At some of the most stressful times in his life, classic rock and roll from his past has eased Paul’s pain and anxiety. After a period of poorly received and reviewed projects from 1983-1987, Paul found comfort in the 1988’s CHOBA B CCCP release.
After Linda’s death in early 1998, he did nothing for a year, until deciding to begin again with songs he knew and loved from the beginning.
Working with the same band he had so much success with the past decade was no longer an option, since I can only imagine this would constantly remind him of the missing member, his Lin.
So he rang up some of his closest and ultra talented friends to help him break out and begin to create again. It started as just playing and talking and listening and soon turned to recording and ended up with an amazing gig at The Cavern Club, performing many of the songs from Run Devil Run in front of a small band of McCartney lovers.
Like the album or not like the album, this is a vital work of musical therapy for Paul.
I bought everything and watched all the videos as they came out and as a fan with a broken heart, each song helped heal me in a very different selfish way. Our Paul was back, and putting his heart and soul on display in every track.
The next few years after this would be tough years as a fan, but for now let’s rate RUN DEVIL RUN and find out what inspired Paul on every track…
Who made the album
Paul- Bass Guitar/Vocals
Mick Green – Electric Guitar
David Gilmour – Electric Guitar
Ian Paice – Drums
Pete Wingfield – Piano/Hammond organ
Dave Mattacks- Drums
Geraint Watkins- Piano
Geoff Emerick, Paul Hicks – Engineer
Chris Thomas – Producer
“Blue Jean Bop” (Vincent/Levy)
First released in 1956 by Gene Vincent.
“I remember hearing Blue Jean Bop on an album that I think John had; going to a place near Penny Lane for the afternoon, having a ciggy, and just listening to records. Blue Jean Bop was always one of my favorites. The first record I ever bought was Be Bop-A-Lula. We loved Gene.”
Brilliant guitar work and bass. Rating -8
“She Said Yeah” (Williams)
“Yeah. Sexy song. Yeah, man. She Said Yeah was a Larry Williams song. And it was really one of my favorites of his. In fact it was my favorite of Larry’s. He did some other good songs like Bony Moronie and stuff, which were big hits. But it was always a song I loved. And always wanted to get round to doing. In actual fact, I think, I remember turning Mick Jagger on to it. I remember distinctively having him up in to a little music room and I was dancing away, showing Mick and he loved it.”
Paul tears this one up. Rating – 8.5
“All Shook Up” (Blackwell/Presley)
Blackwell wrote the song at the offices of Shalimar Music in 1956 after Al Stanton, one of Shalimar’s owners, shaking a bottle of Pepsi at the time, suggested he write a song based on the phrase “all shook up.” Elvis thought “All Shook Up” was a good phrase for a refrain. For this he received a co-writing credit, his last.
“Oh yeah. I tell you why I have the loveliest memory of All Shook Up. I mean, we were mad Elvis fans before he went in the army. He could do nothing wrong. We just thought he was fantastic. I had a mate of mine, who I still know, he’s called Ian James, and he was my best mate. So we used to wander round like these fairgrounds, you know, hoping, thinking the girls would come flooding to us, ’cause they never took any notice of us. I remember feeling bad one day, me and Ian, it’s like, you know, it’s teenage blues, so he said, we’ll go back to his place. And he lived in the Dingle, where round by, where Ringo lived. And we went in there and he had All Shook Up, Elvis. He said, just put that on. Well, after we put that on, I swear, the blues had gone, the headache had gone, we were like new people. And, so, you know, I just love that song so much for being able to do that.”
They take it up a notch faster and it works. Paul has never sounded better.
Rating – 9
“Run Devil Run” (McCartney).
The title originated from the name of a brand of bath salts or Run Devil Run oil a folk remedy to ward off evildoers which McCartney had picked up at Miller’s Rexall Drugs, a hoodoo store in Atlanta.
The mock up of a shop with the name “Run Devil Run” on the album cover is of Miller’s Rexall Drugs, with the name altered to fit the title song.
“I was in Atlanta with my son and he wanted to visit the funky side of town. So we went down there and were just wandering around the block and we came across this sort of voodoo shop selling cures for everything. I was looking in the shop window and I saw this bottle of bath salts called Ran Devil Run. I thought that was a good title for a song. So when I was on holiday after that I started thinking of words for it and it came quite easily – ‘Run Devil run, the angels having fun, making, winners out of sinners, better leave before he’s done, and when he gets through he’ll be coming after you, so listen to what I’m telling you, run Devil run.’
Yeah, I’m getting the bath salts and I’ll be taking a bath with them. Not that I have got many demons to get rid of but there may be one or two lurking and this stuff is definitely going to do the trick.”
Similar in feel to “All Shook Up.” Paul, again, he blows out the doors with the killer band. I know it’s not her, but the backing vocal on the word RUN sounds like Linda. Rating – 9
“No Other Baby” (Bishop/Watson)
“No Other Baby was a strange track, because I didn’t have a record of it. I didn’t know who’d recorded it or who’d written it. But I knew I loved the song from late ’50’s. And so that was one I pulled out my envelope, say, anyone know this. They said, no. They had really no idea. I’d barely knew it. But I just remembered it, and remembered the verses. It’s just a simple song. And I always wanted to do it. I found out that it was recorded by an English group who were like a skiffle group. And they were called the Vipers. They were like a favorite little skiffle group of ours.”
I thought that Paul had written this on first listen, as it perfectly captured what he was feeling at the time. Great music video for it shows Paul as his most isolated moments within the storm till it has been ridden out. Great ending with Paul taking the vocal from soft to growl.
Rating – 9
“Lonesome Town” (Knight).
“Well, it’s, it’s got to be a bit sad Lonesome Town because of my kind of circumstances now, you know. When I first heard it, it was just a nice ballad. It was just a ballad for lonesome people. And that was ok. Ricky Nelson did it. So I always liked the song and I always thought, one of these days I might do that.”
Sad sad sad…. This must have been a gut wrenching song for Paul to record, as his loneliest period in his life. Rating – 8
“Try Not To Cry” (McCartney)
“Some songs come from, like, an idea. And this one came from a very specific idea. When you’re mixing a record, it’s really good if you can get like, let’s say, a lot of bass drums come through. And sometimes the words go over the bass drum. So you got to favor the words. So you don’t get enough bass drum. So I thought, ah, I know, just as a little exercise, I’ll work, I’ll work out a song, was actually not the bass drum, was the snare drum, I’ll work out a song that avoids the off beat. So it was like, Sometimes, I’m right, sometimes, I’m wrong. Put the song in the gaps. Yeah, so that was like the whole idea of the song and I put some words, you know, filled out all the words. So it worked out fine, but it was, was kind of like a little formula. I’m really pleased with it, actually.”
Another self written healing song. The band rocks but this one doesn’t quite knock it out of the park. Rating – 7
“Movie Magg” (Perkins).
This was the first song Carl Perkins wrote.
“I knew Carl, he was a great old country boy who used to pick cotton and he’d have all these stories. This one is about his girlfriend Maggie, who he’d sometimes take to the movies on his mule, old Becky. They had no car so they rode to the movie show. And it’s true.”
A toe tapper, sung straight forward by Paul, with a nice instrumental break guitar by Dave Gilmour. Macca’s voice is light and sweet, almost air-like.
Rating – 7.5
“Brown Eyed Handsome Man” (Berry)
“Yeah, this is just a real nice song that Chuck Berry wrote. And we used to know Buddy’s version of it. I think John used to do it a bit, when we were looking for songs. It was one of John’s. I always liked it, it’s a mouthful. But I just love it. It just pulls it up. To meet the brown eyed handsome man. It’s good, good lyrics in there. As I told you, Milo de Venus was a beautiful girl, she had the world in the palm of her hands. She lost both her arms in a wrestling match to find the brown eyed handsome man, you know. There’s a great humor in that. And it scans great and it sings great. That’s the stuff about that, that’s the secret about this stuff. You can write the cleverest lyrics that don’t sing good. But I liked a lot of Chuck’s things. And so like Back In The U.S.A. was the catalyst for me writing Back In The U.S.S.R. Was like a spoof on Chuck’s stuff. So I respect him a lot as a songwriter.”
The bands best performance on the album. They make you want to find the dog and start dancing. I wish Paul had kept up with the intro bass line play, but he kept it traditional the rest of the way.
Another great music video, showing various groups of peoples and ethnicity dancing. Rating – 8.5
“What It Is” (McCartney)
“Yeah. While I was getting the lyrics and thinking about what songs I was gonna do, I was writing at the same time. So rather than write a ballad, I thought, well, since I’m gonna do a rock ‘n’ roll album, I might as well write a couple of rockers. That might come in handy. We might not have enough stuff. And also I liked doing that. I liked trying to do it. They’re actually very hard to write, rock ‘n’ roll. It’s, it’s, you talk to most songwriters, they say, it’s easier to write a ballad, although they perhaps sometimes seem harder to write. It’s difficult to get things sounding genuine in rock ‘n’ roll.
So I think it all started with one of the songs called What It Is, that I was just starting on piano. I was just writing a song anyway, with half an idea that I might be doing this rock ‘n’ roll album in the back of my mind. And I actually wrote that when Lin was still alive. So it was a nice song to sing to her. You are what it is. So that had kind of, you know, sentimental attachments to me on that. That’s really the only story about that song. I wrote it for her.”
A classic McCartney rocker, which he delivers vocally and in every other way.
This band kept up with he and he pushed them hard…. I love this one…. Rating – 9
“Coquette was a B-side of Fats Domino’s, that, I always liked the tune. Hear me, why you been fooling, little Coquette. It’s just a charming little song and I always loved it, you know. And it was just one of mine that I always meant to do one of these days, either with the Beatles or, it never came up. So, I just remembered it. I thought, right, got to do that one. So that’s one, that’s got a bit of a retro sound. It’s, it’s really me doing Fats, you know. I love it so much that I couldn’t do it any other way.”
I wonder if Fats like Paul doing him. Even more Fats than “Lady Madonna.” If you like the fat man, then you will love this one. Otherwise it’s a sweet 1950’s piano driven love song. Rating – 8
“I Got Stung” (Schroeder/Hill)
“After Elvis got out of the army I Got Stung was one of the ones he did then. And I remember us not being too keen on it. But recently I just sort of remembered the opening. Holy smoke land sakes alive, I never thought this could happen to me. I just loved that intro. So I thought, got to do it, you know. Just ’cause of that intro. So I take it down, got the words. I couldn’t get most of them off the record. I finally actually got a lyric sheet on that one. So I did it. And we just did more of a shouty version than Elvis’s version.”
Good, but I’m not moved like some of the others. Paul does indeed do a shouty version. Rating – 7
“Honey Hush” (Turner).
Written by Big Joe Turner. Paul was more familiar with Johnny Burnette’s version.
“John and Stuart used to have a flat in Gambier Terrace. I remember waking up, burning eyes job, and one of the guys put on “Come into this house, stop all that yakety yak.” It’s still my favorite on the whole album to sing.”
A great song to start with, that I didn’t know was this at the time… I always loved the Hi Ho Silver refrain… and now I knew the origins. Gilmour’s guitar is off the chain….and this is good. Rating -8
“Shake A Hand” (Morris)
“There was one jukebox in Hamburg, that a few of the guys used to go. This pool hall, I think it was, a pool table there. And there was one jukebox there, that had a couple of records there the other jukeboxes didn’t have. So you’d visit that jukebox. You couldn’t buy the records. You had to go to the jukebox and get the words.
Sitting there and putting it on in, in a bar, you know. So there was this one and it had Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by the Platters, which was gorgeous, love that, but my favorite on that jukebox was Shake A Hand by Little Richard. And I never had the record, I haven’t to this day. But I remembered it. And I just thought, I love that so much, I love to do that one. So I did that pretty much like Richard did it. He taught me everything I knew. Paul, you know I taught you everything. It’s true, it’s true, Richard.”
A nice one that takes a breather. After all, you can’t have an album that is rip roaring rockers. Paul’s best vocals on the album. Wingfield’s piano work sets the pace. Gilmour takes the second instrumental break like the master he is. Paul leaves nothing on the field.
Rating – 9
“Let’s Have A Party was from, Elvis did it, I think in Loving You, the second movie. And it’s just a great song. And there were words again, as kids we could never quite get the words. And there was no authority you could consult. It was just us, thankfully. It was kind of nice it was just us. But, there was, I never kissed a bear. And we always used to think it was I never kissed a goo. We didn’t know what a goo was, but that’s what it sounded like. So we were always doing, never kissed a bear, never kissed a goo, like a chicken-chicken in the middle of the room, let’s have a party. So when it came to it, I was, I kept singing, never kissed a goo. And all the guys went, what is that. We looked it up and it said, never kissed a goon, which I don’t think is a whole lot more sensible, either. I never kissed a bear, I never kissed a goon. Well, I’m not sure about the story, the derivation of that. Again, some great archivists will be able to tell us what happened there. But I just like the madness of the words, you know.”
I am glad with this rock ‘n’ roll album. That I have got back to my roots, so it is, it will reassure anyone who thinks, oh, he’s gone all classical now. That, that’s not the case, you know. It’s just another of the things I do. I still love my kind of rock ‘n’ roll music.”
Like the last song of the night by the band, they invite you to the floor and leave you breathless and satisfied and wanting no more…. Rating – 9
The album grades out at 8.3/10, very representative of the quality of this release.
Released on 4 October 1999 in the UK, and a day later in the US, reaching number 12 in the UK and number 27 in the US.
To stimulate sales, a number of different bonus discs and singles were issued to accompany the album. Two special editions of Run Devil Run with limited-edition bonus discs were available only at certain retailers. A special limited edition of the album, sold only at Best Buy, featured a bonus interview disc.
A similar special limited edition of the album, sold only at Musicland and Sam Goody stores, featured a four-track E.P. that contained the original artists’ versions of four songs on the album: “Blue Jean Bop” by Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps, “Lonesome Town” by Ricky Nelson, “Coquette” by Fats Domino, and “Let’s Have a Party” by Wanda Jackson.
“No Other Baby” was released as a 7″ vinyl single in the UK with two songs on the B-side, “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” and a non-album track entitled “Fabulous“. In America, “No Other Baby” was released on a special juke-box single, with “Try Not to Cry” included as the B-side. “No Other Baby“, “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” and “Fabulous” were released together on two different CD singles, one of which contained stereo versions of the three songs and the other of which contained mono versions of the three songs. The music video for “No Other Baby“, which was filmed in black and white, highlights McCartney’s grief after Linda’s death.
McCartney filmed a performance at The Cavern Club as part of promotion for the album, on 14 December 1999.
Also, in the UK, all fifteen songs on the album, along with “Fabulous“, were released on 25 December 1999, as set of eight 7-inch singles sold together in a Run Devil Run Limited Edition Collector’s Box designed to look like a record case from the 1950s.
On release, Run Devil Run received several highly favorable reviews. McCartney biographer Peter Ames Carlin said that despite the rock and roll songs being written by others, the album is “the most deeply autobiographical album of Paul’s career“. Rhapsody praised the work, calling it one of their favorite cover albums.
This may be Paul’s most overlooked and underrated album, because it wasn’t ALL original material and not overtly promoted by Paul and the record company. And obviously it was a one off from the amazing collection of musicians who made this for me one of Paul’s best albums of his career. It healed him, and it healed me then, and today as I listened to it, it was as fresh and exciting as anything I have heard in a long while.
If you don’t have this album in your collection… get it now…. Go ahead, I’m waiting, now…
Next.. the remainder of 1999. New love and changes…..