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1989 FLOWERS IN THE DIRT (THE DEMOS)

Paul and Elvis

As described in a previous post, Paul and Elvis started work in 1988 on these songs. They worked at Paul’s house, and like the old days with John it was two guitars or a guitar and piano and they would knock out a song, then rush upstairs to record a quick demo of it while it was fresh and raw in their minds. Elvis thinks these were the purest versions of the songs that were eventually released by each. Elvis had wanted to make a complete album with he and Paul, but Paul backed off after these demos for reasons only they know. Paul then got together a new touring and recording band and remade most of the demos that were to be released by he, and then they were “properly” recorded with the aid of various producers in their final form as we know it.

Here I am reviewing both batches of demos, which legally saw the light of day on the archive edition of FLOWERS IN THE DIRT, which was released in 2015.

“Don’t Be Careless Love” A slower version that featured co-lead vocals. Acoustic guitars only. The same intensity on the verse, with Elvis handling the counter melody. Nice and sweet, though

“Veronica” Acoustic guitars only on the verse. Co-lead vocals on the verse, Piano on the chorus and middle eight (Elvis vocals only). Roughly the same tempo as the album version.
“Tommy’s Coming Home” Never released at all. Interesting song, that is quite good, except for one odd line (“and it’s/when it’s almost April fools day”) that doesn’t seem to fit. Excellent dual lead vocals.

“My Brave Face” Very lighthearted recording. Two acoustics with Elvis and Paul really over-belting out the counter melody at times. Co-lead vocals. Some slight changes in the key on some verses, but faithful to the final version.

“Twenty Five Fingers”. Another un-released version. What a shame, as their vocal arrangement is fantastic, almost manic at times other times slow and gentle, and finishes with a beautiful call and response. Paul’s counter vocals are amazing.

“Playboy To A Man” Released by Elvis on his album, MIGHTY LIKE A ROSE.
One guitar and one piano. Co-lead vocals sound excellent. Great little song that Elvis released with no Paul help in 1991.

“You Want Her Too” Acoustic guitar version, co-lead vocals (with Elvis and Paul both on the response vocal). No break on the middle eight. A quicker tempo then the final version. No circus into or outro.

“The Lovers That Never Were” Paul sings the lead with Elvis on backing vocals. Paul really lets loose vocally at points. One acoustic and one piano. Slower in points than the finished version.

“That Day Is Done” Piano based with gentle acoustic backing. Elvis handles the lead with Paul backing vocals. Slower and with different emphasis on certain phrases than on Paul’s final version.

“Step Inside Love” – Elvis solo on the McCartney 1966 penned single for Cilla Black. Paul played this all by himself during the filming of Let It Be.
A full fledged demo or un-released version. Nice version of this song, but slightly underwhelmed with Elvis’s vocals.

“You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”
Elvis solo of John Lennon’s 1965 Beatles song featured on the album and movie HELP. Multi tracked so not sure what the purpose of this was.

“One After 909” (live- See photos) Not part of the released demos, but accurate Beatles recreation with Elvis taking Johns part. Paul takes one lead verse on the middle eight. Acoustic guitars, so no electric solo…

“So Like Candy”. Co lead vocal (with Elvis more pronounced in the mix) and recorded on two acoustics that is the same tempo and feel like Elvis’s version from SPIKE.

“Shallow Grave” (Live) Elvis and his band tear through this Paul/Elvis co-written song, which eventually saw the light of day on Elvis’s ALL THIS USELESS BEAUTY album in 1994. Sounds a lot like “Pads, Paws and Claws.” No a head turner compared to others they worked on, but I am a completest.

Paul and The Band (the demos)


Paul re-recorded demos of the following songs with his new band, coming closer to the style and sound that would appear on the album. I guess he didn’t want the band to go after the he/Elvis sound they had done earlier in that year. Maybe this was also a way for them to learn the songs.

“The Lovers That Never Were” Very close in spirit without the frills. A much looser vocal given here with Paul straining at times he would not on the final version.

“Tommy’s Coming Home”. Paul attempts this song with his band and again rejected it in the end. Hamish handles the Elvis vocals. A slower version with a drum machine sounding percussion and Wix making strange sounds at the start and throughout. Still sounds good, even with the April fools lyrics. I think Wix even plays the accordion on this, which he has done with Paul live and in the studio.

“Twenty Five Fingers” Another attempt of a rejected song, like “Tommy’s” with Hamish handling Elvis’s parts. Interesting song that was given up on…. shame.

“So Like Candy” Paul does his version of the song that Elvis would release. Solo vocal except on the middle eight. Very good version with the light guitar work by Robbie and Hamish and drumming by Chris Whitten the highlight. A more rocking version than Elvis’s. Would have loved this version flushed out on FLOWERS but I guess Paul couldn’t get them all….. I wonder if they talked it out on who would get this one, who would get that one….?

“You Want Her Too” Very close to the final version with the final Elvis vocals left in as they would appear. A different Paul vocal being the only difference. Glad he re-recorded it, as this isn’t as strong. The lead guitar and drum tracks are different as well on this demo. Includes the circus intro and circus outro but no big band at the end. The bass line is mixed way up in this mix.

“That Day Is Done” Another fairly faithful stripped version to the final one, with Hamish again doing backups instead of Elvis.

“Don’t Be Careless Love” Again, another fairly close to the final version, just stripped down of the effects of the final. More of a reggae beat on the chorus, rather than the gospel feel of the final (only on the chorus). Paul enunciates at the same spots on the demo that he does on FLOWERS.

“My Brave Face” Elvis’s voice is heard on this version, a more flushed out version, getting much closer to the final. Organ is mixed way up and Elvis’s overdoes it on the demo, that was faded out in the final. A slightly different tempo and feel to it.

“Playboy To A Man” Paul really rocks taking the lead on this one, but again, Elvis had to get some of these songs. Would rather have had this than say “How Many People” on the final album. Magnificent version, thought Elvis does a very good job on his…. Just not as good.

“Mistress And Maid” Slow and plodding, unlike the final version on FLOWERS. Elvis handles co-vocals and they phrase it differently at a few points. Not the best version, like the one that would appear on Paul’s next studio album in 1993. This should have been lumped in with Paul/Elvis demos, but has Wix on Keys and Chris Whitten on drums so that is why Paul must have placed it with his bands versions.

“Distractions” Paul must have laid this down after he had written this. Feature him alone (double tracked vocals) on electric piano, drum machine and bass. No strings here either but some trippy sounds added at the end…groovy. But stripped down, still a fantastic song it is…..

Up next…. We’re going back in time to 1974’s McGear, the album Paul wrote, produced and wrote almost all for his brother, Michael. Wings played all of the instruments, albeit with a drummer who didn’t last past this album….

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More Of The Year 1989

Oops. One track we missed is another major movie for Paul to offer a title track for. In this case, the 1986 comedy-spy film starring Chevy Chase and Dan Ackroyd, “Spies Like Us.”

This movie seemed like a sure thing, with both leads still near the top of their drawing power. The movie itself turned out to be just fair, and not the blockbuster envisioned by the studio.

The song itself, as a single release only, did fairly well, reaching number 7 on the US charts, and was Paul’s last top ten single until 2015.

Paul plays most of the instruments, joined by Eddie Ayer on synths. It features a rather rocking beat, with a lot of hidden sounds and voices blended underneath.

Linda, Eric Stewart (recorded around the time of PRESS TO PLAY), Kate Robbins and Ruby James help out on backing vocals. The music video features Paul,Chevy and Dan and their two stars wives, in the studio, pretending to record it, and highlights and dialog from the movie.

A shaped picture disc and 12” featuring various extended versions was also issued. Not a bad song at all, but again, not the knockout movie Paul must had envisioned. Rating – 8

It was backed by “My Carnival” on the 45, a song finally seeing the light of day from 1975 VENUS AND MARS era. It was recorded by Wings and helped vocally by Benny Spellman and The Meters.

In February 1989, Elvis Costello’s great album SPIKE was released, and teased the work that he and Paul had worked on together that would come out on Paul’s release.

Spike

“This Town” – Paul plays a killer bass on the opening track. He works the fret board like a bug on a hot street. Rating – 8.5

“Veronica” Paul cowrote this first single from SPIKE. A song inspired by Elvis’s grandmother, who had begun showing varying signs of dementia. Paul again plays bass, but this time he dusted off the vintage Hofner, not the Rickenbacker he had been using since The Beatles. An uptempo song with touching lyrics that was a moderate hit for Elvis. Rating – 7.5

“Pads, Paws and Claws” The last co-written song on the album.

“The next day we wrote “Pads, Paws and Claws” – which took its title from a children’s book about big cats that I’d found in a junk shop,– then we dashed off a little rock and roll tune called “Twenty Fine Fingers.”

We were now working on two or three songs a day. Whenever Paul and I completed a number, we’d go downstairs to the recording studio on the ground floor and cut a demo with just two guitars or the piano.
They remain the most vivid and uncluttered versions of our songs.” – Elvis

Paul doesn’t appear on the track but I would suspect he contributed the middle eight, which features a sprightly acoustic tempo change. Rating – 8
We’ll review all of the demos they laid down together at the end of this chapter.

On May 2nd Paul helped out with the charity single, “Ferry Cross The Mersey.”

As many outside Britain will know, 95 Liverpool fans were crushed to death at a football match in Sheffield on Saturday 15th April, 1989. Everyone wants to help after such a disaster, but the question is ‘how’. Pete Waterman, of the vastly successful Stock Aitken Waterman writing/production team, drives to Liverpool every week to present a Saturday morning show on Radio City.

On the day in question, Pete’s show reflected the city’s anticipation of Liverpool’s Cup semi-final and the chance of a Final against local rivals Everton. Driving home that afternoon, he heard the tragic news on his radio and turned back to Liverpool to see what he could do. Most requested record by distressed listeners was not the football anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, but ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’.

Pete decided a charity version must be recorded and immediately contacted Mike Stock to prepare the backing track.

Paul too was anxious to do something, so was delighted to get the call from Pete Waterman. He immediately accepted Pete’s suggestion and the logistics of recording Paul’s contribution were sorted out between them there and then.

Good intentions aren’t enough: like any other single, a charity record needs the right ingredients to make an impact. Pete decided the public had become used to ‘massed choir’ charity records and so chose five Liverpool artists to give a personal, less crowded effect.

The others were Gerry Marsden, who as composer and copyright holder waived all his rights, Holly Johnson (once of Frankie Goes To Hollywood) and the Christian Brothers (band name: the Christians).

The single was released on 2 May. The B-side is ‘Abide With Me’ from the Liverpool Cathedral service the day after the tragedy.

L.I.P.A. February 1989

Fame – I wanna live forever!” Well, Paul can’t arrange that, but he can certainly do his best to ensure that Liverpool has its own School for the Performing Arts. Depressed on visiting his old school, the now defunct Liverpool Institute in 1988, he remembered a friend saying after the Toxteth riots that the city needed a Fame type school with moderate fees.

Paul mentioned the idea to George Martin and made some enquiries, culminating in a McCartney open letter in the Liverpool Echo of 24th February. Via the Echo, Paul asked the people of Liverpool to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the idea: the response was overwhelmingly in favour. “I am sure,” Paul had said, “that if the answer is a positive one we will be able to attract interest from many other sources.”
George’s experience suggests Paul is right: the London School for Performing Arts and Technology should open late next year in Croydon. The money is coming from the government (under its City Technology Colleges programme) and the music industry, with the site being donated free by the local council.

“The Institute encouraged us all to be individuals,” said its last headmaster, Jack Sweeney. “It gave us an atmosphere in which we could all develop.” Paul confirmed that he “got a great start in life there” and “would love to see other local people being given the same chance.” It looks as if his wish may come true… Another Institute product millionaire Steve Norris, became MP for Epping Forest in December. When head boy, he had to drag the truants back to school from the Cavern!… Rock is certainly flirting with cap and gown these days. Bristol teacher Tim Cain scored an immediate hit with his GCSE music coursebook, featuring illustrated rock classics… West Lothian College of Further Education offers an HNC Business Studies (Music Management) course, including law, economics and publishing – 80% of graduates have found work in the music business; one discovered Fairground Attraction; Simple Minds’ manager was so impressed he promptly hired a student…. L.I.P.A. is still thriving to this day.

Other tracks Paul recorded in 1989 are

“Seems Like Old Times” Started in 1978 and again revisited in 1980 (both home recordings) I only wish this song had been finished and released. I have the two versions and became aware of this song in 1989 (it is not a true 1989 song). Upon listening to the words, I was immediately brought back to the 1974 meeting of Paul with John Lennon during his “lost weekend period” in Los Angeles. He and John with Stevie Wonder, Harry Nilsson, Ringo Starr etc.. assembled in the studio for some maniac jamming, released as the bootleg “A Toot And A Snore.” I sensed that this song was an homage to that night, albeit unproductive, but a tiny taste of what Paul missed the most from his past.

   Lyrics to “Seems Like Old Times”

The other day I met someone I had known in another lifetime
Old puzzle pieces lost without a trace fell into place in my mind
But we both knew what we were getting into

And we didn’t wanna stop
No we wouldn’t wanna miss it
Cause it seems like old times
So like long ago that I hardly even know
Who’s who anymore
What’s new anymore
So like long ago that it seems like old times

Familiar music man singing me a song from another lifetime
When urgent letters waiting for the post were uppermost in my mind
But he got through
Then before we knew it

Well we didn’t want to stop
Now we didn’t wanna do it
Didn’t want to stop
Cause we wouldn’t wanna miss it
Well it seems like old times
So like long ago that I hardly even know
Who’s who anymore
What’s true anymore
It’s so like long ago that it seems like old times

When you reappeared and the moment I had always feared
Was upon me I felt slightly weird that’s for sure
Now life is good to me though I don’t see who I used to see
No it’s not quite what it used to be anymore that’s for sure

So the other day I met someone I had known in another lifetime
Old puzzle pieces lost without a trace fell into place in my mind
But we both knew what we were getting into

And we didn’t wanna stop
No we wouldn’t wanna miss it
Didn’t wanna stop
No I wouldn’t wanna miss it

Because it feels, (pauses after error) yes cause it seems like old times
So like long ago that I hardly even know
Who’s who anymore
What’s new anymore
So like long ago that it seems like old times

Seems like old times

Rating – 8 (for the more flushed out demo that I wanted more of)

Then again it could have been Paul working on a title tract to the 1980 film starring Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn.

You make the call…..

“Party Party” A funky song written by the entire band jamming at a rehearsal and then quickly turning into a song.
It was part of that cd ROCKS which I had bought prior to FLOWERS being released. It was filmed and included in the making of Flowers video. The entire band seems to be having a great time with this one. Rating – 7

“Good Sign” The B-side to the 12” extended release of “This One.” It’s just Paul, Robbie and Hamish. A very danceable track with all of the bells and whistles from this period of remixes and 12” singles. I have three different mixes of this song, and they all kind of same feel of many of the extended mixes of his material of the time. It now makes me think how much Paul still wanted to be relevant in the dance clubs (guess they weren’t called discos anymore). Nice, but dated in todays world. Rating – 7.5

“I Wanna Cry” Another ROCKS track and on the cd single (yes, they were a major part of this era) of “This One.” Paul attempts to give us another 12 bar blues, but this is clearly the weakest weapon in McCartney’s arsenal. Recorded during the sessions for CHOBBA B CCCP, and features Mick Gallagher on keys, Nick Garvey on bass and Henry Spinetti on drums. Paul handles the guitar and gives us a damn good solo on the break. Rating – 7

“All My Trials” The traditional song, recorded both in the studio and live (released in 1990 as a single on the Live Fantastic Highlights album) Hamish adds beautiful co-vocals at various points. Rating – 7

Included also in the CD single was McCartney’s tribute to John Lennon from the Liverpool concert where he did a mix of “Strawberry Fields Forever/Help/Give Peace A Chance.”

“The First Stone” Written by Hamish Stuart and Paul and added as a b-side to “This One” single and on the cd single as well. A social comment on religious people who judge others without ever checking their own personal behavior. This was the era of the PTL and various other televangelist scandals. A great little rocker, played by Paul, Hamish and Chris Whitten. Paul was open to writing with others in the 1980’s but it never went further with Stuart. Hamish and Paul share lead vocals…. Rating – 8

“Love Mix” Recorded in 1987 and intended for RETURN TO PEPPERLAND album. We’ll save the review for that album. It came out as a B-side eventually in 1997 on “Beautiful Night” single.

“Flying To My Home” The B-side to “My Brave Face” single. An outstanding mid tempo rocker, that dazzles at the start with wonderful group harmonies and is a wonderful homage to heading home from a destination. Paul’s distorted vocals are both confusing and amazing at the same time. Outstanding little deep deep track. Rating – 8.5

What an amazingly productive year from Paul.

Up next the demos…. Paul and Elvis and Paul and the new band…….

1989… the year that won’t end.

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FLOWERS IN THE DIRT (1989)

The cover, designed by Linda McCartney, is a strong blend of rich earth colors, reds, browns and yellows which reveal a discarded bunch of flowers, presumably scattered in the out of focus dirt. The title of the album is taken from a line of one of the albums tracks, “That Day Is Done.”

A lot of care and attention and hard work was put into making and promoting this album.

Paul was very active in all of the media, he filmed some of his most interesting music videos, and most of all he assembled the band that helped him record the album, and planned a world tour with them.

The tour would feature many of the album tracks, many more Beatles songs than he ever did before and a variety of oldies he had recorded in 1987 for CHOBBA B CCCP.

I had purchased SPIKE, released by Elvis Costello in February of 1989, and it contained three appearances by McCartney on it as well as the four co-written tracks he did on FLOWERS. We will review the SPIKE tracks in the next post.

The album opens with the first single, and the most hit-worthy song on the disc, “My Brave Face.” Writing it felt like he was writing with John, Paul said. Two guitars facing each other, jotting down chords and lyrics, his partner wearing thick black glasses like Lennon.

The song ends up being very Beatle-like with it’s… “take me to this place…” sounding like it could have been John from the afterlife inspiring Paul and Elvis. Outstanding vocals, a deep looping bass-line, and lyrics with an edge that Elvis gave to all of his contributions.

A full lush sound, with swirling organ by Mitchell Froom and David Rhodes on ebow guitar and three sax players (barely heard in the final mix) to round things out.

This would have been a mega-hit for Paul had it been released earlier in his career, and while it was lauded and praised, it didn’t crack the top 25, and was the last Macca single in the top 40 for over 25 years. Paul voice sounded spectacular throughout. What a great way to start an album. Rating – 9

“Rough Ride” Produced with Trevor Horn, who added keyboards and features co-producer Steve Lipson on bass and drum programming, Linda on harmonies and Paul, everything else.

“I was going to work with Trevor Horn and Steve Lipson, and I’d heard that Trevor takes a long time… so it seemed to me that it might be a good idea if we could try and limit him to a short period and see what we could get done… I said well I’ve got this crazy little thing that you won’t like, it’s called ‘Rough Ride’. He said I love the title already…it grew from a nothing little 12-bar and by the end of the second day we’d mixed it, which is pretty unheard of these days… they came back with a tarted-up version, and I said well I think it’s a Paul Goes To Hollywood… type of thing, so we kept the original.”

A nice funky second track keeps the train a moving…. Rating – 8

“You Want Her Too”. The second Elvis co-written song, the one which clearly showed the yin and yang of the two, with call and response vocals much like Paul and John. “It’s getting better” vs “It couldn’t get much worse” back in 1967 only this time it was “She makes me oh so wrong” vs “So, why don’t you come out and say it, stupid” in 1989. The slightly twisted circus organ opening by Costello, to the blending of the two verses on the chorus gave me insight into what a true McCartney/Costello album could have been. Edgy, sweet, daring and yet flying with the grace of a butterfly. This is as close as we would get.

Paul’s middle eight slows things down a bit, but the unexpected ending from the intro keyboards into the big band playout had me fooled. A sonic treat and deep cut I only wish we could have had more like this. Neil Dorsfman helped with the mixing and production, as he would on many of the 12” extended mixes for the album. Rating – 8

“Distractions” A change of pace at the right time. A latin edge to this gentle, strings driven love song gives us a chance to breathe.

Great lyrics by Paul, describing how life and love is effected by daily distractions. Hamish and Linda fill out the harmonies. A nice solo on acoustic by Paul during the break. So far, so good. Double tracking the lead vocals at the end was also a brilliant touch. Rating – 8.5

“We Got Married” Paul actually starting recording this one in 1984, an homage to love and marriage and happiness. Paul uses a Mexican guitar to start off the track, but it quickly gathers steam and takes off with the tempo change and instrumental break of guitar and trumpet, by David Gilmour and Guy Barker.

A nice track, but to me not a killer. The production does swallow Paul’s vocals up somewhat. Another he played on the tour. A change of direction into the play-out. Rating – 7

“Put It There” A sing inspired by one of the expression his father told him as a kid. If you are troubled…. Share with me…..I will help you. Put it there, in his hands, if the times seem too rough to go alone.

A lovely sentimental song, that was also released as a single. George Martin did the orchestration.

I’m sure Paul has told each of his kids this as they grew, and they have all turned out as fine adults, with varying degrees of fame.

When he played this one on the tour he added a coda after the last chord of the coda of “Hello Goodbye.” I can’t think of it any other way when I hear this song. Paul slaps on his legs for percussion. A good song with a great message. Rating – 8.5

“Figure Of Eight” The rocker. Paul released this as the second single and I’m sure he expected this one to blow the doors off, as he OPENED the show with this. On the first couple of listens this was my favorite track, but now come to realize that the best mix of this song was on the single release. A different and better mix for sure. This baby cooks, even as Paul occasionally strains to hit those notes on the verse, but like “Pretty Little Head” on PRESS Paul sometimes isn’t always the best judge of what takes/mixes to put in or leave out. A nice little rocker…. Hey, it has handclaps!!!!! Rating – 7.5

“This One” To sum up…. Amazing. This one gives me goosebumps. Another #1 hit had it been released in the 1970’s…. A sonic delight. A wild music video which I only wish they had somehow included George Harrison in some form… as this one always reminded me of him (on the chorus). The play-out changes at the end are scary good. Rating – 9

“Don’t Be Careless Love” Like “Waterfalls,” a song of caution to those we love. But this time we have a devilish lyrical mix of Elvis, who co-wrote this one (maybe most of it) with Paul. A gospel feel with lush harmonies and even fingers snaps. An odd song, but you hang on for the ride till the end. Rating – 7.5

“That Day Is Done” Another Elvis/Paul composition, with wonderful backing vocals. Another gospel feel to this one. The lyrics make me think this is more Elvis than Paul.

A nice middle eight takes the song on a short sweet journey into the final stanza. The album title come from this song. “She sprinkles flowers in the dirt, that’s when a thrill becomes a hurt, I know I never see her face, she walks away form my resting place.”

This is again more Elvis than Paul. He hasn’t written many gravesite anthems, has he? Rating – 8

“How Many People” A song written in Jamaica while on holiday – hence the reggae feel to it – “dedicated to the memory of murdered Chico Mendez, Brazilian Rain Forest Campainer.” The whole tour was in honor of “Friends Of The Earth,” as Paul really hammered home of taking care of the planet many decades before the world seems to be awakened…. Rating 6.5

“Motor Of Love” I always think of cats when I hear this…. The purring being their “motor of love.” But I don’t think it is about Paul and Linda’s cats. A big, very produced, full song, with again, a soulful gospel feel that goes on a bit too long. Rating – 7

“Ou Est Le Soleil?” Started in 1974 (“The Piano Tape”) and now presented in all of very late 1980’s mixes. Released also as a 12” extended dance single, this bit of programming and techno ends the album with a bang.

“A very wacky thing where we decided to make something up…Trevor said ‘Have you got anything for one of the verses?’ I said ‘Well I’ve got this really silly idea…’, which is like just some French words that say ‘Ou est le soleil? Dans la tete. Travaillez.’ Those are the complete lyrics…So we’ve got this silly French dance track now, which I love!- Paul.

Try and listen without shaking your ass….. I knew you couldn’t. A cheesy organ, wailing guitars, Paul doing voices…. It’s like an ice cream sundae for the feet…. Rating 8.5

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Wow, the album sound sounds great and deserving of the very good reviews it got back in the day. Paul was no longer the mega selling-return to #1 charts singles man, but this album showed a new direction for Macca. Making very good albums, a return to touring (where he is still a no doubt sell out man to this day), and fully embracing his Beatles past, even at the expense of his own solo and Wings career.

The album grades out as a 7.96/10. Nice!!

Next, all the songs we didn’t have on the album which were released in conjunction with this, and also a review of the Paul/Elvis demo tape, and a review of Paul/his band demo tape of these songs….

After that we will look back on two overlooked projects, 1974’s McGEAR and 1987’s RETURN TO PEPPERLAND. Then it’s on to the 1990’s.

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1989 – Planting Flowers

1989 started by beginning the mixing of tracks on all the completed songs. Paul completed 10 tracks from the next album this month.

Paul met with Alan Parsons in Alan’s home studio for a few days but nothing came out of this time.

Paul rounded out his recording and newest touring band by having Paul “Wix” Wickens join the band. This turned out to be one of the best moves of Paul’s career.

“When Paul was recording Flowers In The Dirt, my name came up from two friends who were working with him… Robbie McIntosh and Chris Whitten and I was asked down for an informal jam to “see how things go”. That was in February 1989, so I guess things went ok.” – Wix

Wickens has also worked with musicians such as Nik Kershaw, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Bon Jovi and many other artists. Wickens

As of then, he has appeared on many of McCartney’s albums and DVDs, and has become the musical director for many of McCartney’s tours. He continues to tour with McCartney (as his keyboardist, occasional guitarist and backing vocalist), and of all of the musicians that have walked the Earth, Wix has worked with Paul the longest by a considerable margin.

The album was basically finished by April of 1989, so the promotional wheels began rolling around this time.

A video for “Put It There” was shot on April 26th-28th.

Starting in May he appeared on TV shows broadcast in the U.K., France, Germany and Belgium.

On June 5th, his latest solo album was released worldwide. It was called “FLOWERS IN THE DIRT.”

It was an exciting time, and it was purchased on its release day. The first single released was a song he had written with Costello, called “My Brave Face.” It also featured an interesting music video about a Japanese man trying to own rare McCartney and Beatles memorabilia.

I was dating a wonderful woman at the time and I bought only the CD this time.

We heard rumors about a proposed tour and I quickly got two tickets for us to travel to Los Angeles by party bus to see him at The Forum that fall.

I had purchased a limited edition promotional CD a few months before called ROCKS.
It featured songs from previous Paul albums (with and without Wings).

The cover was the first time I saw Paul hair was beginning to turn white, like his brother’s (who even being younger had a full head of white hair).

I guess Paul saw this also, as he began from this point on till probably 2019 the dyeing of his always full head of hair.

ROCKS also featured songs I had never heard before (we’ll review these as part of songs of 1989 that weren’t part of the album.

I was visiting my parents in Florida when the new single was released.

I bought the cassette single to listen in my parents car as they drove me to the airport. Besides “My Brave Face” it also had a new song that wasn’t part of the album, and two tracks from CHOBBA B CCCP, which wasn’t available in the states.

I was so excited.

So after FLOWERS was released I arrived home with the CD and sat down to listen.

Next, reviewing FLOWERS IN THE DIRT.

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1988

The second session for what would become the next album took place from January 2nd-21st of 1988. Paul worked on four new songs, to go with the two started in December of the previous year.

Session number three continued in March, where Elvis and Paul recorded their versions of the demos of the songs they had written together. They laid down nine songs. These demos finally saw the light of day when the Archive Collection of the album came out in 2017.

Session number four started in April and running thru July featured most of the b-sides and bonus tracks, also two more songs that ended up on solo Linda’s album after her death, the demo for “Don’t Break The Promises,” (which 10cc would record and release).

On May 9th he recorded a song with Johnny Cash, that he wrote a few years earlier on a visit to Cash’s home in Jamaica.

Cash and fellow musician Tom T Hall showed up in Paul’s studio and together they modified the song, “New Moon Over Jamaica,” so they all got writing credits.

Linda and Tom T. sang backing vocals and Paul Played bass. Chris Whitten (played with Paul on CHOBBA B CCCP) played drums, and for the first time we see the name of Hamish Stuart (Average White Band) on guitar. These two would help form Paul’s next touring and recording band.

“New Moon Over Jamaica” Paul’s solo demo was written with a reggae beat. It is not much of a memorable song, but the final version Cash released on his album (in slow C&W style) is just dull.

Paul takes lead on a verse but even he can’t bring much life to this dud.

The harmonies of Paul and Cash just don’t work for me. Rating – 4.5

Paul took a month or so off then went into his home studio to lay down the ideas he was having.

Songs attempted included such titles as “Motor Of Love” (released in 1989), “Mambo Me Baby,” “Grand Entrance,” “So Long Blacky,” (what the ???) and odd bits such as “Guitar Fuzz Riff,” “Heraldic Fanfare,” “Current Affairs,” “James and Dad Jam,” “Come Back,” “Weird Drama Oscillator” and “Riff Matick.”

None of the songs besides “Motor” have seen the light of day.

From September thru November, Paul and his new Recording band, which now included lead guitarist Robbie McIntosh (The Pretenders), began overdubbing and mixing finished tracks for the next album.

The working with Costello had quickly ended, with no album coming out of it, as Elvis had envisioned.

Their relationship has still been good over the years since, but they have never created as a team since.

One thing, Costello persuaded Paul to dust off the old Hofner violin shaped bass of Beatles fame and use it in the studio. He did and plays only it in concert since then.

On a more personal note in 1988, Paul and Linda appeared on the British sit-com, “Bread.”

Les Paul gave Paul a custom-made Les Paul light.

Paul won the Silver Clef Award, and he also received an honorary doctorate from the University Sussex and finally “Yesterday” earned BMI’s million-air award, for radio air play.

On November 9th, Paul ventured into new territory by recording two new tracks that fall under the Classical style of music. “A Leaf” and “Spiral” were recorded, a sign of things to come in the next decade for Paul.

We finish 1988 off with another Buddy Holly week, Paul playing on and producing with the original Crickets on a song called “T-Shirt.”

1989 came, and Paul began the year how he finished 1988. Working on the new album.

1989 would bring Paul into many more living rooms, and on many concert stages with all these newly recorded songs.

It was to be called a comeback year for McCartney. Next…

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The REST Of 1986-87

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Paul did a one off concert appearance on June 20th at the Prince’s Trust Concert. He performed “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Long Tall Sally” and “Get Back.” This performance went great and featured Elton John, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Phil Collins, David Bowie and Mick Jagger and Mark Knopfler.

Much better than his Live Aid performance in 1985, where his vocal microphone didn’t work for the first two minutes of “Let It Be.”

Just around the time that PRESS TO PLAY was released (August 22nd) Paul went into his home studio and laid down the next set of song ideas.

Of the eight tracks two (“Loveliest Thing” and “Beautiful Night”) would eventually see the light of day and one would morph into a finished track (“Without Permission” became part of the final “Loveliest Thing).

Richard Niles was brought in the months of September and October in the last aborted attempt to put together the Cold Cuts/Hot Hits album. Richard had worked with Paul as arranger on THRILLINGTON, and was an ideal alternative to the unavailable George Martin.

The lineup proposed was…..

Blue Sway  Hey Diddle Mama’s Little Girl Twice In A Lifetime Waterspout A Love For You Did We Meet Somewhere Before Same Time Next Year Best Friend Cage Tragedy Thank You Darling Night Out Robber’s Ball

Like the first two attempts to get this project out, it never has seen the light of day, with most tracks available via bootlegs. We’ll discuss this at another time….

In December 1986 he did work on a track that would become a b-side on a CD-single in 1997. It was an instrumental called “Squid.”

He also cut the demo on December 29th for a song that would come out in 1989 called, “This One.”

1987 ——————————————————————————————

In February of 1987, Paul recorded a mashup of songs in which he was still in control of publishing wise.

He merged “P.S. I Love You” and “Love Me Do” into a dance mix called “P.S. Love Me Do.” While no official release has happened he performed this song in concert in 1989. It has gone down among Beatles and Macca fans as maybe the worst thing he had recorded and signed off on.

It may have been a thumbing his nose to Michael Jackson, who outbid Paul and Yoko and on August 14th, 1985 gained control of the vast majority of the Lennon-McCartney catalog.

This ended any friendship and all attempts by Paul to buy back “Yesterday,” or “Hey Jude” etc.. were all rejected by Jackson up to his death. Jackson even lost control of many of them to Sony as his legal and financial woes worsened.

In early February Paul worked with Duane Eddy, on his version of the “Rockestra Theme” for his self-titled album.

In March, Paul again started a new album, with another new producer.

Phil Ramone was brought in to work with Paul after his success with Billy Joel, Chicago, The Band, Madonna, George Michael and Elton John among many others.

George Harrison had returned to recording studio and produced the outstanding “Cloud Nine” album in 1986. He had a hit album, a huge single and George even embraced his Beatles past with the song “When We Was Fab” which featured Ringo and Paul in the music video.

So now, Paul was also filled with a new idea for his next album, and he and Ramone began working on an album he would have called RETURN TO PEPPERLAND.

He recorded versions of 11 songs, including “Return To Pepperland,” “My Big Day, “Peacocks”, all of which are unreleased as of today.

He also recorded “Atlantic Ocean” and an early version of “This One.”

He did manage to record the only single Paul would release this year. They knocked out “Once Upon A Long Ago,” and it’s b-side, “Back On My Feet.”

The latter was the first song that Paul was to write together with his newest collaborator, Declan McManus, otherwise better known as Elvis Costello.

Costello had sort of replaced Eric Stewart as the current muse for Paul and “Back…” was the first venture together.

“Once upon a Long ago” was released only as a single in the U.K. for Christmas, with an interesting video of animation combined with Paul and a band playing it on top of a huge mountain.

It was also placed on the U.K. version of Paul’s second greatest hits package, called ALL THE BEST.

The song selections differed in the U.S. version with the U.K. with the British version having 3 more songs, different songs and different versions of songs. Odd.

Paul and Elvis would work much more together for the next year or so and produce songs from both of them and future albums.

So, RETURN TO PEPPERLAND was never finished and released and the greatest hits package his only major release in the United States in 1987.

“Once Upon A Long Ago” Recorded in March of 1987 and released in late November of that year, it does have a Christmas like feel, which is featured in the animation part of the music video. It has a nice violin and sax solo (it is the 80’s, right?) And I believe this is the first time Paul worked with session drummer Chris Whitten, who would become his drummer for the next few years. A very slick recording and Paul was probably correct not releasing it anywhere but England. Rating – 7

“Back On My Feet” I again got excited when I heard that Paul was working with Costello, as he was also a favorite of mine since 1977. You can feel the effect that Costello had. An interesting melody, and lyrics that are far more interesting than anything Paul had written in many years. I loved his vocals and the play-out growling by Macca had me jumping around. Rating – 8

I was further excited to hear that they were continuing their work into 1988…..

Next… Paul does something for the Russian people. Paul then picks up the Hofner for the first time in a while and a forms a new touring band and he has many new songs to play with….

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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.

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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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PRESS TO PLAY (1986)

This was the first McCartney album in which I bought a CD first (that had more tracks included than the vinyl), also the vinyl, and I don’t think I bought any cassette or CD-single.

The album is titled, PRESS TO PLAY, like the instructions you got before listening to music in 1986.With walk-mans the thing, and now the CD had been introduced and older catalogs of artists were slowly coming out. The vinyl section gave up some room.

This was still baby steps. The McCartney catalog that would come out on CD and then in 1993 the entire catalog was remastered again, with altered bonus tracks. And then again on they are all remastered again with the newest digital and physical archive releases today, some costing up to $400 for the super deluxe box sets.

This album has not had that treatment. Paul released four singles from this album, only one had mild success.

He scrapped Eric Stewart without so much as a “where they do” and brought in the HOT producer, Hugh Padgham. One of the last things they worked on together was a lovely mid-tempo acoustic ballad they wrote together called, “Yvonne.”

Paul recorded an amazing version of it and it belonged being on PRESS somewhere?Eric, in one of the last 10 cc albums and a shell of the original four in 1973, released it in a much different arrangement and lyric. Rating – (Paul) 8.5 10cc – 4.5

Hugh Padham had just produced The Police and Phil Collins to MONSTER records in 1984-86, so naturally Paul wanted to sound as contemporary and radio friendly as they had… But he had about 10 songs which Eric Stewart had recorded, but not finished, and so they used those as launching pads and re-recorded and re-mixed all the tracks.

Stewart is credited throughout but they removed his soul in the final edit. I open it up still thinking he and Paul were working closely.

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The cover’s photograph was taken by George Hurrell, using the same box camera that he used in Hollywood in the 1930s and the 1940s. Hurrell was renowned for his photographs of movie stars of the 1930s and 1940s like Clark Gable and Greta Garbo, to which the album’s cover was meant to pay homage.

Paul and Linda look lovely but I was hoping for something different in a cover from Paul in 1986.

I would listen to the CD as best I could in my car (shaking player plug in and while jogging it was impossible), but would love it when I was tanning just around the corner from where I lived.

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“Stranglehold” Stewart co-write, started March 85. Nice opener, but the 80’s sax comes in, which wasn’t in the original mix. A good little track, the real horns sounds great. The drums by Jerry Morotta work fine, with minimal tinkering by Padgham. A single pulled from the album did poorly. Rating – 8

“Good Times Coming”/“Feel The Sun” An upbeat chant leads to the reggae up-beat first half of the track into the rocking second half. This time the basic drumming moves the stiff feeling flowing…. The slow change flowing into “Sun” was a very Beatle change. Stewart’s guitar is finally featured…. Could he have written two songs?, yes. He actually did. “Feel The Sun” exists in a much longer stand-alone version with more verses. On this version Linda sounds nice. Rating – 7.5

“Talk, More Talk” Paul tries to get trippy here with the voice adjustments added to family quotes before getting to the rocker. A bit of difference in the rocking Paul voice was noticed here…. It has become what it is….but I heard the first inkling here. It tries with a few spiritual sounding changes, before the voices carry us out….Grey Flannel Trousers Indeed!!! Rating – 6

“Footprints” The hidden GEM of The album. “it’s beautiful outside sparked this gem. Slightly off kilter sound give it edge. The acoustics and percussion are amazing. A tad long. Nice subtle enhancements throughout. Rating – 8

“Only Love Remains” This single finishes side one. Now this one should have been the piano based album closer he was popping out like marshmallow peeps. This one works better than nearly all of the others. They now mix his vocals slightly in the back with a bit of echo. Odd. A slow mover that Linda brings into a strong middle eight. Rating – 8

Side two.

He wants us to push “Press.” The music video has a relaxed (very) sporting a changing hair color in the tunes as a every man Singing with the locals. He raps a bit. They do this to run him into MC McCartney……sigh..

It doesn’t sound bad, he’s just trying too hard to sound young and vital. Lots of Linda on the play-out. He has never sang one of this albums songs in concert since returning to the stage in 1989.

And BACK TO THE EGG. That album also hasn’t come out with archive editions…. Hmmm. Rating. – 6.75

“Pretty Little Head” Various mixes of this song exist. It’s kind of a consensus that the single mix is the best and this album version and the extended mix (on the now obligatory 12” single with each 45 and CD single release) is not. Rating – (this mix) 5.25

“Move Over Busker” Another Paul rocker, with free thought lyrics about nothing that made since. A nice toe-tapper. Linda and Eric help out. The last verse features some adventurous bass. Paul’s vocal mix is buried. Nice but harmless. Rating – 6.5

“Angry” Helped by Pete Townshend and Phil Collins, Paul’s screams at us in this new wavy song of his anger. I don’t feel it…. Rating – 6.5

“However Absurd” Paul tries his best to capture that Beatles feel on this track which ends the vinyl release. It also features silly lyrics which I heard in my head as he was singing them. Big “Ringo” sound by Jerry Marotta on drums sound really nice. Paul affected vocals didn’t affect me. A terrible middle eight doom this heavyweight dud. Rating – 5

“Write Away” A CD only track and on one of the singles. An odd drum track and bass and that 80’s guitar by Carlos Alomar. Not enough there for me…. Rating. – 6.5

“It’s Not True” A defense of someone…..Linda, maybe? A slow starter that soon becomes too layered in all that production. The sad 80’s sax solo.. Rating – 5

“Tough On A Tightrope” It had a chance to be very good and the layers of bad production wash it away. Not a bad middle eight and guitar break by Stewart. Rating – 7

In the inside gate-fold Paul draws what he wants each song sound to look like in a visual drawing. It is quite interesting and accurate.

Over all PRESS gathered a rating of 6.62/10.

I think this rating captures it’s inability to latch on to the public and Paul again searched elsewhere for hits…

1986…. Another return to Cold Cuts! Phil Ramone, and a new concept that again doesn’t get released.

Next.

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After Broad Street (1985)

In 1984 Paul also helped out two others with their projects. The band Ivory, he wrote “Runaway” and “Freedom Land” on their album that would be titled, PRINT OUT.

He also helped out pals, and idols of his, The Everly Brothers, whom had reunited and Paul wrote the lead single and opening track, “on The Wings Of A Nightingale.” An outstanding song, designed with the two brothers distinct style in mind. Paul does a wonderful demo and it was released officially on an archive set. Rating (Paul’s demo) – 8.5

In the early part of 1985 Paul finally took some time off. Had been very busy three years for Paul. They finished his home studio in Scotland and it was to be called Hog Mills Studio.In the March to May time frame he assembled with Eric Stewart.

George Martin advised Paul to make his next albums producer and musician, Eric Stewart.

And they worked on and laid down ideas and demoed and by the release they had co-wrote 10 songs in this time. I’ve heard these demos and they are very good, but different than the final mixes that would come out in 1986, with Hugh Padgham running the show.

Eric tells the story of the period of recording what would become 1986’s, PRESS TO PLAY.

Beside George Martin, Steve Shrimpton, McCartney’s manager at the time, confirmed the offer. Linda then suggested he and McCartney meet to write together for the album. Paul said he’d always liked 10cc and felt they could collaborate well.

It was snowing outside when Stewart arrived at McCartney’s home studio, and the first thing he said on entering was ‘It’s so beautiful outside’. McCartney immediately started improvising with that line and it became ‘Footprints‘.

They wrote a lot very quickly (including ‘Angry‘ and ‘Stranglehold‘), but Stewart began to get a bit uneasy about the fact they didn’t seem to be completing any. Stewart was used to concentrating on one song and finishing it, whereas here they were going from one ‘sketch’ to another.

Then Stewart was surprised when one morning McCartney said in a matter of fact fashion that he’d asked Hugh Padgham to engineer and co-produce. Stewart didn’t mind ceding the engineering duties because he wanted to play on the tracks, but he resented sharing production with someone he viewed as a rookie in that department.

But they met up, Padgham said he was a big 10cc fan, and that he was busy anyway working with Bowie on ‘Tonight’ and wouldn’t be around for a while, and Stewart and McCartney continued as before.

The first day they worked on ‘Angry‘ and McCartney was delighted with the rough mix. ‘Tell that man of yours he’s a bloody genius,’ he told Stewart’s wife.

Then after a while Padgham turned up, brought in other musicians and Stewart was also frustrated that Padgham ‘wasn’t coming up with any musical production ideas at all’.‘I therefore wondered if Paul was possibly getting worried about whether or not the songs were good enough and that maybe he hoped that if he left them alone for a while they might perk up when he went back to work on them later.

Whatever the reason I was completely in the dark with this strange scenario going on around me‘.The other problem was that Stewart and his wife enjoyed Paul and Linda’s friendship and he was disinclined to risk damaging that with an argument.

Stewart later found out that Padgham had told his manager that he didn’t rate any of the initial work but hoped they’d come up with something better later. ‘It’s a pity that he didn’t mention this to us earlier!‘

Then things got worse. Stewart was in the control room with Padgham when Paul was singing a vocal. Stewart asked Padgham to get Paul to do a verse again. Padgham pressed the talkback button and said sarcastically, ‘Do that verse again, Paul, he doesn’t like it‘. So a furious Stewart butted in and asked to speak with Paul in private. Paul cancelled that day’s session to let things cool down.

The next morning Paul’s manager called Stewart to say that Padgham had declared he would leave the project immediately unless he was given complete control over production. Stewart was hurt to find that McCartney had agreed to the ultimatum. It was added that Stewart was welcome to stay on as a musician and backing vocalist but with no other input whatsoever.

Stewart felt Padgham was blaming him for the lack of progress, rather than pushing Paul to have the courage of his convictions and start finishing the songs. He also concluded that Paul hadn’t wanted him to produce but had merely gone along with George Martin and his manager when they suggested it.

Stewart did go back to play on the tracks but was rattled when Padgham re-recorded the ‘Angry‘ track and generally ignored him.

Eventually, he called Paul and explained how awkward it felt and said it was probably best if he left. Paul merely said ‘Okay’ and the phone went dead. Linda called that evening to apologize and hope that the friendship they had would remain.

“We started off with ‘Stranglehold’, putting rhythmic words in, using lyrics like a bongo, accenting the words. We enjoyed the experience, then went on to write the six that are on the album… I remembered the old way I’d written with John, the two acoustic guitars facing each other, like a mirror, but better! Like an objective mirror, you’re looking at the person playing chords, but it’s not you.

He worked on the previously written of “Twice In A Lifetime.” “- Paul

The he did just a few months composing and recording what would be the title song of a future Chevy Chase/Dan Ackroyd Film called, “Spies Like Us.”

Paul recorded the song and made the music video on and off in August and September.From October 1st thru December 6th, He worked on the next album sessions, this time with the new man Padgham brought in, forcing out Stewart soon.

He like many, has never worked with Paul again, as far as I know.

In 1985 he also performed live for the first time (since the ill-fated 1979 tour) at Live Aid on July 13th.

next…1986, a year we could see Paul “pressing.”

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GIVE MY REGARDS TO BROAD STREET (album 1984)

The album that was Paul’s next official release, the soundtrack of the film, which included the music as it was in the film, including dialog from the film itself rather than a faking it completely on camera after recording it proper in a studio. So this is very authentic and every sounds really nice, as usual.

Just one major issue…To factor these songs it was rather amazing that so many Beatles songs would be done, and released in a film this way, as complete remakes, nearly identical to The Beatles, and he also does songs he had just released on record. Filming began in very late 1982 and Paul’s latest album out at the time has two songs in the film. Interesting……and not in a good way.

The cover is a black background with a pasting of a “worried and thinking” Paul….where did the tapes go?? A image of Harry, the suspected roadie who had the tapes when they went missing. For no reason the big blue box holding the tapes has an outer glow and inside even more. An obvious nod to their value, a-la diamonds or precious metals that have had the same effect in films and television. The opened case with glowing inside.

The album

“No More Lonely Nights” This tender ballad features Paul on Paino and vocals, joined by Eric Stewart and Linda on backing vocals. Herbie Flowers handles the bass, Stuart Elliot does a good Ringo sound on drums, Ann Dudley on synthesizers and the best part of the song, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame on electric lead. His fill lines and two solos make this song very very special. One of the last great singles.

Would have been a record breaker if released at his peak popularity period, but this was approaching the middle of a difficult period of not any major success, and with failures happening in this period. It is a song that can’t be improved on. Rating – 9.0

“Good Day Sunshine” It was a great song back in 1966, it still is a good song, and this exact as possible re-recording of it sounds really good here, I just didn’t need this. Rating – 6A full soundtrack of new and great songs, with a better conceptualized theme and maybe this film could have worked.(Maybe the tug and pipes singles videos could have been held back and involved and allowed Paul to remain in various characters in shorter roles..)“Yesterday” Another spot on remake with a larger horn section and no strings. Not needed. Rating – 6

“Here, There and Everywhere” See “yesterday.” Rating – 6

“Wanderlust” Needed less that The Beatles tracks. Hate the 80’s drum sound. Rating – 5

“Ballroom Dancing” Goes well with the films dance hall, band in blue and fight/dance choreography. An extra verse has been put in. Ringo’s sad drumming continues. He is lifeless. Rating – 5

“Silly Love Songs/Reprise”. Awful remake of this song in the worst 1980’s wash of production. Rating – 4

“Not Such A Bad Boy” One of the two new songs. This is kind of a rocker, but doesn’t move me in the least. Rating – 5.5

“So Bad” Another unneeded song from an album less than a year old, and not a big hit. Rating – 5

“No Values” Second new track, not nearly as bad as “Bad Boy” but sounds like it was recorded in a garage. And not in a good way. It just doesn’t move me at all. When it shows some life, he ends it… Rating – 6

“For No One” Remake with string quartet while Ringo still looks for those sticks…. Why not something new? Rating – 6

“Eleanor Rigby”. Paul looks and sounds great. A slightly different arrangement of the original. Rating – 6

Paul daydreams into “Eleanor’s Dream” Interesting variation of the original. It is the first time many of us hear Paul in this setting. He had released the two themes in his life so far, from “THE FAMILY WAY” and “THE HONORARY CONSUL.”The film get wacky and all over the place with the vintage dream but his first dabbling into classical for me. Rating – 8

“The Long And Winding Road” Paul takes his gentle piano ballad he and George Martin drown it in a wash of 80’s saxes and too much percussion and too quick. Rating – 5

“No More Lonely Nights” (play-out version)They take a great piano song and make it a extended mix dance track. Bad idea. Rating – 4

“Goodnight Princess” Sweet 1930’s style final song of the night played by the band. Rating – 7

Wow, I really didn’t seem to like it. It rates out as 5.91/10

One of our lowest rated album, so far.

Next, songs given away and 1985…..