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Customer Review

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.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Feb 2011 18:06:39 GMT
street-legal says:
Having read a few of your Beatle related reviews and mostly agreeing with them, I feel that being an apologist for this shambolic album maybe stretching enthusiasm a bit far. I can just imagine somebody wanting to get into solo McCartney and buying this on strength of your 4 star review (just one notch down from Abbey Road and the White Album!) and thinking, "What IS this s***t!!?"

In reply to an earlier post on 5 May 2011 00:47:29 BDT
Curiously I find myself having the potential to agree with both of you - as with most disagreements between rational people it's all a matter of context.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Nov 2011 18:03:39 GMT
street-legal says:
Context in what way? It is simply a very poor album, just two years after Abbey Road. People at the time were quite right to shun the thing and time has hardly exhumed it.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Nov 2011 20:08:13 GMT
Last edited by the author on 23 Nov 2011 20:10:55 GMT
Context in that yes it is not as 'good' as late Beatles stuff but it is still a very pleasant, easy-to-listen-to album. Not striking but certainly not abysmal either. I remember really liking it for a year or two. Taken on its own terms it could arguably be a 4-star album (I would only give it 3 stars but there you go...) Interesting that we have both written reviews of NY's Le Noise....

Posted on 14 Jan 2012 10:30:56 GMT
I think John Heaton's review of Wings Wild Life is pretty much on the mark in every respect. Yes, this album could have done with some editing (particularly the first two tracks - although as a McCartney/Beatles devotee I have formed a sneaking regard even for those two abberrations as 'guilty pleasures' only diehard Macca fans can understand). However, I simply cannot fathom how an album which contains overlooked McCartney gems such as 'Wild Life' itself, 'Some People Never Know,' the sublime 'Tomorrow' (intended as a coda to 'Yesterday') and the haunting and poignant 'Dear Friend' always gets such a pasting! The above songs irrefutably prove that McCartney's early solo songwriting had not regressed since the triumph of Abbey Road with the second and third mentioned tracks similar in quality in mood to some of McCartney's songs on the White Album. To all those who lambast his solo output I would simply plead with you to 'listen.' In my opinion where McCartney goes wrong in his solo career and yes, he on occasion does go very wrong (and even did in the later Beatles period, e.g. 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer'), it is where his whimsical inclinations combined with, by his own admission probable over-reliance on pot (?!) smother good taste and meaning hence the atrocities 'C Moon' 'The Frog Chorus', 'Wonderful Christmastime,' 'Bogey Music.' 'Helen Wheels' with its pinched/nasal vocals isn't a great listen either. However, some of McCartney's solo work - with careful scrutiny - definitely stands comparison with his Beatles output. It's just a shame that it isn't - to paraphrase Jane Austen: 'a truth universally acknowledged that a solo Beatle in possession of great talent must be in want of critical acclaim.'

In reply to an earlier post on 16 May 2014 13:21:00 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 May 2014 13:22:16 BDT
CMoon says:
What a load of rubbish Mean Mister Mustard can write. I am constantly amazed that people who don't particularly like a song declare it a "bad song" as if their taste is far, far superior to everyone else's, and of course they are much more intelligent also. For the record I love Wild Life, a very misunderstood and overlooked album. But what of the "dross" you mention. CMoon is one of my all-time favourite McCartney songs, and incidentally it sold very well. Wonderful Christmastime wasn't written to explain the meaning of life, it is a party song and as such remains one of the most popular at Christmas. Similarly the Frog Chorus - written for a children's cartoon ffs. It has a beautiful melody and I doubt any other rock star could write anything similar - hell they wouldn't even attempt it, and quote their "street cred" as the reason. Helen Wheels is also a great rocker, what on earth can you find to object about this stand alone single, and Maxwell's Silver Hammer a great track on a superb album. Yet you call the lot of them "atrocious", which reveals much more about your own dubious tastes than the songs themselves. And Mr Mustard, whilst I of course agree with you wholeheartedly that Paul's solo music stands comparison with his Beatles output, it is ridiculous to add the caveat "with careful scrutiny". What the hell does this even mean, anyway? Music snobs, the bottom feeders of popular music, take a bow MMM.
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