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At last a classic,
This review is from: Band On The Run [2 bonus tracks] (Audio CD)
Pauls solo career for the 4 years post the Beatles had been a rather patchy affair. After starting off with two decent albums, he followed that up with two very below par Wings efforts that prompted much mocking of the Wings line up, particularly the inclusion of Pauls wife Linda on keyboards. Here however, reduced to the three core members, Paul, Lindaa & Denny, they produce the kind of rock/pop music that the seventies were meant for.
Recorded in Lagos, their surroundings meant that they recorded an album that had a consistent sound about it, something all Wings previous efforts had failed at. Kicking off with two of pauls best songs, Band on The Run and Jet never fail to lift you up, two of pauls finest rock songs that both follow the theme of flight and escapism that runs throught his whole album.
Bluebird is a delightful acoustic number that again follows the theme of flight, although those expecting a Blackbird part two should look eslewhere. Mrs Vandebilt one can only assume is about returning to nature with its tribal like shouts of Ho-Hey-Ho .
Let Me Roll it still stands as one of Pauls best, a song he performs today with passion and vigour, and one that has been described as out-Lennoning Lennon. The heavy riffs over an organ fuelled drum beat are fantastic, and one cant wonder if the songs lyrics were also aimed at lennon (" I cant tell you how I feel, my heart is like a wheel....Let Me Roll It to you").
Mamunia is Pauls back to nature approach again, but is more successful than Mrs Vandebilt with a delightful melody and acoustics that celebrate the rain as Paul intended. No Words was a co-write between Paul and Denny, and both take turns in shring the vocals. Probably the weakest cut on the album, it still makes for good listening.
Helen Wheels was the single that preceeded this album, and was originally only included on the American version of the album. Its a bit like The Ballad of Paul & Linda, rocking along to great effect, although Lindas vocals often seem a little harsh on the ears. Its B-Side Country Dreamer is included on the re-mastered releases, and that is a pleasant acoustic number originally recorded for red Rose Speedway but never used.
Picassos last words was written in the company of Dustin Hoffman, and recalls the great painters last hours. It works as another great McCartney character song with french sounding horns and a great melody.
The closing 1985 works as a fantastic climax to a fantastic album. This is Pauls musically most consistent and cohesive work. Great songs mix together with excellent production to produce an album that really does make wings sound like a band on the run. It would catapult the band to the kind of global succcess that only the Beatles could better. This is the album Paul had bordered on making for a few years and finally found the focus to do so. It is brimming with great tunes and creativity. Excellent.