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This review is from: Band On The Run (Audio CD)
I bought this edition of 'Band on the Run' (2 CD, 1 DVD set) just last week, having been recommended to do so by a friend of the family. He assured me that the album was "brilliant" and, in being a massive Beatles fan, I was sure to like it. Well, I have bought it and I have indeed viewed the contents of the set in full. Here's what I think:
This set is an absolute excellent buy and great value for money! I must admit that I knew the two staple songs from this album, 'Band on the Run' and 'Jet', before buying the record. It would be very easy to select either of these as the best on the album. However, like other reviewers have said, every song is a winner and you will only really be able to appreciate this by listening to the album in full.
There are some really amazing songs on here, like 'Bluebird', which is an incredible song, typical McCartney magic! 'Let Me Roll It' is a fantastic song with a killer guitar riff and amazing vocals. Personally, I found this song to be very Lennon-esque. 'Picasso's Last Words (Drink To Me)' is another piece of McCartney magic - written on the spot at a party in Jamaica when McCartney met actors Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen. Hoffman challenged Paul to write a song about Picasso, betting that he could not do so, and Paul wrote this on the spot, as I've said. The result is pretty incredible to listen to. Finally, the album's closer 'Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five' is an excellent, feelgood song and finishes the record quite nicely.
Overall, 'Band on the Run' really surpassed my expectations; it's been a long time since I've been so impressed by such a good record. The remastered quality is excellent all round and, in saying that, this is really an album I can treasure for years to come now.
The second CD is pretty good, too. Basically, you get two extra songs, 'Helen Wheels' and 'Country Dreamer'. Both of these songs are pretty good; my personal favourite of the two was 'Country Dreamer'. Anyhow, it is good that McCartney chose to include these on a separate disc. I know that in some regions he included 'Helen Wheels' as part of the original 'Band on the Run' album and so many people were upset about this. Thankfully, with this release, you get the album as it was originally released. Following the two tracks mentioned above, you have selections from 'One Hand Clapping', which, I think, was a studio jam. These six tracks are very good, five of them are tracks from the album and the last one is 'Country Dreamer' (where Paul forgets the words). It was nice to hear these tracks in a different manner from those on the album.
Finally, you get a DVD which has music videos for 'Band on the Run', 'Mamunia' and 'Helen Wheels'. There is an 'Album Promo' featurette, which is good as you get to see who was there during the making of the album. There's a short clip of 'Wings in Lagos', which really only features Paul and Linda in Nigeria. There's a featurette of the 'Osterley Park' sessions, which documents the photoshoot of the now infamous album cover. I found this to be really good as it clearly states who's who, whether it be Christopher Lee, Clement Freud or James Coburn, to name but three. Last, but not least, is the 'One Hand Clapping' documentary, some of which is included on the second CD to listen to. Here, though, I think it is included in full and it is very good, even if the quality is not so much (remember, this is 1973/74 we are talking about).
The booklet included with the album is very good and very informative. It includes the lyrics to all of the songs, excluding both 'Helen Wheels' and 'Country Dreamer'. There's also a very interesting essay by Paul Gambaccini, which talks about the making of the album, the inspiration behind some of the tracks and why the album is as loved as it is, even today. Also, you may be surprised to discover that this interview with Gambaccini was Paul's first since leaving The Beatles. I was.
To finish up, the 'Band on the Run' 2 CD/1 DVD set is an excellent buy and great value for money. The album, as a whole, really and truly surpassed my expectations and it has really been quite some time now since I was last impressed by such a great album! In the heel of the hunt, I am very happy that I have added this to my Collection. Without further delay, add it to yours.
Thank you for reading this. I hope it helps.