5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A jet and limousine affair
, 23 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Wings Over America (Audio CD)
If, instead of repackaging this in 2013, McCartney's label had risked issuing an album of Wings' earlier (1972-73) live recordings, it could have sparked a delayed rediscovery of what an energetically spontaneous (often punkish) sound McCartney could carry with Wings. As it is, we have the more commercially predictable reissue of 1976's Wings Over America.
This Wings line-up is still powerful. Jimmy McCulloch's guitar-playing is thrilling; Denny Laine is given space here, and shines. After Linda, Laine deserves really deserves more recognition as McCartney's main collaborator post-Beatles. His vocal on 'Go Now' is timelessly emotive here, regardless of how many times he must have sung it by this point; and Paul and Linda give great backing vocals. Laine's 'Spirits of Ancient Egypt' remains intriguing; his 'Time to Hide' is another highlight.
McCartney's 'Let Me Roll It' is an incredible composition anyway, and performed brilliantly here, with tense interaction between each musician. The versions of McCartney's more recent songs are good, sometimes amazing. 'Beware My Love' sounds like just about the most intense song of his whole career, and this performance is quite different from the 'Speed of Sound' track. Also superb are 'Letting Go' and 'Call me Back Again'. 'Venus and Mars' never lasts as long as it seems to want to; I guess that's the point.
The basic 2013 re-release is alright, though I'm not interested in the deluxe version; the album is big enough as it is. But on this 1976 set, something has gone from McCartney's performance in comparison with preceding years.
Wings' first tours, in 1972-73, were undertaken in Land Rovers and borrowed buses. This 1975-76 tour was a jet and limousine affair. And the latter images (used to illustrate the release) sum up this phase of Wings: their success is indisputable (and made overt in the publicity), but somehow, it sounds like the ambitions here are more commercial than creative. In choosing Wings Over America in place of other possibilities, the record company seem to be honouring that pattern.
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