic, slapdash and off the cuff guitar solo running the length of the track.

The first proper fully formed song of the album, Every Night tells of both Paul’s sadness over the breakup of his former band as well as the love he has for his new wife Linda. In a pretty upbeat way, the song shows how insecure Paul was at that time.

Hot as Sun / Glasses is another instrumental. Played on acoustic guitar the song has a nice light feel to it, and fades out to glasses held filled with water being played which in stark contrast creates an eerie drone. Towards the end of the song there is a short snippet of a McCartney outtake called Suicide.

Originally written during The Beatles trip to India in 1968, Junk is a sad, soft song. The quietly reflective song shows off Paul’s obvious penchant for writing gorgeous melodies. The wistful lead vocal is emphasised by Linda’s first appearance on the album singing a harmony vocal.

Another of the more fully formed songs on the album, Man We Was Lonely describes how Paul was feeling increasingly alienated after The Beatles split. The harmony, sound, structure and general feel gave a tantalising hint of the albums to follow.

An experiment in open form, the rocking Oo You is next. The song has a catchy riff and one of the most powerful vocals on the album. While it never quite progresses anywhere, this straightforward rock jam has the energy to get by.

Another completely instrumental track, Momma Miss America has a killer bass riff and drum pattern. The first half of the track bounces along and the second half is accompanied by another long, wild guitar solo. Interestingly before the music begins the song is introduced by its original name: Rock and Roll Summertime.

The next song refers to the 50’s subculture. Teddy Boy is a great song originally rehearsed with The Beatles for inclusion on the Abbey Road album, however the band (not having much time for one another) quickly dismissed it. The song has some nice changes between major and minor throughout as well as several key changes.

A reprise of the earlier song, Singalong Junk is the same basic track only minus vocal. It has an additional piano and guitar parts playing the melody as well as a mellotron on the ‘strings’ setting playing a pad to fill the instrumental version out a little bit more.

The pinnacle of the album Maybe I’m Amazed is one of Pauls most powerful and endeared love songs. Part ballad part rocker, it is an unabashed proclamation of his love for Linda. Starting out quiet with just the vocal and the piano the song builds up to an operatic crescendo over which Paul gives one of the strongest vocal performances in his entire career.

To bring the album to a close, Kreen-Akrore is basically drums over which various instruments are sporadically played. The gaps are filled with an assortment of noises and half of the track is accompanied by a heavy breathing sound. This cuts out to a harmonised electric guitar based instrumental tune that rounds the album off. The song isn’t the most obvious of tracks to choose to close the album, however in the context of the experimental McCartney it works.

Receiving the deluxe treatment, the album has been remastered and polished to a near perfect finished. The album is being released in four forms:

1 CD (album only)

2 CD (album and bonus disc)

2 CD/1 DVD and book (album, bonus discs and DVD)

2 vinly / digital download (album and bonus disc)

First wave of reissues:
Band on the Run
Second wave of reissues:
McCartney, McCartney II, Driving Rain, Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard, Run Devil Run

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