On June 7th 1993, Paul’s first eight post Beatles albums were re-released on CD as “The Paul McCartney Collection”, which remastered all of the discs for the first time after they had all been released in this format since the mid 1980’s BUT this time there was added “bonus tracks” that were associated with each release.
On August 9th, the remaining nine were released (up to FLOWERS IN THE DIRT). A box set of 16 discs was available to the Japanese Beatles Fan Club.
These bonus tracks were sometimes not really the correct tracks associated with each albums release date, and this error has been corrected for the most part on the remastered again “archive” and deluxe “archive box sets.”
I remember at the time, that there was debate over the quality of sound on these and each of all future remastering of his output as compared to the original vinyl.
The first album by The Fireman (STRAWBERRIES OCEANS SHIPS FOREST) was released on November 15th, and only those in the know were the ones that bought it initially. Future released by Paul and Youth albums would all feature a sticker indicating Paul’s involvement.
With the release of OFF THE GROUND, each of the singles pulled from it in featured extra tracks that were recorded during the same time frame but did not make the album’s final selection. It was another period of amazing productivity for Paul.
The Remaining Tracks
“Sweet Sweet Memories” Released as a B-Side on the “Off The Ground” single. Some of the lyrics are borrowed from the poem “On A Certain Lady At Court” by Alexander Pope.
A nice uptempo track that seems perfect for a drive on a country road on a crisp fall afternoon. Amazing production on this (and the album) and Paul’s voice is a strong as ever, on this song and on (and the album) and it’s bonus tracks. Another song that makes you want to dance with a less than enthused cat or dog. Rating – 8.5
“Style Style” Released as a B-Side on the “Off The Ground” single, and likely inspired by Linda (“She’s got an American accent / From head to the toes“). Another mid temp rocker, that grabs you right from the beginning. How did these songs not make the final cut, and “Winedark Open Seas” did? Crisp, clean and great performance by the entire band.
Rating – 9
“Kicked Around No More” released as a B-Side on the “Hope Of Deliverance” single.
Smoky jazzy track, with 10cc style backing vocals. Paul delivers a heartfelt lyric, occasionally hitting the limit of his register. The middle eight is dreamy. Damn… these bonus tracks could have made OFF THE GROUND a wonderful double album.
Rating – 8.5
“Keep Coming Back To Love” Released as a B-Side on the “C’Mon People” single, and co-written with Hamish Stuart. “Hamish Stuart is a really good soul singer and because he’s in the group and he’s a writer, it was a natural thing to suggest, ‘why don’t we try to write together?’ We wrote a couple. I think our voices blend amazingly well together when we sing harmonies.” – Paul
It starts slow and jazzy before the funky intro and yes, Hamish and Paul sing the shit out of this one. Rating – 9
“I Can’t Imagine” Released as a B-Side on the “C’Mon People” single.
The song includes a psychedelic ending with percussion and electric guitar, an excerpt from a four minute instrumental called “On A Pedestal” written in France during the same sojourn that inspired “I Owe It All To You”.
It starts out folky before turning into a mid-tempo toe tapper. Paul’s double tracked vocals and backing vocals and the bands backing vocals are magnificent. The middle eight instrument and acoustics makes the
Song feel lighter than air (in a good way). The 1 minute play-out coda
Is sweet. Rating – 8.5
“Soggy Noodle” A 28 seconds long instrumental, with Paul McCartney playing electric guitar. It was used at the beginning of the Off The Ground promo film, and released as a B-side of the Off The Ground CD single. Would have been nice if this was attached to a song on the album as a lead. Rating – 8
“Down To The River” A folk-country song released as a B-Side on the “C’Mon People” single. Before being recorded in the studio, it had been performed live during the Unplugged 1991 Summer tour.
A perfect song for the unplugged period, with Paul on harmonica. Get you partner and bring her to the dance floor. The lyrics are only ‘take me down to the river, where the water flows.’ But the band is the highlight.
Apparently written by Paul over a recent morning’s muesli, [Down to the River is] a catchy skiffle-style romp about “going down to where the waters flow”, marked by a true McCartney concert first – mouth-organ playing. Not for him, though, the Dylan-style neck appendage to keep the instrument in place, instead it was the duty of special assistant John Hammel to join Paul centre-stage and physically hold the harmonica adjacent to the microphone. Rating – 8
“Cosmically Conscious” “Cosmically Conscious” is the last song of 1993 album “Off The Ground“. While appearing on the same track as “C’mon People“, it cannot really be considered as a hidden track as it is listed on the album track list “And remember to be ….. / … Cosmically Conscious“. The album version lasts almost two minutes, and a full length 4:39 version was released as the B-side of the “Off the Ground” single.
“Cosmically Conscious” has been originally written in 1968 during the Beatles’ stay in Rishikesh. The lyrics were inspired by their mentor at that time, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who used to frequently use expressions such as “cosmically conscious” and “it’s a joy“.
“Cosmically Conscious” has been played live only once, during the Change Begins Within benefit concert in April 2009. This event raised 3 million dollars for the David Lynch Foundation’s cause of teaching one million children the technique of Transcendental Meditation (TM). For the rendition of “Cosmically Conscious“, Paul was joined by Ringo Starr on the drums (the previous event where the two played together was in November 2002 for the Concert For George) and various other guests.
My goodness, do I love this one.
Besides the message that the world has ignored (Paul told us in 1993 about the death of the Earth). Fantastic Sgt. Pepper effects and sounds throughout. Rating – 9
“Long Leather Coat” “Long Leather Coat” is a song co-written with Linda, recorded during the sessions for 1993 album “Off The Ground“ and released as a B-Side on the “Hope Of Deliverance” single.
Another song about animal cruelty, around the time activists were throwing paint on people sporting their precious animals furs and leathers…
Linda is featured here more than any other song. Interesting middle eight that changes the melody without changing the tempo. Robbie’s guitar churns throughout. Rating – 7
“Big Boys Bickering” “Big Boys Bickering” is a song recorded during the sessions for 1993 album “Off The Ground“, released as a B-Side of the “Hope Of Deliverance” single. It is one of the rare protest songs ever recorded by Paul – and one which makes a repeated used of the “f-word”.
In March 1990, Paul and his band performed in Japan, for the first time since his 1980 visit which ended by 10 days in jail for marijuana possession. From the “New World Tour” tour book:
It was hard re-visiting Tokyo after my drugs bust. It was some kind of exorcism. We knew that we had to go there on the tour. The first few nights we had strange dreams and screaming headaches. But while I was there I wrote Big Boys Bickering and for the first time in a song, I used the word ‘fucking’ which I knew would upset some people.
I think it was my first protest song since Give Ireland Back To The Irish. I’ve avoided them, thinking, This is for the politicians, or sometimes, I can say it in interviews. You have to be very incensed to find the inspiration to do it right. I think there’s a bit of John Lennon inspiration in this one. It’s Lennonesque to my mind anyway. John wouldn’t have thought twice about saying ‘fuck’ in a song.
But when you think of the ozone layer being depleted, a 50-mile hole over the world that’s going to kill us if we don’t do something, and then you think of what happened at the Rio summit, do you think of that as a ‘flipping hole’ or a ‘fucking hole’?
“I’m proud of it. I’m not a teenybopper. I’m an artist. I’ve written serious stuff before and I’m writing it now. You don’t like it, don’t buy it.
I don’t usually use swear words in a song because it can sometimes seem a bit gratuitous, like you’re just trying to shock, but then again I don’t normally go for songs about animal experimentation and when you’re in that hard area these words start to creep in. I’m certainly not a great user of swear words in front of the kids but occasionally – like in ‘Looking For Changes’ – it’s essential to the plot.
The only strange thing is that I haven’t done it before. I mean, I played ‘Big Boys Bickering’, with the “f’ word, to Paul Simon and he said “Have you ever used that word before?” and I said no. But that doesn’t matter – I think I’m allowed to use it once in every 50 years, don’t you? Once in every 50 years I’ll use that word – stick around for the next time. – Paul
Paul played the song live during the MTV Up Close concert, but it was logically censored due to its usage of the “f-word”, which created a bit of a buzz orchestrated by Paul’s press officer, Geoff Baker. Wix’s accordion gives the song an Italian flavor.
Rating – 7
“Deliverance” The Steve Anderson 12” remixes. One comes in at 8:31 and another at 7:32. Were people really dancing to this in clubs??? This was that 10 year period of 12” dance singles…. Rating for both – 7
Next…. A quick look back at the 1991 Unplugged show, album and small tour. I get so excited to get to the dinner, I forget to describe the appetizers….
And then we start on 1994…..a seemingly quiet year for Paul in which MAJOR events were brewing at home…