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CHOBA B CCCP (1987)

Starting on July 20th, 1987 for two days Paul and a small band of talented musicians recorded a special group of vintage songs very very quickly for a NEW project by Paul. The official title is Russian for “Back In The USSR.” It is known as either of these or simply “The Russian Album.”

Here’s how it developed…..Released in the Soviet Union in 1988, making Paul the first artist from the West to issue an album exclusively for that market. (It was released in the rest of the world following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.)

Ruminating on the next stage of his career following 1986’s Press To Play, Paul decided he wanted to get back to his roots, so he hired the three session musicians and spent just two days covering his favorite hits from the 1950s.

The recording sessions produced 22 songs in total, 13 of them ending up on the final album, with one of the songs left off being a cover of The Beatles’ ‘I Saw Her Standing There’.

For Paul, it was a deeply personal album and a way to acknowledge fans who had supported him and The Beatles since the start. “When I was very young I asked my dad if people wanted peace,” Paul explained at the time. “He said to me, ‘Yes, people everywhere want peace – it’s usually politicians that cause trouble.’

It always seemed to me that the way The Beatles’ music was admired in the USSR tended to prove his point, that people the world over have a great deal in common.

In releasing this record exclusively in the Soviet Union, I extend the hand of peace and friendship to the people of Russia.”Originally only 11 tracks were put on the first edition of the album. A second Soviet pressing, released in December 1988, increased the song total to 13 by adding “I’m Gonna Be a Wheel Someday” and “Summertime“.

The 1991 worldwide CD release contained 14 tracks by including “I’m in Love Again” (first released in 1989 as one of the B-sides to McCartney’s “This One” single) as a bonus track.

The cover of the album was designed by Michael Ross. McCartney’s photograph in a red star, the USSR’s symbol, was taken by his wife Linda and was first featured inside the gate-fold album cover of Ram.

McCartney intended Снова В СССР as a present for Soviet fans who were generally unable to obtain his legitimate recordings, often having to make do with copies; they would, for a change, have an album that people in other countries would be unable to obtain.

Accordingly, McCartney never intended the album to be sold outside the USSR, and mirroring the situation as it had been within the Soviet Union, it was a popular import or bootleg album in other countries.

Recorded in 1987

Released to the U.S.S.R. in 1988

Worldwide release in 1991

Produced by Paul McCartney

Side 1

Kansas City Written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller 4:03

Paul McCartney : Bass, Vocal Mick Green : Guitar Chris Whitten : Drums Mick Gallagher : Piano

#1.

Peter Henderson : Recording engineer Jul 20, 1987 Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK Session Mixing: Jul 22, 1987

A rocking opener, which Paul has done many times. He does it the Beatles way with the Hey Hey part, instead of the Wilbert Harrison version. A tight band for this and every track. No or little backing vocals on most tracks, but here a few “Hey Hey’s.” The drumming is strong on every track, as is the great piano and guitar solos. Paul’s bass is understated. Vocals are strong and growly here and on every track. Rating – 8

2. Twenty Flight Rock Written by Eddie Cochran, Ned Fairchild. 3:04 Paul McCartney : Bass, Vocal Mick Green : Guitar Chris Whitten : Drums Mick Gallagher : Piano

Same as #1.

The song that got Paul into Lennon’s band. A nice strong version. Again, nice piano solo, understated 4×4 bass line. Green smokes on his solo. Rating – 7.5

3. Lawdy Miss Clawdy Written by Lloyd Price 3:18

Paul McCartney : Bass, Vocal Mick Green : Guitar Chris Whitten : Drums Mick Gallagher : Piano

Same as #1.

Outstanding toe tapper that takes off with Gallagher’s sweet lines, and then Green’s guitar turns it up with an amazing set of solos. Macca’s vocals are good. But they have him mixed into the heart of the sound with a bit of echo effect (on all of songs). It doesn’t make the songs bad, it just doesn’t always show off his voice. Rating – 8

4. I’m In Love Again Written by Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew 3:00

Paul McCartney : Bass, Vocal Mick Green : Guitar Chris Whitten : Drums Mick Gallagher : Piano

Same as #1.

Paul has a blast with this one. He snarls, growls and even barks his way through one of his loves, the fat man. Rating – 7

5. Bring It On Home To Me Written by Sam Cooke 3:15

Paul McCartney : Bass, Vocal Mick Green : Guitar Chris Whitten : Drums Mick Gallagher : Piano

Same as #1

Paul slows it down with this tasty remake. One of his best vocals of the album. Green’s solo is delicious.Rating – 8.5

6. Lucille Written by Richard Penniman / Little Richard, Albert Collins 3:13

Paul McCartney : Bass, Vocal Mick Green : Guitar Chris Whitten : Drums Mick Gallagher : Piano

Same as #1

The classic that Paul has rocked since childhood. He handles it like a pro. The band keeps a nice rocking pace, with the right amount of tension on the pauses. Green and Gallagher kill again on their solos. Rating – 7

7. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore Written by Duke Ellington, Bob Russell 2:51

Paul McCartney : Guitar, Vocals Mick Gallagher : Piano Nick Garvey : Bass Henry Spinetti : Drums

#2. Peter Henderson : Recording engineerSession Recording: Jul 21, 1987Studio : Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UKSession Mixing: Jul 22, 1987Studio : Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Put on the CD single for “Once Upon A Long Ago,” which I bought and this song came on and I loved it. He takes the Duke Ellington swing hit and rocks the house with it. This is what every song on the album should have tried to do and tried to sound like. Spinetti is a monster on the drums…. Rating – 9

8. I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday Written by Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, Roy Hayes 4:14

Paul McCartney : Bass, Vocal Mick Green : Guitar Chris Whitten : Drums Mick Gallagher : Piano

#3.

Peter Henderson : Recording engineer Session Recording: Jul 20, 1987Studio : Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK Session Mixing: Jul 22, 1987 Studio : Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Paul again has some fun with this Fats Domino number. The lead guitar is buried way too deep. Paul’s voice, drums and piano are clear and up front. The bass again, restrained and basic four to the floor. The lead vocal gives it the extra touch. Rating – 8

9. That’s All Right Mama Written by Arthur Crudup. 3:48

Paul McCartney : Bass, Vocal Mick Green : Guitar Chris Whitten : Drums Mick Gallagher : Piano

Same as #3.

Accurate recreation of the Elvis classic, complete with Paul’s Presley vocal inflection and heavy echo added on. Green solo is short and sweet. The second solo is joined by piano. Paul’s vocals just don’t carry the payload for the entire song. Rating – 6.5

10. Summertime Written by George Gershwin. 4:58

Paul McCartney : Bass, Vocal Mick Green : Guitar Chris Whitten : Drums Mick Gallagher : Piano

Same as #3.

The old standard done blues style. Compare to Paul’s other attempts to play the blues, this one is pretty darn good. The bass line finally moves around a bit, and the band is right there with him. Gallagher adds an organ to good use. A nice surprise here…. Rating – 8.5

11. Ain’t That A Shame Written by Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew. 3:43

Paul McCartney : Guitar, Vocals Mick Gallagher : Piano Nick Garvey : Bass Henry Spinetti : Drums

Same as #2.

A song built for Paul. He’s played it a few times. The in-studio production on this one is taken up a notch with the echo effect on the vocals. The lead guitar sounds like it is in another room. Paul’s vocals are spot on. Rating – 8.5

12. Crackin’ Up Written by Ellas McDaniel 3:55

Paul McCartney : Guitar, Vocals Mick Gallagher : Piano Nick Garvey : Bass Henry Spinetti : Drums

Same as #2

Bo Diddley’s hit is done with a reggae flair. Best to leave this one as a soundcheck. Great organ by Gallagher adds to the island feel. Rating – 6.5

13. Just Because Written by Bob Shelton, Joe Shelton, Sydney Robin. 3:34

Paul McCartney : Bass, Vocal Mick Green : Guitar Chris Whitten : Drums Mick Gallagher : Piano

Same as #3.

The Elvis uptempo deeper track. Same vocal effect as “That’s All Right, Mama” and it just doesn’t elevate the song at all. It’s not bad, it’s just not a killer vocal by Macca. Rating – 6.5

14. Midnight Special (Prisoner’s Song) Written by Traditional. 3:59

Paul McCartney : Bass, Vocal Mick Green : Guitar Chris Whitten : Drums Mick Gallagher : Piano

Same as #3.

Another one that doesn’t come out as smooth as the recording. Traditional track with another set of lyrics from other versions I’ve heard. It’s nice, one I would dance with my cat with behind closed doors…. Rating – 6.5

The complete version of these sessions that have been release comes out with a rating of 7.57/10.

Paul goes to old rock during tough times, and this cleansed his palette for the next major release.

—————————————————

In August Paul laid down demos to “Good Sign,” “Distractions” and “Pick It Up.”

Also in August he worked on two Cold Cuts songs, “Same Time, Next Year” and “Mama’s Little Girl.”

He made the decision to start included all of these unreleased tracks could come out as bonus tracks on CD singles. So over the next ten years this would begin to happen. He would tidy up the songs prior, sometimes make it better than the original mix, sometimes not.

Both these demos would come out in 1989-90 era.

He did a session in September with the band Spirit Of Play and recorded and produced a song called “Children In Need.”

He got back together with Elvis Costello in this time frame and they worked a few months on laying down demos to the songs they had written.

Elvis envisioned an album that THEY co-released, but Paul had another idea. They recorded 9 demos.

Paul did another one off session for Linda. They did “Endless Day” and “Poison Ivy.” Little by little, a song or two every few years and Linda was getting close to a full album.

In December 1987 he had sessions for the music and voice for the short animated film, “Tropic Island Hum.”

Finally, on December 21st-24th he did the first official session in what would end up being his next album.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, it’s now going to be 1988…..

We’ll go over my rating of the proposed 1987’s “Return To Pepperland” album… next.

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