Does anyone remember when Paul McCartney’sFlaming Pie – the Archive Collection Edition – was officially released?
Oh yeah, it was back on Friday, July 31. Seems like such a long time ago now.
It was officially announced on June 12:Back then, just after that first announcement, we posted this article on some of the items the forthcoming deluxe box set would contain, some of the rarities that’ve previously been released only as B-sides, etc.
It was an exiting time, expectation was building and we dutifully pre-ordered from the Paul McCartneyofficial store site.
Well, it’s now September 3 and we are still waiting for our box set and LP’s to be delivered here in Australia. I know these are weird times and we’re in the middle of a pandemic, but patience is running a little thin.
Things were looking really good early on. The day after the official release, August 1, we got this hopeful email:
It’s on its way! But the helpful tracking info soon revealed that it didn’t get very far.
When you think about Paul McCartney and his “store”, you tend to think it might be in Britain. But no, our box was coming from the USA. By August 11 the package had been “received by the partner carrier” and, from what we can tell, was taken to a loading facitlity in New York. We guess this was somewhere near one of the big airports, either John F. Kennedy or La Guardia. And there it sat. And sat.
The package didn’t move from this spot for so long we wrote to Customer Service at the McCartney store. To their credit they responded immediately saying it had “….probably missed a scan somewhere”, and assured us that our Flaming Pie goodies were indeed making progress.
It took until August 22 for the tracking site to register that the package had finally “Departed Terminal Location”. Woo hoo! Progress.
On August 29 we got a note it had in fact arrived in Australia.
On the other side of the country.
Australia is a lot bigger than most people realise. We’re talking 3,280 kilometers or 2038 miles away by air.And as of today, five days later, that’s where it remains. So close, yet so far.
I know. First World Problems. It’s only music, and in the scheme of things a tiny inconvenience. Everyone is trying their hardest, trying to keep things as normal as possible. And the number of flights between the USA and Australia is now severely curtailed, while the number of people seeking home delivery for just about everything has risen exponentially. Times are tough.
But is anyone else in the same boat as us and still waiting for their Flaming Pie to be delivered? Let us know in the comments box below.
Perhaps surprisingly, it’s now been a decade since Paul McCartney started his Archive Collection reissue campaign. There have been 12 albums given the Archive treatment so far, and they are about to added to in July with the release of Flaming Pie.
To mark the tenth anniversary, Paul Sinclair at the Super Deluxe Edition site has put together a special 52-page keepsake booklet featuring reviews of all the reissues to date and some additional analysis and features. The booklet is the same size and format as the books that come in the Archive Collection box sets, so it can be easily stored alongside them.
McCartney: 10 Years of Archive Reissues will feature in-depth illustrated reviews of the McCartney reissues via a combination of archive content from the SuperDeluxeEdition.com website (some of it updated), alongside new reviews and fresh insight.
Sinclair has a bit of a track record already with these booklets. You might recall the one he issued for the Flowers In The Dirt Archive Collection releases. If that was anything to go by, this new one will be well worth getting hold of too.
There will be only 1000 numbered copies of McCartney: 10 Years of Archive Reissues produced, and it’s only available via the SDE shop.
By now you’re probably aware that the next installment in the Paul McCartneyArchive Collection series will be his 1997 release, Flaming Pie. It is due out on July 31 and, as usual, there are a number of formats and packaging variations – some of which are proving a little contoversial with some fans objecting to the high prices be asked, especially for the Deluxe Box Set (which is 50% more expensive than its Venus and Mars equivalent from 2018), to the top-of-the-range Collectors Edition box, which is listed at a cool US$600.00!
You can see all the different iterations of the planned releases here, and read about them in one of our favourite sources of information and commentary – the SuperDeluxeEdition site – where there’s a great summary article, or just take a look at this promotional “unboxing” video:
So, we don’t feel the need to go into a lot of detail on what’s planned….
Rather, we’ve put together a look at what is already been officially out there in the form of Flaming Pie releases, plus collectable and non-album tracks – all of which is to included in the expensive new re-issue.
First up, the original vinyl editions of Flaming Pie from 1997. Unlike the forthcoming re-issues, this is a single LP. These are now fairly rare and fetch high prices on the second-hand market. Discogs, for example, has the sales history of UK pressings and it ranges from around US$100.00 to US$280.00. Here’s the UK press and, as usual, click on any of the images to see larger versions:
Both the UK and US pressings are gatefolds:And they contain an inner sleeve with lyrics and credits on both sides:
The UK vinyl and a close-up of the label:
The UK LP is distributed by MPL and Parlophone:
Flaming Pie was also issued on vinyl by Capitol in the USA. Ours is open but still in its shrink wrap with the hype sticker on the front: Because of the shrink we can’t show the US gatefold but here are the inner sleeves:
The label on the US pressing is a little more vibrant than the UK. Note the Capitol Records credit.
While on the subject of vinyl, there were three picture disc singles released from this album, but only in the UK. These all came in a clear plastic outer sleeve with a coloured cardboard insert. There was a different colour scheme for each single. First up was ‘Young Boy’ backed with the non-LP track, ‘Looking For You’:
The second single was ‘The World Tonight’/’Used To Be Bad’. Both songs are on Flaming Pie:
And then ‘Beautiful Night’ backed with a further non-album track, ‘Love Come Tumbling Down’:
In our collection we have three versions of the original 1997 CD release of Flaming Pie. These come from, in descending order in the photos, the USA, UK and Australia:
These are all fairly straightforward. Not a lot of variation here, just some different barcode placements and slight changes in the colour printing. As you can see, the Australian version is quite a bit darker on the front and rear covers, and on the CD label itself.
Where it gets complicated is in the range of CD singles released from Flaming Pie in 1997, and the number of non-LP tracks of interest at the time for avid collectors. Let’s deal with two of the easiest to begin with.
In the US, the only CD single was ‘The World Tonight’. It came in a proper CD jewel case and has the non-LP bonus track ‘Looking For You’, plus a track called ‘Ooobu Joobu – Part 1’. This is an extract from a radio show of the same name broadcast on the American radio network Westwood One. It was hosted by Paul McCartney and contained demos, rehearsals, live performances, unreleased recordings and chat. There were six such extracts contained on the UK CD singles (more on this below), but the US only got one of them:
In Australia there was a slight variation to the US CD single release. The only song we got here was ‘Young Boy’, accompanied by the same bonus material offered on the US ‘World Tonight’ CD single – ‘Looking For You’ and ‘Ooobu Joobu – Part 1’. The CD came in a slimline plastic jewel case:
The real bonanza was the UK CD singles. Like the vinyl picture discs above there were three songs released – ‘Young Boy’, ‘The World Tonight’ and ‘Beautiful Night’. Each CD single had two additional tracks plus, available separately, were three more companion CD singles. Each also contains either ‘Young Boy’, ‘The World Tonight’ or ‘Beautiful Night’, plus an additional one or two “rarity” non-LP offerings. The main (or Part 1) CD single is in a full size jewel case, the companion (or Part 2) CD single is in a slimline CD case:
So, if you purchased all six of these CD singles in 1997 the non-LP extras you got were: ‘Looking For You’, ‘Broomstick’, ‘Love Come Tumbling Down’ and ‘Same Love’, plus Parts 1-6 of the ‘Oobu Joobu’ radio show spread across the six singles.
The new Flaming Pie Collectors Edition, Deluxe box set, and the 2CD set will each contain the four non-LP songs, but it seems the ‘Oobu Joobu’ content (found only on the Collectors Edition and Deluxe box sets) will be different edits to the originals because they are all quite a bit shorter in duration.
While we’re on the subject of ‘Oobu Joobu’, in the USA when you purchased Flaming Pie at a Best Buy store, you received a voucher for a bonus CD of further ‘Oobu Joobu’ content. The CD was limited to 3000 copies. It contains a cut down version of Episode 5 of the show called ‘Ecology’. It runs 41:55.
In the Netherlands there was a Promo CD for ‘Young Boy’ issued to radio stations. It came in plain slimline jewel case:
And in the UK a Promo CD for ‘The World Tonight’:
And also one for ‘Beautiful Night’:
Both these came in a slimline jewel cases, with orange and yellow Flaming Pie logos stencilled onto their clear plastic doors.
Also included in the forthcoming re-issue box sets is McCartney’s 1996 collaboration with poet Allen Ginsberg called The Ballad of the Skeletons. This will be on the CD4-B-sides disc plus, in the US$600 Collectors Edition, it will be issued on vinyl for the first time as a 12” single with vinyl etching, and a poster.
Back in 1996 the four track Ballad of the Skeletons CD looked like this:Our copy is still sealed, so these CD and booklet images are courtesy of our friend Andrey:
(As usual, click on any of the images above to view larger versions.)
As he has done in the past (for example with Flowers In The Dirt, Venus and Mars, etc.), Paul McCartney has just made available for free download two additional tracks not included in his two current Archive Collection box sets, Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway.
For fans and completists who simply must have everything officially available, these additional downloads when offered are welcome little “Easter Egg” extras to add to the materials in the box sets.
The reason behind why these two tracks didn’t quite make the final cut is explained at paulmccartney.com:
“When MPL began the research for Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway, they had a good idea of what they would find in the audio archives. But, you can never be quite sure. The paperwork for the release was in good order, but often the more you look, the more gems you’re able to find. So, to make sure no stone went unturned, Paul’s audio team spent weeks listening to several days’ worth of material. Eventually this was whittled down to Paul’s preferences and what made sense for the story being told.
And sometimes you just end up having too many songs! So, as a thank you from us to you, we are happy to offer fans free downloads of two of those songs that did not make the final tracklisting…”
The first track is ‘Dear Friend (Orchestra Up)’. It’s an alternate version that comes from the Wild Life sessions:
“When Paul instructed arranger Richard Hewson about how to score the touching ‘Dear Friend’ – a note to former songwriting partner, John Lennon – he suggested it should sound, “as if there was an orchestra just over the hill. It wasn’t in your face. And when you’re at the top of the hill, there it is, full blown”. As often happens with a song, a number of mixes of ‘Dear Friend’ were done, to get the tone just right and, in this case, one of those mixes featured the orchestra playing a more prominent role.
For the release of Wild Life, it was decided to go with a version where the orchestra is a little more subtle, and today we’re happy to let you hear how it could have sounded.”
The other is ‘Hands Of Love (Take 2)’ from Red Rose Speedway:
“One of the – many! – highlights of Red Rose Speedway is the 11-minute medley that closes the release. Paul has mentioned previously how he enjoys writing medleys as it’s a challenge to make them fit together (it’s not always easy to go from one key to another, a certain amount of musical gymnastics are involved!). But even though a medley may be comprised of a number of songs, it doesn’t mean they’re recorded in one go. Often they’re pieced together after the recording. It’s a fascinating and chin-stroking process. The version of ‘Hands Of Love’ used in the medley of Red Rose Speedway was cut from the original tape and mixed with the other tracks to make the medley. However, we found the original tape had alternate takes, and this was our favourite.”
To get these downloads you’ll need to register as a user on the official Paul McCartney website, then go to his Download page and follow the prompts.
We all greatly appreciate the many fans putting up “unboxing” videos of the latest Beatle and solo releases.
But Paul McCartney has gone one better by inviting the writers who contributed the main essays to his latest Paul McCartney Archive Collection deluxe edition reissues, Wings Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway, to talk through what they think of each album and in the process unpack the contents for us. Brilliant stuff.
First up is David Fricke, senior editor at Rolling Stone magazine who penned the Wild Life essay:
And then Amanda Petrusich, staff writer for The New Yorker magazine who wrote the essay that accompanies Red Rose Speedway:
Paul McCartney has issued an “unboxing” video of his forthcoming Wings deluxe edition of the album Wild Life:
Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway are the next two titles in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection series, and both are due for release on December 7. Full details are contained in the official press release.
There will be multi-disc deluxe box sets for both titles, as well as 2CD editions and 2LP Archive releases as well. Red Rose Speedway gets an additional 2LP release that re-imagines the album as it was originally submitted to the record company, but rejected as a concept and the original single LP issued instead: If you wanted both deluxe CD box sets paired into one very limited edition box, along with an additional bonus Wings Over Europe 20 track CD,photo book, facsimile 1972 tour programme all housed in a special 7 colour screen printed box, inspired by the 1972 Wings Over Europe tour bus, then that was available too – for a time. The website is saying the first edition is now completely sold out. No news of a second edition – yet. The 11CD super box set is called Paul McCartney and Wings 1971-1973 and the details are here.
Meanwhile on InstagramMcCartney has shared some comments from Abbey Road mastering engineer Alex Wharton about his experiences working on the reissues of both Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway:
“It’s always an absolute honour and pleasure to work with Paul and the team at MPL. Working on Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway, there were so many nuggets such as the psychedelic jam ‘Loup (1st Indian On The Moon)’ and ‘When The Wind Is Blowing’. These are incredible portals in my opinion! It’s amazing to see how much Paul cares about music that he has already put out into the ether – to go back to the original tapes and create a sound that both Paul and we believe will touch people in a deeper way. The song ‘Wild Life’ is a real highlight for me. It’s a great sounding record, but the lyrics cover real awareness and the relationship between ourselves and other animals – themes that are more relevant today than ever.”
Five days on from the official announcement on the Paul McCartney website that there are to be eight titles in the McCartneyArchive Collection series re-issued as single discs on the Capitol label (on CD, black vinyl and limited coloured vinyl), confusion reigns about just how anyone can actually order the coloured vinyl.
Both McCartney’s own site, and the Universal Music store site included links to order these but by the weekend both had been quickly taken down. The Universal link is just dead (and again here), while the official McCartney links for each album have since been altered and only take you through to the US Amazon site where there is no mention of the coloured vinyl whatsoever. The links are clearly for the black vinyl editions only.
Many online stores over the weekend quickly put up their own images and prices – both for individual coloured LPs and bundles – but these too have since been either completely taken down (for example SoundStage Direct in the US), or now carry an apology (for example the Bull Moose store) stating that they’ve been asked by the artist and the label NOT to sell these titles online.
To quote collectors on the Steve Hoffman Music Forums thread, many of whom have preordered and paid their money before the links just disappeared:
“Seriously, what a mess. I was actually stoked about this. Now i can see it’s probably not going to be easy…..”.
“Yes I’m worried about sites filling the orders. If the link was pulled from Paul’s site on the official announcement then I would worry about them being filled at any other site [too]. I have them pre ordered thru the link that was on his site and even thru that I’m worried I won’t get them. They seem very limited and none of the sites seem to be able to confirm they will honor the pre orders.”
It has to be said that this looks like a complete and utter stuff up my MPL and Capitol. They’ve gone into print and raised expectations, but they haven’t thought through what they were publicising, nor communicated how fans and collectors could get their hands on these eight coloured vinyl editions. Pretty bad form and does not auger well for the McCartney/Capitol/UMe relationship.
UPDATE: This just in from the Record Store Day site: Indie record stores are the ONLY physical retailers in the US to have the limited edition colored vinyl versions…..
The issue was around his decision to include a whole CD’s worth of B-sides, remixes and single edits, and three cassette demos as downloadable content only. No physical CD would be included in the four-disc set.
Well, no doubt many who purchased the box set have taken that download code provided and created their own CD burns to put inside the box. Here’s a look at the three CD’s and one DVD you do get (click on images to see larger versions):
And here’s what could have/should have been – one disc for the thirteen B-sides, remixes and single edits plus the three cassette demo songs:
Plus on the official Paul McCartney website there are a further three exclusive downloads (‘Distractions (Demo)’, ‘This One (Demo)’, and ‘Back on My Feet (Demo)’) not included in the box set at all, so why not a separate disc for these songs too?:
Call us pedantic and old-fashioned for wanting tactile, hard copies of this bonus material. And call us fussy for creating our own matching labels, but discs V and VI will now be filed inside our Flowers In The Dirt box alongside the other content provided in physical form to create a complete set. They’ll be in their own paper sleeves:
Flowers In The Dirt was produced by not one, but several different producers – and in the lead up to the newly remastered re-issue coming out, Paul Sinclair from the impressive Super Deluxe Edition site has interviewed four of them.
What was it really like to work with Paul McCartney in the studio?
You can find out here in what is a comprehensive and informative backgrounder to this 1989 McCartney album:And here’s a new, official “unboxing” video detailing the contents of the Deluxe edition box set: