Classic Rock

Paul McCartney & Wings



Some reissues are so goddamn deluxe that they overshadow the artefact, like hand-painting and sticking sparklers in a turd. It’s a risk McCartney takes here, slavering the unloved first two Wings albums in gorgeous boxes stuffed with photo albums, coffee-table books, session note pads and his sketches for unaired, semi-animated TV specials. Surely the plushest packages imaginable, until they start flogging Liberace reissues inside diamond pianos.

On revisit, though, these are records overdue re-evaluation away from The Beatles’ supernova glare. 1971’s Wild Life

(6/10), recorded in a week, shares the home-made, throwaway feel of McCartney, particular­ly on the half-written rock’n’roll gibberish of Mumbo and Bip Bop, his shrugged response to T.Rex. The zoo blues title track is tiresome too, but the cod-Afrobeat Love Is Strange is strangely lovable, Some People Never Know pleasingly recalls Here, There And Everywhere and Tomorrow is a jaunty echo of Your Mother Should Know. Infant infiltrate­d home demos of fun ditties like Hey Diddle and banned politico-reggae debut single Give Ireland Back To The Irish add meat to a package that feels like McCartney’s tentative practice run at a second band. 1973’s Red Rose Speedway

(7/10), though still patchy, better emulated The Beatles’ juggling act of classic and cutting-edge. Stones rockers, 1950s throwbacks and lush, orchestrat­ed easy listeners like My Love rub up against glam and Floyd psych as the expanded Wings ramp up their MOR gloss and plot Band On The Run’s break-out. Completist catnip is a tiring reimaginin­g of the originally intended double album – a flimsy record bloated with Elvis and Who pastiches and yet more unnecessar­y reggae – and the unreleased 1882, a noir Rocky Raccoon about a boy executed for stealing bread for his dying mother. It’s one of the nuggets of joy buried in packages gilding a tarnished era.

Mark Beaumont

 ??  ?? Nice packages, shame about the songs.
Nice packages, shame about the songs.

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