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Paul Mccartney: Back In The Us [DVD]
Paul Mccartney: Back In The Us [DVD]
Dvd ~ Paul McCartney
Offered by qualityfilmsfromuk
Price: £9.09

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good But....., 20 Feb. 2005
I was at the Budapest concert of this tour and was suitably blown away. Having just watched this DVD I have the following comments. It would definitely have been preferable to have at least had the option of playing the concert all the way through without any commentary. Enjoyable though this was DVD was on first listen, the interludes of back stage detail will surely become annoying after a few viewings and that is why I have not given this DVD a 5 star rating. Because the concert itself was supremely brilliant but us fans would actually like to have an Uninterrupted Concert if we are expected to watch it repeatedly. The explanation of how the Live And Let Die fireworks actually work is indeed quite interesting on first listen. But no one invests is 5,1 Surround Sound to hear such trivia. They do so for the possibility of listening to a concert of their favourite artist with the ultimate sound quality available in 2005. Too many songs here were truncated due to the documentary material. And several songs from this tour were missing altogether. Most noticeably 'Let 'Em In' and 'Calico Skies'. I have very few grudges against Paul, but one has been his continual inclination to include tracks which 'he imagines fans would want to hear'. To the exclusion of all others. Has it never occured to him that the real fans of his would actually quite like to hear 'Girls School' or 'Daytme Nightime Sufferring' or 'I'm Carrying' or the Red Rose Speedway Side 2 Medley???? He is the complete opposite of Bob Dylan who varies his set list every night and plays precisely what the **** he wants. With Paul, if it wasn't a top 5 single or from his latest record, he is incredibly unlikely to play it. Why???? Because he is afraid of getting booed off stage?? I don't want to come across as negative as this was a Mighty Fine Concert, it just would have been nice if he had had a bit more faith in his lesser known numbers, many of which are absloute classics of the McCartney canon.
If it was up to me we would ditch from this concert the following: 'Hello Goodbye' , it may have been a Beatles No 1 Single but even the original is pretty uninspired, by McCartney's standards anyway, and this version is Much Worse. 'Eleanor Rigby'....for some strange reason, this song has NEVER shown its true potential in any context other than on the original 'Revolver' album or in the 'Yellow Submarine' film of a couple of years later. The Broad Street McCartney version of 1984 is thoroughly pointless, and this version similarly so. Some songs best left alone. This may seem harsh but there are some songs which are better left untouched. 'Jet' would be ditched too I'm afraid. It works OK on the 'Band On The Run' album and on the 'Wings Over America' tour but this song does not benefit from repeated live renditions in my opinion.
Having said that, there are plenty of songs here which are not only performed in a spectacular fashion which not retain the original's magic but also add something too. 'Maybe I'm Amazed' for example. The tributes to Lennon and harrison are highlights: 'Here Today' is beautiful, and Paul's version of 'Something' is an incredibly touching moment. 'My Love' , his song for Linda, is a gorgeous moment, and most noticeably 'Band On The Run' benefits from this Fantastic Band. The new songs are superb although for some reason not included on this DVD...even the only song featured here, the classic 'Loving Flame' suffers from annoying commentary about why the song was written. Can we not save such stuff for a book?
But the same mistake was made with the video of the (superb) 'Flowers In The Dirt' tour. And the same goes for the 'Off The Ground' tour video. These concerts were great at the time but we return to the video version less often than we might due to the inclusion of Non Essential crowd footage which more annoys than anything else. I actually liked some of the personal fan reaction we saw on this video but why turn it into a Documentary?? What fans want to see is the Entire Concert. From Start To Finish. Or AT LEAST HAVE THE OPTION . This is why 'Rockshow' the film of 'Wings' 1976 concert from Seattle, remains the best visual record of a McCartney/Wings Live Concert out there. And that is why it is scandalous that this concert has not been released on DVD. For Two Reasons. Firstly, it is a Complete Concert and secondly because it saw Wings in 1976 at the height of their powers as a commercial and artistic force, regardless of the Bealtes' past glories. It was in fact a Glorious Mixture of the two.
Remeniscent, tear jerking Greatist Hits concert performances have their place of course. But that Seattle show of 1976 remains the ultimate McCartney concert. Until this is re-released on DVD, at least This Fan will be disappointed. Everything else pales in my opinion.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 30, 2008 2:36 PM BST


Simon And Garfunkel: Old Friends Live On Stage [DVD] [2004]
Simon And Garfunkel: Old Friends Live On Stage [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Simon & Garfunkel
Price: £5.65

60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional, 15 Feb. 2005
I wasn't sure if this concert could add too much to the epic Concert In Central Park in 1982 but I was wrong. This is release is almost more important in a way, mainly because of the obvious and total reconciliation of these two great artists. They have spent a good chunk of the 30 odd years since their split in 1970 squabbling over artistic differences but here it is really warming to see and hear them acknowledging eachother and the contributions that both of them made towards this sublime back catalogue of songs. In some ways it is almost a soundtrack to an era and though I am too young to remember them first time around I found myself getting pretty emotional throughought this wonderful concert. For sure there is some overlap with the Central Park concert (how could there not be?) but there are also many inspired original choices of material, most notably their only 1970s collaboration "My Little Town" from 1975, a memorable Cathy's Song sung by Garfunkel and an inspired guest spot from The Everly Brothers. When the two brothers team up with Simon and Garfunkel on "Bye Bye Love" you have the Four Kings Of Harmony all together. I wish this tour had come to Hungary but having this DVD makes up for that. And some. Once you get over the fact that these guys are and look 20 years older than they did in 1982, which I did after about 2 minutes, then you are in for a real treat. Few people have written so many moving songs about life's experience than Paul Simon and here they are performed without exception to perfection. It is great to hear Garfunkel introduce "American Tune" by saying he wished he could have got his hands on this song before they split! And similarly when Simon says he thought "Slip Sliding Away" would have made a great S&G sing when he wrote it. Gone is the resentment and any bad feeling about Garfunkel stealing the glory on some of the songs that Simon wrote. Here Simon is most generous to his partner and it makes this DVD a real joy to watch. And then there's the songs of course. "America" is as ever spell binding as is "Mrs Robinson" to name but two, "Scarborough Fair" is breathtaking and I was particularly pleased to see so much material from their seminal swansong album, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (1970), no less than 8 songs! Makes you wish they had gone the whole hog and done "So Long Frank Lloyd Wright" and "Song For the Asking" as well!! Call me silly but I had never realised that "The Only Living Boy In New York" was written about Garfunkel when he took off to make to Mexico to make his film "Catch 22". It was already a great song, now it is even more special. There are great shots of people in the crowd who obviously knew these songs backwards. As we all do. Make no mistake, this concert is magic, pretty much undiluted. Thank You.


Time
Time
Price: £3.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mighty Fine Album, 15 Feb. 2005
This review is from: Time (Audio CD)
This is the last truly great ELO album. And the best moments are about as sublime as anything they ever did. And the funny thing is....this album starts off pretty slowly, the first two songs are pleasant but somewhat unremarkable upbeat numbers...judging it must be remenbered by the high standard they had set on the previous three albums..."Twilight" is a good rocker but not exactly vintage when compared to similar style numbers such as "Turn To Stone" from 'Out Of The Blue' or "Tightrope" from 'New World Record', and the second song "Yours Truly 2095" is actually rather forgettable. But from here any remote sign of mediocity disappears. "Ticket To The Moon" at once reminds the listener that Mr Lynne is indeed still at the top of his game. "Is This The Way Life's Meant To Be" follows and is a bona fide classic ELO rocker, complete in this case with hypnotic guitar solo and backing vocals recorded somewhere in some golden corner of heaven where ELO records gloriously dominate proceedings. The instrumental "Another Heart Breaks" brings us down at least to the planet we inhabit, captivating and marvellous though it is. Then we have "Rain Is Falling" which shows Lynnne's melodic inspiration at its effortless best. The rest of the album hardly ever lets up: "Here Is The News" is hard funking magic, "From the End Of The World" is filler but about as high class as filler can get. "The Lights Go Down" is simply wonderful and among the songs that ELO recorded in this oevre (Above The Clouds, Confusion) it is up there if not superior. But the real highlight is still to come! "21st Century Man" is a ballad to rank alongside Anyone's let alone ELO's ("Big Wheels" (1978), "Telephone Line", "Shrangri La" (both from 1976) or "Midnight Blue" (1979)). It is That Good. "Hold Me Tight" is a catchy and Perfect Single and if anything the ending Reprise to the album is an anti climax in its attempt to make this some sort of Concept Album. But enough Quality is here to warrant its Triumphant 5 Star Rating from me. There were flashes of brilliance to follow, most noticeably of course on the wonderful "Zoom" album of 2001, which unfortunately only featured Lynne and Tandy (keyboards) from the original line-up. Not that that mattered too much.
But here we have the last classic album recorded by ELO at their peak. It seems to have rather got lost in the mix when compared to "New World Record" and "Out Of The Blue" but I reckon this album displays as much genius in melody and inspirational arrangement as Any ELO Album. It is a truly remarkable album by my standards. And if I get a chance to write A History Book, I would certainly include it. I wonder what 23rd Century Man will make of it. I hope he will simply say "Is This The Way Life's Meant To Be"?! That would be enough for me. The Rain Is Falling.


When The Eagle Flies
When The Eagle Flies
Price: £7.78

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Traffic's Swansong, 15 Feb. 2005
This review is from: When The Eagle Flies (Audio CD)
I feel bad writing this review only after hearing of the tragic death of Jim Capaldi last Friday. He wrote the lyrics and played the drums on this final album of Traffic's of course. Rolling Stone at the time said that this album was fine musically but marred by some over ambitious Capaldi lyrics. What absolute bollocks. This has been my favourite Traffic album for a very long time and Jim's contributions are not an insignificant part of that.
The opening song 'Something New' is a great release, and sets the tone for this album. A great uplifting album as thought-provoking as anything Traffic ever produced and when combined with Winwood's effortless melodies on this set, it is truly a rewarding experience for any listener interested in this band. Or decent music for that matter.
'Dream Gerrard' with its spooky lyric courtesy of Viv Stanshall is a haunting piece if ever there was one. 'Graveyard People' is similarly inspired. If a little depressing! But musically the band is on song here. Big time. Only Winwood can convey as much spirit and moodiness with the keyboards!
Side 2 (of the original vinyl album) begins with 'Walking In The Wind' which is most noteable for its haunting melody (Winwood), lyrics (Capaldi) and bass line (Rosko Gee!). Goes on a tad too long but hey! didn't most songs of this era?
'Memories Of A Rock 'n Rolla' contains a great Capaldi lyric about the pitfalls of a rock 'n roll lifesyle and contains a great tempo change from the beautiful opening verses to the raucous last chorus. Musicianship at some kind of Zenith here. And then there is 'Love' which has to be among the top three Traffic ballads ever, alongside 'No Face No Name No Number' (1967) and 'Evening Blue' (1973). Jim Capaldi's lyric is highly affecting and when combined with a gorgeous Winwood melody, the result is breathtaking.
The final title track is weird and captivating, and these lyrics are not over ambitious, they are wonderful. Can you hear me....Mother Nature?? Now she hears you Jim...and has you in her bosom.
The final title track is weird and captivating, and these lyrics are not over ambitious, they are wonderful. Can you hear me....Mother Nature?? Now she hears you Jim...and has you in her bosom.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 26, 2009 5:59 PM BST


Plastic Ono Band
Plastic Ono Band
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £14.95

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honesty, 15 Feb. 2005
This review is from: Plastic Ono Band (Audio CD)
This is the most personal and moving album by any Ex Beatle. For sure. Lennon throughout his career, especially from the Rubber Soul album in 1965 onwards, was the most forthright and expressive Beatle....of his feelings, whether it be sadness at the loss of mother (Julia), resentmemt (How Do You Sleep), disullusionment (Sexy Sadie), uncertainy (Revolution) or just the high emotions of being in love (I Want You, Oh Yoko, Don't Let Me Down, or latterly with 'Woman').
But on this album, Lennon bares his soul. There are only two albums which match this level of intensity in my opinion. Dylan's 'Blood On The Tracks' (1975) and Lennon's own „Walls And Bridges" (1974). Such albums are not the easiest albums to listen to. There is no sugar coating (as Lennon put it), no silly or even joyous esacpism. These albums are mainly about Pain.
And so to this album. Opening with 'Mother'. If 'Julia' had been a song of losing his mother at the age of 15, this song is that song, multiplied by about 5. for whereas the former song mingled the loss of his mother with some positive and moving imagery of his newly found love, Yoko, this song is sung at a funereal pace (even starting with the deep chimes of a church bell) and unrelenting in its misery. Such songs are not intended as singles, and even taken out of context and placed on a complilation (eg Shaved Fish (1975)) they seem out of place. This album was a single artistic statement of the utmost intensity and it is in fact true of the whole album that these songs belong with eachother, not the stuff for some Sunny Day DJ or jumbled together 'Bests Of'. And moreover, these songs if played to an audience unaware of its context, probably have far less impact. Which brings us to the point. Would this album have been as good if it had come out as the debut of some singer songwriter in 1970 rather than the remarkable outpouring of emotion at the split of a band written by the man who launched the band in question, John Lennon, now 'Ex' Beatle?
Frankly, I don't care. All I can do is review how this album sounds to a Beatles fan and how I think it has aged. I cannot comment on how it might have been received at the time, being only 6 years old. But I do know that this album made and makes a big impression on anyone who listens to it. It is gut wrenchingly personal, and honest....and if your're in the right frame of mind, it is no less than the ultimate artistic statement.
The second track is more gentle, Lennon urging himself to calm down and think positive in the face of the Beatles split and the torrent of abuse which the press (the British in particular) had unforgiveably aimed at his new bride Yoko. 'I Found Out' is an angry put down of the phoney elements of being a pop star icon. And these lyrics are amusing too. Not often the reknowned Lennon sense of homour was displayed on this album! 'Working Class Hero' is about the same subject, but here the lyrics are more biting with the pace of the song....and it has to be said the use of the F Word really drives the message home. Although it remains unclear just who is the target of Lennon's resentment? Is it the record buying public who made him a star in the first place? That would be a tad harsh. Or perhaps the press. I guess we'll never know. But the song is highly effective, regardless of who it is aimed at. It is clear that Lennon felt the claustrophobia of fame, and expresses this accordingly, and wonderfully well. Yet at the end of the day, maybe it's hard to pin the blame on anyone. 'Isloation', with its beautiful melody and piano, comes as a highly pleasant relief...until the screaming middle eight that is! Which is superb by the way, but the best thing about this song is the really fine melody in the verses which comes close to questioning the very definition of beauty.
Side 2 (of the original vinyl album) opens with 'Remember' which is a simple stomping rock number with just Lennon's vocal and piano, Klaus Voormans's bass and Ringo's drums. (in fact the album rarely goes beyond this trio). What really takes this song to another level is the chorus where the dirge like minor key is masterfully transformed to the major for the uplisting and positive 'Don't feel sorry' section. Brilliant. And then we come to the second sublime melody from this album: 'Love'. Up there with anything Lennon has written. Ever. The next track 'Well Well Well' is loud and raucous especially the screaming section at the end....Not the song to play in the presence of your Granny. Presumably Lennon's Aunt Mimi was appalled. The next one 'Look At Me' dates from the White Album, a simple and effective ballad although not on the masterpiece level of say 'Julia'. But again, in context, it works perfectly well. Ah now to the closing number 'God'. What can one say? It is at one stroke both incredibly beautiful and moving yet also heartbreaking in its official announcement that The Beatles Dream Is Over. The last verse, reaching out to his erstwhile ex colleagues to 'carry on' is wonderful in its warmth and sincerity. This would have been the perfect last word on the Beatles story. But unfortunately the following year (1971) was to contain some bitter infighting, particularly between John and Paul who even had to sue his fellow bandmates to free himself from the Beatles partnership, not least because of the incumbent Bealtles manager Allen Klein (appointed by John with the support of George and Ringo against Paul's wishes) who did nothing but sow discord....but got found out in the end. Not to mention the pointless and vindictive jibes of the 'Imagine' and 'Ram' albums.
The last track 'My Mummy's Dead' is a short, harrowing number about the loss of his mother again, this time sureally put to the tune of a nursery rhyme.
Phew. Quite an album, as I have said, not the easiest to listen to. But the raw emotion of this album, combined with the sublime melodies on many of the cuts, and with Lennon on piano (where, let's face it, he wrote his best tunes) it is a moving and beautiful album, none less so 35 years on. Subsequent Lennon albums would often display the same touch of genius that was his and his alone, but nothing came together so majestically as 'John Lennon Plastic Ono Band'.
By the way, the bonus tracks here, especially on this album, are to quote Samuel Johnson from Blackadder 'like fitting wheels to a tomato: time consuming and completely unnnecessary.'


Dark Horse
Dark Horse
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £12.99

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark But Interesting, 14 Feb. 2005
This review is from: Dark Horse (Audio CD)
OK maybe three and a half stars. If that were possible here! The first thing to say is that this is the first George solo album which is open to any kind of musical criticism, the first two albums: 'All Things Must Pass' (1970) and 'Living In The Material World' (1973) being so crammed full of gorgeous melodies it is simply hard to fathom. And this album doesn't exactly ingratiate itself on first listen (in fact it must have come as quite a shock at the time). Two reasons: there is precious little guitar playing of anything like the quality of the previous two albums. And secondly, George has practically lost his voice.
So why isn't this album simply condemned to the dustbin of history, like a lost sock in the laundromat of oblivion? Well firstly because it comes from George Harrison. And even his weaker albums, of which this is probably one, contained at least three or four good songs. And also because the very roughness of George's voice, combined with top notch session musicians as always (Ringo is also here somewhere but this time less obviously) makes for a thoroughly interesting listening experience. We hear a side of George for example that no one, at least at the time, can have thought existed. George struggling with alcoholism. Quite a shocker after the previous album for me with its 'Lord there just a few...who bow before you' lyrics. But this is a marvellously honest song. And coming after the opening instrumental with its distinctive slide guitar (virtually the only example of this on the entire album!), it is somehow quite gripping. We learn here and on the next track 'So Sad' that George is actually as prone to the pitfalls of lost direction and more specifically lost love as the rest of us humans. And that is quite reassuring. But even in these dark lyrics he recognises the problem head on..."you may think of Sexy Sadie, let her in through your front door...but your life won't be so easy...Anymore'. Great bell-like Badfingeresque acoustic guitars on 'So Sad' too. Thankfully George was to find true happiness in his second marriage to Olivia who even graces the album label in the way that Linda did on 'Wild Life' and Yoko did on 'Imagine'. But here he is in the midst of a marriage break up and hence there is precious little of the uplifting and happy lyrics (or melodies) which George is now primarily remembered for. So what? This is an important document of George's emotional state at the time and he sings convincingly, though pretty throatily due to the afore mentioned loss of voice. 'Bye Bye Love' is an Everleys cover directly about the split with Patti. And he even has the nerve to invite Eric Clapton and Patti (who were now a couple) to contribute backing vocals! It is not a great version admittedly, but is a curio for us fans.
Side 1 of the vinyl record ends with 'Maya Love' which although not a very memorable song does at least feature some of that George slide which was so prominent on the first two solo albums and which is so curiously absent on this one.
Side 2 opens with George's Christmas single 'Ding Dong' which is only a shade better that McCartney's attempt 5 years later 'Wonderful Christmastime'. In this department at least, Lennon won hands down.
But then we have the title track which is memorable. Great lyrics and a jerky but effective melody and drums reminiscent of galloping horses to boot! 'Far East Man', written with Ron Wood, who featured it on his album of the same year, is subdued but quite moving in its own way. The closing track is another curio: repetitive chorus chants to Sri Krshna which are a little annoying, to these ears anyway. But a verse with a great melody which heightens expectations only to be brought down to earth firmly by the turgid chorus every time!
So this is a mixed bag for sure. Lyrics are alternately dealing with very human situations whilst elsewhere maintain a pretty firm allegiance to Krishna.
A long way from 'All Things' or 'Material World' this and still further from his joyously melodic return to form five years later, the 'George Harrison' album of 1979. But still well worthy of investigation for anyone remotely interested in George Harrison who almost always wore his heart on his sleeve and was searching for some kind of inner peace. Isn't that what we're all striving for at the end of the day?
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 29, 2012 8:54 AM GMT


Beaucoups Of Blues
Beaucoups Of Blues
Price: £7.49

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ringo Acting Naturally, 7 Feb. 2005
This review is from: Beaucoups Of Blues (Audio CD)
I am in the undoubted but I would say privileged minority of people who do NOT have a favourite Beatle. And although I would concede if pressed that Ringo was somewhat inferior as a songwriter compared to the other three, there is something about Ringo's contributions to The Beatles and also a quality found on many of his solo albums that is very hard to define.
It is not Pavarottiesque singing. We know that. That never stopped Dylan. It is not prolific songwriting. His best songs were probably more than a little helped by George Harrison (Photograph, Octupus's Garden, It Don't Come Easy'). But people like me don't enjoy Ringo's music because they are expecting 'Hey Jude' level songwriting. We enyoy it for the spirit which is in most of Ringo's music. It's normally upbeat, optimistic and strangely uplifting. Even when Ringo sings of a triple murder as he does on 'Love Don't Last Long' on this album, his delivery is touching and charming to the point where we end up singing along with those morbid lyrics. Whereas if Leonard Cohen had sung it we'd be half way out of the window within seconds probably. Let me put it in as simple language as I can. When a Beatles fan is depressed he does NOT reach for Lennon's first solo album 'Plastic Ono Band', least of all the track 'Working Class Hero', he does NOT reach for George's Material World with its preachy religious lyrics (music is brilliant of course but that's another review!). The toss up is probably between Paul and Ringo and I would say Ringo would win in my home on about 50% of occasions. If not more. Because as I said earlier Ringo's records generally generate warmth, good humour and a wonderful sort of confidence of someone who knows he's not the world's greatest singer but has this unique ability to bring a smile to your face! All the other Beatles recognised this quality in Ringo and it is no coincidence in my opinion that it was Ringo who stayed on the best terms with the other three during the tumultous post split years of the 1970s. And this is not to mention of course his amazing and again unique drumming on those Beatle records.
But this album, at least, is not about Ringo's drumming. He doesn't even play drums on this album I don't think, he was just invited by Pete Drake, the famous country slide guitarist to Nashville for a few days. All Ringo had to do was turn up and sing. The record took two days. And, it must be said, the subject matter here on these country songs given to Ringo for this album is rarely uplifting. There are songs about murder, war, prostitutes, drinking, lost love and lost money. Almost a parody of The Definition Of Depression, the lyrics here. But in Ringo's hands these songs become uplifting somehow, in part helped by the great tunes in many cases, but I think more helped by Ringo's soulful (Yes, Soulful) country singing. His delivery is entirely natural, free of any ego or pretense and it is without doubt that these simple yet brilliant country tunes fit Ringo's voice like a glove. Or should that be the other way round?
You are unlikely to find more than one track (the title track) on any Ringo compilation. But that is because, as with many solo albums from the early 1970s, the songs on any one album belong with eachother. For example Lennon's first and Paul's first three. And that is precisely because the Ex Beatles were searching for a new identity and at the same time dealing with the traumatic loss of their day job. Had they stayed together it is unlikely they would have been as experimental or willing to try new things. Unlikely I say, though not impossible. Who knows?
So here, we have an album which is 100% Ringo and although this may offend the purists out there, this was a natural progression and one that benefited the Beatles fan as they suddenly had four times more music to absorb. Four times! Even if some of their '70s solo albums are a little rough around the edges, this was a serious plus which all those tedious critics should not treat too lightly. If I was invited to appear on that great UK quiz show 'Mastermind' I would most likely choose The Solo Career Of Ringo Starr as my specialist subject. And be totally proud of my choice. And score 17 points. This album is among Ringo's finest...and ranks alongside those other great Beatles solo albums of the early 1970s. I can't say fairer than that.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 12, 2009 4:39 PM BST


Living in the Material World
Living in the Material World
Price: £21.45

68 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 4 Feb. 2005
The critics had a field day dismissing this album: religious preaching, holier than thou lyrics and all the rest of it. Why can't people listen to the music for a change? How can anyone be offended by spiritual conviction? Or should I say scared? The same thing happened with Dylan when he became a Christian....it would seem that people prefer no allegiances to anything stronger, which is ridiculous. Life is complex and different people have different ways of dealing with it. And who can blame George after years of being idolised as some sort of hero in the Beatles? When the only return he got was Money for sure but a complete lack of privacy and sense of identity as an individual. Anyway, to the music. Which is Mighty Fine here. The opener 'Give Me Love' is among the finest songs written by anyone and as a result was about the highlight of the Conert For George concert. This song summed up George, even McCartney remarked upon the great chord changes in this song.
The rest of the album is equally fine. 'Sue Me Sue You Blues' contains a rather sad lyric on the Beatles split, but what Slide Guitar!! 'The Light That Has Lighted The World' is absolutely perfect, great chord changes again.....and a melody to die for. 'Don't Let Me Wait Too Long' is an infectious George pop song. Brilliant. 'Who Can See It' strains George's vocals for sure in rather too high a key. So what? Would we have preferred Ronnie Spector to have sung lead here? I think not. The title track is a pretty good stomping rocker with a lovely guitar solo, although far too short. George was rather fond of the horn section but the reason people buy George albums is to hear his guitar, not the horn solos of Tom Scott et al. Am being a bit picky, but you get the point! Side 2 (of the vinyl album) opened with The Lord Loves The One which also showcases an inspired guitar solo, this time of appropriate length. 'Be Here Now' is beautiful. Period. 'Try Some Buy Some' ditto. What a gorgeous melody! And George's production here proves that he could do a pretty effective Spector impresssion, to great effect. 'The Day The World Gets Round', written the day after the Bangla Desh concert is similarly breathtaking in its melody and production. And then we come to the closer 'That Is All' which is about the best ballad George wrote, at least as a solo artist. And those words of the middle eight ring as true 33 years later as they did at the time.
'Times I find it hard to say...with useless words getting in my way
Silence often says much more...than trying to say what's been said before'
George chose his allegiances....and his friends carefully. A best practice if ever there was one. And this album is brimming full of happiness if you look beneath the surface. Inner Peace. And beautiful music throughout. A worthy follow up to the monumental 'All Things Must Pass' (1970) if you ask me.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2011 6:29 PM BST


Ram
Ram
Offered by simak
Price: £15.50

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zany Magic, 3 Feb. 2005
This review is from: Ram (Audio CD)
This is a wonderfully zany offering from someone who in 1971 needed no introduction and this very zaniness managed to draw some of the most viscious and one has to to say amusing put downs in the history of rock journalism. Somehow, after the masterpiece that Abbey Road undoubtedly was, with McCartney's supreme talent effortless to the fore there, it appears that anything less than a repeat performance over the ensuing years invited ridicule and utter contempt from the critics.
Not from the record buying public though. This album was a massive seller and is revered by McCartney fans and many more besides 34 years later. But at the time, no less an authority than Rolling Stone dismissed this album as 'unbelievably inconsequential....and monumentally irrelevant'.
As I said....amusing.
But seriously misguided. I don't know what the world was exepecting Paul to produce in 1971 but the fact that he for one couldn't care less and put out this set, which although carrying many Beatlesque trademarks, not least in the melodies of course, is also a bold statement of independance complete with honest remarks on how bitter he felt about the Beatles break-up.
No one enjoys (or enjoyed) I hope the public slagging match between Lennon and McCartney in the years 1970-1, which did its best to destroy all the love and peace that the Beatles music had done so much to uphold and stand for throughout their short 7 year career of recorded output. But that doesn't detract from the quality of this album. The opener 'Too Many People' takes a sly dig at Lennon for 'preaching practices'....'don't let them tell you what you want to do'. Quite reasonable really, and certainly insufficient provocation for the tirade of nasty abuse (aimed squarely at McCartney) that was Lennon's scathing reply 'How Do You Sleep' on his 'Imagine' album of the same year. The second track, likening the Ex Beatles without Paul to a three legged dog is perhaps more provocative, but pretty mild and quite amusing all the same. And these first two songs are wonderfully distinctive and original, Paul has produced nothing like either since. That goes for the whole album really, it is Paul being original and creative and sub consciously distancing himself from whatever image he may have created for himself during the Fab Four years. He has tried this in the years since, somewhat more consciously usually . And more often than not less successfully as a result. Paul has always been best just doing his own thing, which is what he does best.
Anyway, back to the album: 'Ram On" is an evocative and charming piece of his ImHappyInScotlandThankyou period. 'Dear Boy' is an off the wall number featuring mad harmonies, the lyric possibly aimed at Lennon...but who cares? 'Uncle Albert' is about the most Beatleque moment on the album, a quite ecsquisite melody in the verse and a rousing chorus which brings happiness and a feeling of release on every listen (just as the title track of 'Band On The Run' was to do 2 years later). Even John Lennon was kind enough to comment favourably on this track, and this was in the depths of The Cold War between the two. Or should I say 'Thoroughly Public And Childish War'?? Which achieved Nothing and was a real sadness to most genuine Beatles fans.
'Smile Away' is slightly throwaway but engaging all the same. Then we come to 'Heart Of The Country", again evocative is the word that springs to mind...rural peaceful domesticity and contentment, away from Showbiz and The Big City....something that may have enraged Lennon at the time. But he came round to see what this was in the end, even giving up 5 years of his career in he process.
Monkberry Moon Delight is a raucous rocker with mad lyrics. Can you imagine this one sitting comfortably on a Beatles album? I think not. But then again who knows what might have become of the Beatles had they not split up when they did? Endless triple albums, just to fit in all this zaniness, eclectic and magical as ever?!
'Eat At Home' is a superb rocker, and quite possibly the best song on the album. Again the lyric is all about Home and Love. And as Wings sung 5 years later: 'What's wrong with that?' 'Long Haired Lady' is good in places but is perhaps the weakest song on the album. Was it really necessary to do the Hey Jude style ending? With Linda's vocal so much to the fore?? She's not bad at all at harmony singing, but here she is presented with virtually the lead vocal in the chorus. About the only mistake on the album. And if it was done just to get back at George for imitating a Hey Jude style ending on 'Isn't It A Pity', it was unnecessary.
And so we come to the last track 'Back Seat Of My Car'. Well the melody is among the best Paul has ever produced. Most of it is inspired, especially the verses but if I'm honest I can't help thinking that Lennon might have added an idea or two to turn it into the absolute classic it deserves to be. The ending for example is too long as if Paul can't decide how to finish the song.
But at the end of the day we must accept that Lennon was in no state to help his partner at this time, and not much on the last three Beatles albums either. So be it. These solo albums are still mighty fine...and interesting...and thought-provoking...and moving. All four Beatles produced much work after the split which is a vital and illuminating part of the Beatles' story. And this album is that more than most.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 15, 2010 5:56 PM GMT


Wings Wild Life
Wings Wild Life
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Homegrown Love, 29 Jan. 2005
This review is from: Wings Wild Life (Audio CD)
This album came out recorded in somewhat of a rush just 7 months after the magical 'Ram' album and less than three months after Lennon's monumental'Imagine' album, and so suffered in comparison. It is a strangely low key debut for Paul's band Wings which would later become one of the '70s best selling and most acclaimed bands. Here, expectations were still so high that people were still either expecting 'Abbey Road Revisited' or else had given up on Paul altogether.
And so it attracted another viscious Rolling Stone put down line: 'the nadir of 60s rock decomposition thus far'.
Again, highly amusing stuff. But taken on its own own merits, it can be seen in a different light. Hindsight shows us the qualities of this album, not apparent to all at the time. It is probably the loosest, and yes coolest collection of songs McCartney has ever produced. Totally without pretension, totally natural and totally free, important qualities which would be missing from many of McCartney's later more studied and commercially successful albums. I am not trying to play down the qualities of 'Band On The Run' (1973), 'Venus And Mars' (1975) or 'Speed Of Sound' (1976) which represented Wings at the height of their powers. In fact this albums has more in common with the marvellous 'London Town' album (1978) in its loose laid back melodic feel.
OK so it is a bit uneven. The opener 'Mumbo Jumbo' is raucous high spirited, well nonsense! 'Bip Bop' is pleasant acoustic rambling, 'Love Is Strange' is a cover...although ahead of its time in its reggae tinges....and the band really gel here, the only complaint being Linda's backing vocals being slightly too high in the mix. The title track starts off great and develops well but then goes off int o a meandering far too long ending (same problem here as with 'Longhaired Lady' from the previous album 'Ram').
Side 2 of the original vinyl album is where the quality kicks in. The first track 'Some People Never Know' is simply gorgeous, great melody, great chord changes and Linda's harmony vocals are also superb on this one. 'I Am Your Singer' is a pleasant Paul And Linda duet....quite charming. Then there is 'Tomorrow" which is a superb number, effortlessly evoking a Sunday picnic in the country complete with the classic lines 'baby don't you let me down on Sunday, here's a pound we hang around 'til Monday'. Enough to make all of us who regularly suffer from the Sunday Evening Blues feel Very Jealous!!
And the last song, 'Dear Friend', written in early January 1971, just after Paul had been forced to take the other three Beatles to court to dissolve the Beatles' partnership. The lyric says it all and is wonderfully conciliatory in contrast to the sentiments recorded for the 'Ram' album (Paul) and for the 'Imagine' album (John). If Paul had released this one as a single in early 1971 instead of 'Another Day' a lot of bad stuff might have been avoided.
Incidentally, the ending of this beautiful song goes on far too long, and this was becoming a bit of a problem on these early Paul albums (note 'Maybe I'm Amazed' from 'McCartney', 'Back Seat Of My Car', 'Smile Away' from 'Ram' and the title track from this album for example).
But this album at the end of the day contains plenty of hidden McCartney magic. And it has aged pretty well.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 16, 2014 1:21 PM BST


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