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4.5 out of 5 stars
Red Rose Speedway
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2005
This album is a mixed bag but contains enough McCartney magic to warrant this glowing review. At times, the melodies from Paul McCartney seem to be almost taken for granted. On this album, the melodies are up there with his absolute best work and it is only perhaps the lyrics which prevents this album from having a classier reputation than it has. But lyrics are not everything and I for one would stand up in court and defend this album on the basis of the melodies alone.
We had abundant examples of this melodic mastery of course in all Paul's Beatles work and then on his home spun debut solo album 'McCartney' (1970) and plenty more on the two subsequent albums 'Ram' and 'Wild Life' (both from 1971). But here on this album he reaches melodic heights not heard since 'Abbey Road'.
The first single 'My Love' needs no further introduction. It is absloutely up there in the Hall of Fame Best Ballads Ever. Sentimental? Yes. But then so was 'Three Times A Lady' and 'I'm Not In Love'. I am tired of defending such classic songs. Tired.
'Little Lamb Dragonfly' may probably not be described as a classic. But it has touches of melody that were made in heaven. The same goes for 'Single Pigeon', 'Hold Me Tight', and 'Hands Of Love'. The latter possibly containing the most beautiful harmony singing from Paul and Linda ever committed to vinyl. 'Power Cut' is another little hidden gem.
The other tracks are mostly memorable too. 'Big Barn Bed' is a raucous opener, far superior to Wild Life's also raucous opener 'Mumbo'. The main difference being that 'Big Barn Bed' features a daring and creative McCartney bass line, the like of which we had not seen since 'Abbey Road'. 'Get On The Right Thing' was apparently a 'Ram' leftover but it is pretty enjoyable all the same. If not a classic.
Even the lesser moments here have some considerable charm. 'When The Night' has a beautifully melodic middle eight which somewhat rescues the song above its rather ordinary verse and lyric. The instrumental track 'Loop - First Indian On The Moon' is an interesting curio. Great bass playing from Paul, which takes it to an altogether higher level than its equivalent on the first solo album, the weird and basically forgettable 'Kreen Akore'.
So there we have it. 'Band On The Run' was to follow later in the same year, 1973, which became the blockbuster we all know and love. But on this album, we have enough memorable McCartney melody to make a Melody Cake. And if this artist was not at his supremely confident self whilst making it, presumably because of the hostile reaction to his post Beatles output thus far, this is hardly a reason to refute the sheer quality that is on display here. Paul never lost his genial melodic touch. And it is rich in abundance on this album.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2001
If you are new to McCartney's solo stuff and are looking to be convinced by his post Beatle worth, stop reading now and look elsewhere. This is not the best place to start a collection of his work.
If however you are already a fan, and have avoided this album because of the received opinion which says My Love is pretty much the only tune of worth on board. Look again, because you will be missing a great deal of interest.
The opening Big Barn Bed picks up where Ram On leaves off, and goes off into a lovely ramshackle rocker. Get On The Right Thing follows a similar style and then the core of the album is provided by a number of really lovely ballads, which have never received anywhere near the respect they deserve. Single Pigeon, One More Kiss and the quite enchanting Little Lamb Dragonfly meander along with considerable charm.
The album draws to a close with a 12 minute medley of little fragments and again there is much to admire if you are prepared to stick with it. And believe me there is a great deal of stamina required to find your way to the core of this strange but enchanting record.
What Macca was thinking who can tell, this was never going to enhance his critical reputation, and it remains a curio which seldom gets a mention in the accepted history of the Beatles after The Beatles. It is an album which betrays more beauty with every listen and I hope that like McCartney and Ram, it will one day be given the critical respect it deserves.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"Red Rose Speedway", credited to Paul McCartney & Wings, was an undoubted improvement on 1971's "Wild Life", but still met with a mixed, predominantly lukewarm response from the music critics at the time. Originally planned as a double album, it was recorded throughout 1972, a year when Wings were busy touring universities and European venues and then, after being cut to a single album, was released in May 1973. The only single released from the album was "My Love", a tender love song which Paul wrote for Linda, featuring a blistering guitar solo from Henry McCullough. However, that certainly doesn't mean that it was the only great song on "Red Rose Speedway" - far from it.

Part of the appeal of this album is the eclectic quality of this collection of songs. There is a gentle country song, the pretty and melancholy "One More Kiss", a decent but slightly shambolic rocker with a great bass-line, "Big Barn Bed" and even a 11-minutes plus melodic medley which possibly has more ambition than substance, but it's still an enjoyable listen - "Power Cut" and the instrumental break, especially. Not everything works, though. I believe that "Get On The Right Thing" is a missed opportunity. It could have been a great track, but the production and arrangement do their best to mask the qualities of what is, essentially, a brilliant McCartney composition. The instrumental "Loup (1st Indian On The Moon)" is rather bizarre but is miles better than "Kreen-Akore", the instrumental from the 1970 release "McCartney".

"Little Lamb Dragonfly" is, for me, the highlight of the album. Incredibly beautiful with a fantastic vocal delivery, the music and Paul's voice just soar. This is one of the greatest Paul McCartney songs that most people simply don't know. "Single Pigeon" is also a very nice track but very much like "When The Night" and "Get On The Right Thing", it seems to have more potential than the performance ultimately gets out of it. The bonus tracks on this particular version of the album are the excellent single "C Moon"/"Hi Hi Hi" plus "The Mess" and "I Lie Around" which, to me, are average McCartney compositions. To surmise, "Red Rose Speedway" is a very likeable, listenable album, but if you are building or starting a post-Beatle McCartney collection, this is an album you should invest in after you've bought the truly great releases. Indeed, the first few plays may leave the listener feeling slightly non-plussed, but this album has subtle charms which means that I, and I believe most Paul McCartney fans, think of "Red Rose Speedway" fondly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2005
I love this album it's one of my favorite albums from Paul's solo/Wings career! I first heard this album in 1990 on my local clasic radio station when they used to play 7 classic albums by different music artists on Sunday nights. The DJ said we have a great,great album tonight and he played Red Rose Speedway. I loved it from the first time I heard it and I bought it soon after. Paul's melodies,harmonies,singing,bass and piano playing are all top notch. And I like this album better than the very good Band On The Run. His melodies and harmonies are even more beautiful on this record. I am so glad The All Music Guide online gave Red Rose Speedway the 4 star review it at least deserves!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2010
I had this album on tape from very many years ago. Having thrown out all my tapes some time ago, I'd often thought about buying a replacement on CD. I finally got around to it - and how glad I did. Not only did it bring back wonderful memories, it was just as good as I'd remembered. If you enjoy McCartney and Wings, you will find much to enjoy on this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2011
My little sister bought this album when it came out and I played it a lot. I loved the medleys, reminiscent of Abbey Road. I left home and Sis got married and I hadn't heard it since. Then, recently, I bought a second hand i-pod and lo and behold - there it was on the playlist. I listened to it again and admit to being a bit disappointed. What had I seen in it? Then I played it again and again and pretty soon it began to seep back into the bones. I loved the little taster snip of what was to become "Big barn bed" on the reprise of "Ram on" on Ram, and the full track is a great opener to this one. I suppose I've heard "My love" too often to be as enchanted with it as the other reviewers on this page - not one of my favourite Macca ballads. But, "Little lamb/Dragonfly" is wonderful -just beautiful melody and Paul at his very best. All the other tracks hold a lot of interest, except for the Indian - I don't go for Paul's instrumentals - just filler as far as I am concerned, and not necessary here. However, the final medley is a joy from start to finish. I love the links and the way certain melodies keep coming back. I know they are throwaway bits of songs, like the ones on Abbey Road, but Paul is a master craftsman, weaving them together to make something worth far more than the sum of its parts. As the culmination of the trilogy of really good albums (Ram, Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway) that preceded the master work (Band on the Run) I'd say this is essential to a collection of the best of Paul McCartney - very under-rated and truly wonderful.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2001
This is one of the earlier records from the Wings 10 album catalogue, released in April 1973 is definitely one of the best. I picked up an original version of this album on cassette a few years ago for 50p in Camden Market in London but decided to by the more recent updated CD a few months ago which has three extra tracks added simply to make the album longer. The album contains the magnificent My Love, probably one of the best love songs ever written and other goodens including When The Night, Get on the Right Thing and Big Barn Bed. There is also a medley towards the end of four songs, which flows well and sounds great. The album not as famous as Band on the Run and the others is well worth the listen, purely because the record sounds like an experiment in the studio which successfully succeeded. Its probably Paul and the Wings at their very best
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Wont waffle too much, just want to say this album is well a visit. I've given it five stars as I enjoy the diveristy (maybe too strong a word)of macca tunes, all fairly light hearted with the lovely 'dragonfly' and with the 'joint up' side two (as it was on the record that is)most enjoyable!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Absolute magic...A must for anyones Macca collection. The music is unique in its style. Sort of "otherworldly" No matter what others may think, I regard this album as the best Sir Paul has ever made. Some say Band on the Run is superior; it doesn't even come close to the dreamy Red Rose Speedway...Pure McCartney. (I also love the reference to UFOs on the track: Get On The Right Thing!) Macca always said influence for his songs came from "above!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2013
An album that never gets the ratings it deserves.Loved this era in music.Words you hear clearly and tune to remember
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