Paul McCartney - Choba B CCCP
One of the most unique of all McCartney albums, Choba B CCCP, which in English translates to Back in the USSR, was initially released only in Russia in 1988, before the dissolution of the USSR and the fall of the Iron Curtain. Here though McCartney delves into history of a more personal nature by presenting a set of cover versions of songs that have influenced his work. To be clear, the album was not recorded in Russia; the sessions went down over the course of two days in July of 1987 at McCartney's studio in England where he was backed by guitarist Mick Green, pianist Mick Gallagher, bass man Nick Garvey and drummers Chris Whitten and Henry Spinetti. The players are swinging as Macca leads them through a set of oldies that include "Kansas City," "Twenty Flight Rock" and "Lawdy, Miss Clawdy." True to the format of their day these songs are all short and nothing here tops the four-minute mark as McCartney stays true to each song's original arrangement. Of course a little Elvis creeps into Paul's vocals on "That's All Right Right, Mama" and the rockabilly romp "Just Because." Fans can take in a rare occasion on a take on Bo Diddley's "Crackin' Up" where McCartney puts down his bass and plays guitar. An included insert features the liner notes as written for the original release.
Paul McCartney - Paul is Live
This album had a little fun with the infamous "Paul is dead" hoax, firstly with the double meaning of the album title Paul is Live and again with the graphic used for the cover photo. Part of the "evidence" for the hoax that Paul was dead was the fact that he's pictured barefoot in the crosswalk on the Beatles Abbey Road album while the rest of the band are fully shod; for Paul is Live McCartney's back in the same crosswalk, not only wearing shoes but being pulled along by a dog he's walking. Recorded in a handful of cities during the 1993 tour for the Off the Ground release, as you would expect numerous songs from that album are performed including "Peace in the Neighbourhood," "C'mon People," "Hope of Deliverance" and Paul's vegetarian anthem "Looking for Changes." Lots of Beatles goodies are performed, "Penny Lane," "Drive My Car," "Paperback Writer," "Magical Mystery Tour" and "We Can Work it Out" among them. A few Wings hits make the set list too, notably "Let Me Roll It," "My Love" and "Live and Let Die. Several cuts here were only performed for sound check, including a funk-ified take on "I Wanna Be Your Man," the completely improvised and very hooky "Hotel in Benidorm" and another improvised cut called "A Fine Day" that stretches to over six minutes. Paul's backup band here is Linda McCartney, Hamish Stuart, Robbie McIntosh, Wix Wickens and Blair Cunningham. This 2-LP set is packaged in a deluxe gatefold jacket.
Paul McCartney - Amoeba Gig
As previously mentioned, this record reflects the first time that Paul's entire 2007 concert from Amoeba Records in Hollywood has been released to the general public. After rocking through "Drive My Car" and "Only Mama Knows" McCartney speaks to the crowd for the first time, saying "Welcome to Amoeba. This has got to be the most surreal gig ever" and adding that "management has requested no shoplifting please." The bouncy reggae of "C Moon" comes early in the set as do Beatles favorites "The Long and Winding Road" and "I'll Follow the Sun" which with McCartney teases the crowd by adding a couple of false endings to the cut. Working with a four-piece backup band, McCartney sounds great on the rowdier numbers like the rockabilly-informed "That Was Me," the classic "Back in the USSR," "Get Back" and the chestnut "I Saw Her Standing There," but the crowd also goes wild for the mellow cuts like "Hey Jude," "Let it Be" and "Blackbird." As live albums go, this one is a very fine listen, well-sequenced and of course perfectly performed. "Coming Up," performed as the sound check for the show, is also included. This 2-LP set is packaged in a non-gatefold jacket.
Wings - Wings over America
This 3-LP live set captures Wings at the high point of their career and is historic for several reasons; it was McCartney's first U.S. tour since the Beatles broke up, it was the only North American tour that Wings ever did, and the album went to #1 on the charts, a rarity for a triple live album. And all the slick pop rock you could ever want is here: "Band on the Run," "Listen to what the Man Said," "Live and Let Die," "Venus and Mars" combined with "Rock Show" and "Jet," "My Love," "Silly Love Songs," "Let 'em In," "Beware My Love" and more. Beatles favorites "Blackbird," "Lady Madonna," "Maybe I'm Amazed," "I've Just Seen a Face" and "Yesterday" are here along with a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "Richard Cory" and a take on the Moody Blues oldie "Go Now" in honor of the fact that Moodies founding member Denny Laine was at the time a member of Wings. Packaged in a gatefold jacket, this set also includes a double-sided poster.
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