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BAND ON THE RUN: SPECIAL EDITION (PAUL MCCARTNEY AND WINGS)

 

THE PLOT THUS FAR

Band on the Run should have been a disaster. Two of Wings’ original members quit in a huff just before its production. The whimsical decision to record in Lagos, Nigeria, became a nightmare when McCartney and company found themselves in a decaying studio, then had many of the project’s demos stolen by armed bandits. Despite these hardships–perhaps because of them–Band on the Run remains the most focused and consistently satisfying record of McCartney’s wildly uneven post-Beatles career.

TRACK LIST

1. Band on the Run (2010 Remaster)
2. Jet (2010 Remaster)
3. Bluebird (2010 Remaster)
4. Mrs Vandebilt (2010 Remaster)
5. Let Me Roll It (2010 Remaster)
6. Mamunia (2010 Remaster)
7. No Words (2010 Remaster)
8. Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me) (2010 Remaster)
9. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five (2010 Remaster)

CD2
1. Helen Wheels (2010 Remaster)
2. Country Dreamer (2010 Remaster)
3. Bluebird [from One Hand Clapping”> (2010 Remaster)
4. Jet [from One Hand Clapping”> (2010 Remaster)
5. Let Me Roll It [from One Hand Clapping”> (2010 Remaster)
6. Band on the Run [from One Hand Clapping”> (2010 Remaster)
7. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five [from One Hand Clapping”> (2010 Remaster)
8. Country Dreamer [from One Hand Clapping”> (2010 Remaster)
9. Zoo Gang (2010 Remaster)

DVD
Musical Videos:
1. Band on the Run (05:10)
2. Mamunia (04:52)
3. Album Promo (07:42)
Featuring Band on the Run, Mrs Vandebilt, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five, Bluebird
4. Helen Wheels (03:39)
5. Wings In Lagos (03:01): Edit of mute black and white footage of a day out in Lagos during the recording sessions with a soundbed based on an alternative version of “Band on the Run”
6. Osterley Park (15:20): Edit of behind the scenes footage at the album cover photoshoot
featuring all participants
7. One Hand Clapping (51:49)
Documentary program originally made for TV featuring studio performances filmed & recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London, August 1974.  Directed by David Litchfield
7.1. One Hand Clapping Theme
7.2. Jet
7.3. Soily
7.4. C Moon
7.5. Little Woman Love
7.6. Maybe I’m Amazed
7.7. My Love
7.8. Bluebird
7.9. Let’s Love
7.10. All Of You
7.11. I’ll Give You A Ring
7.12. Band on the Run
7.13. Live and Let Die
7.14. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five
7.15. Baby Face

 

WHAT WE THOUGHT

“Band On The Run” is largely regarded as Paul McCartney’s best post-Beatles album. Although I’m not sure that I can agree with that wholeheartedly, I do concur that it is certainly one of his best, each track being melodic, memorable and amongst his very finest compositions from every stage of his career. With Wings guitarist Henry McCulloch quitting the band a few weeks before they were due to fly out to and drummer Denny Seiwell quitting literally the day before, the album was recorded in Lagos, Nigeria in September/October 1973 by the trio of Paul, Linda and Denny Laine, with Paul undertaking drumming duties.

The introduction shifts into a more hard rock riff, as Macca contemplates escape. Another shift takes us to a brass transition into the famous title track. The second track is the hit single ‘Jet’ with its memorable (and often plagiarised) brass riff. Lyrically, the track is typical Macca nonsense but this is surely the intention and the track seems to more represent that fact that Macca is a league above most when it comes to the art of rock song writing. ‘Bluebird’, in contrast is a very mellow acoustic love song (with an extended use of percussion). The lyric is very corny, but again probably intentionally, and the display of Macca’s mastery of harmony is what makes the track stand out. We are taken through a variety of sounds from the rock-folky ‘Mrs. Vandebilt’ (with its bizarre but addictive “Ho! Hey-Ho!” chant), to more raw/hard rock (‘Let Me Roll It’) to ‘Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me)’ with its French folk style.

The Special Edition CD is a two disc affair loaded with a bonus CD and DVD. The DVD is a feature-rich set that delivers four videos that include “Band On the Run”, “Mamunia”, “Helen Wheels”, and an extended album promo film.  The videos, aside from the familiar “Helen Wheels”, and the album promo, were thrown together, slightly unimaginative inclusions. Lennon’s stunning “Plastic Ono Band” is better artistically but rather than simply raising questions and provoking thoughts its harsh vindictiveness leaves you emotionally reeling: an album that repels rather than engages. With BOTR Paul manages somehow to pick up where he left off on “Abbey Road”. The sad part is he hasn’t returned to it since. He has written other great songs before and since but in terms of an overall album, none of his other post-Beatles work is even half as good. When BOTR was initially released it seemed McCartney finally had risen back to the level of his ability. Based on the quality of his work since then however, BOTR now appears more like an example of him rising above it. But give credit where it’s due: BOTR is a great piece of work. On it, for the one and only time in his post-Beatles career, Paul engages through the full course of an album without the gloppy sentimentality he has otherwise burdened himself with. Great guitar work. Fabulous singing (by Paul). Great melodic lines.

The CD is a loaded affair, but I would’ve loved to have heard the represed Vinyl release that also arrived on stores shelves this week. While Wings would grow softer, as the years wore on…this was a great solo offering from McCartney and friends. It wasn’t as poppy as Ringo, serious as John or complex as George. But, this CD lasted through the ages and it demands to be jammed in your ears. If you do anything this week, make sure to vote. After voting, pick up this CD. Everyone loves “Jet”.

RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!

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