Flowers In The Dirt – In Depth Producer Interviews

With Flowers In The Dirt to be released tomorrow in various formats as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection re-issue series, here’s a link to an extraordinary series of interviews with the people who helped McCartney bring the original project to life.

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:

Free Download of Exclusive Demo Track from ‘Flowers In The Dirt’

As he has done with previous Paul McCartney Archive series releases Paul McCartney, in the lead-up to his forthcoming re-issue of Flowers In The Dirt in multiple formats, is making available a track that won’t be part of those packages.

If you go to McCartney’s official website you can get the demo version of ‘Distractions’, an album track from Flowers. It’s exclusive and it is free.

Speaking earlier this week about the song, Paul said:

“I like a good love song, you know. And it’s always nice to be in the mood to write a ballad and that was the case when I sat down to write this. It just occurred to me that if you love someone, one of the problems is that you don’t always spend enough time with that person. Because you’ve got things to do, you’ve got work or you’ve got other obligations to other people or whatever. And so I thought, yeah you could call those distractions from the main event kind of thing. That was basically what this is:

“What is this thing in life that persuades me to take time away from you?…                  ….Distractions, like butterflies….”

I elaborated on that theme, it’s just someone wishing they could spend more time with their loved one. And you know for me at that time it was about Linda. But people often say to me, ‘Who did you write this about?’ and even though then I would have been writing specifically about Linda – because she was the object of my affection – I liked the idea that it could also be the sort of dream of romance. It could just be an ideal – we all love someone and wish we could spend more time with that someone. A romantic ideal! I know that a young couple won’t hear this about me and Linda, the guy will hear it about him and his girlfriend, the girl will hear that it’s about her and her boyfriend, and I like that. I like that about my songs, that people use them for their own purpose. And I think that’s a very romantic idea.”

There are still five other free downloads from previous McCartney Archive Series re-issues available on the site as well.

McCartney Announces RSD Limited Edition….Cassette?

In the lead-up to Record Store Day 2017 (which falls on 22 April), Paul McCartney has just announced he’ll issue a limited edition, three-song cassette that will be distributed to some participating stores. The cassette will contain three of the “download only” demos he made for the album with Elvis Costello that will form part of his forthcoming Flowers In The Dirt box set deluxe edition. Here’s the official press release:

PAUL McCARTNEY

FLOWERS IN THE DIRT — THE CASSETTE DEMOS WITH ELVIS COSTELLO

RECORD STORE DAY EXCLUSIVE 3-TRACK CASSETTE-ONLY RELEASE

With the Flowers In The Dirt Archive Collection edition’s March 24th release date via MPL/Capitol/UMe fast approaching, Paul McCartney has confirmed a very special Record Store Day exclusive.

To commemorate Record Store Day this April 22nd, a limited edition three-song cassette of Paul and Elvis Costello’s Flowers In The Dirt demos will be made available at participating RSD stores.

The limited edition cassette-only release will be the first time these recordings – ‘I Don’t Want To Confess’, ‘Shallow Grave’ and ‘Mistress And Maid’- will be made available in the same form as when Paul and Elvis first cut them directly to tape.

Speaking about these tracks Paul said: “The demos are red hot off the skillet and that’s why we wanted to include them on this boxed set. What’s great about these songs is that they’ve just been written. So there’s nothing more hot off the skillet as I say. So that was the kind of great instant thing about them. I hadn’t listened to them in ages but when I did I knew we had to put them out. We made a little tape of them and sent them to Elvis, who loved them too. We said we should put out an EP or something and now the moment’s finally arrived.”

The demos will be made available digitally only as part of the Deluxe Edition when Flowers In The Dirt is released as the 10th installment in the multiple-GRAMMY-winning Paul McCartney Archive Collection.

The Paul McCartney Archive Collection release of Flowers In The Dirt was, as always, personally curated and overseen by Paul himself. (ENDS)

As Paul Sinclair says on his influential Super Deluxe Edition website “…it is ironic that they are coming out on tape when they were denied a release on CD partly because Paul wants to stay ‘modern’ and embrace/drive people to streaming!”

You can read his report on the cassette here, and the saga of the “download only” decision here.

The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four – A Review

One of the most impressive compendiums of concise Beatle information comes in the form of a book called The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four, by Kenneth Womack.

Womack’s book has been out for a number of years now as a comprehensive, two-volume set. That set is very desirable, but prohibitively expensive for some.

Now comes a brand new, 2017 edition which is completely up to date – but in a condensed, single-volume version that is far more easy on the wallet. This latest edition is designed more for the general reader (and for the many students who now study the Beatles as part of their curriculum at secondary, post-secondary, and more advanced study levels). However, it’s a book that will more than satisfy the avid Beatlemaniac too:

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The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four is just that. It focusses entirely on the band and its output across the ten or so years in the 1960s when musically and creatively they were at their absolute peak. It features a host of biographical information about each band member, as well as their immediate family and the key personal relationships they had – for example there’s biographical material associated with the many creative and business partners among the Beatles’ circle. Womack goes into real detail on every every album and key songs. In order to provide an expansive portrait of the group’s life and times, attention is also devoted to the numerous locations associated with the band’s career, as well as to important concerts, venues and events pertinent to their amazing story.

This condensed version of The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four offers some other helpful additional features, including an alphabetic list of all the entries included in the book; a timeline chronology of the Beatles, detailing the milestones in their lives, performances, and recordings; a thorough discography of the band’s official UK and US singles and album releases from the early 1960s through the present; and a bibliography of recommended resources with both print and online resources. There is also included something I always appreciate greatly in books of this nature: a comprehensive general index. This makes locating specific information on a topic or subject so much easier.

Across its 650-odd pages Womack covers off some 360 topics, ranging from Abbey Road to Zapple Records – and these are all arranged alphabetically by entry.

Entries on songs and albums have a specific structure designed to give as much detail as possible. For example, each song entry will include: authorship and background; inspiration; recording dates and places; who played what – including specific reference to the instrument makes and models used. There are track listings for each album; details on the cover artwork; chart performance for both the United States and the UK; and comments and observations around the legacy and influence of each as a work of art.

This a key reference book to have at your side. It is a comprehensive work containing a wealth of information – all at your fingertips. I’d say it’s a must for students of the Beatles and for die-hard fans alike.

Now for a little on the author, Kenneth Womack. This is worth mentioning as he is so very well-credentialed not only as a Beatle scholar, but also as an author and literary critic:

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Kenneth Womack is Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University, where he also serves as Professor of English. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles (2007), the Cambridge Companion to the Beatles (2009), and The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four (2014). He’s also the author of three award-winning novels, and serves as an academic editor and critic for a number of literary institutions.

If you are curious and/or would like to order this new, condensed 2017 edition of Everything Fab Four you can have a “look inside” at Amazon.

Or, you may like to go the whole hog and get the expanded, 2014 edition in two volumes, also available at Amazon.

George Harrison Vinyl Box Set Hits Stores

George Harrison’s big vinyl box set containing every solo studio album, plus the double LP Live in Japan and two picture disc 12″ singles, has at last been released.

Some fans have got their copies already and some “unboxing” videos are beginning to appear online, including this one from an excited Vinyl Collector James, who goes into some detail on the box itself as well as its contents:

Universal Music has also used the occasion of the box set release (and George Harrison’s 74th birthday) to upload a series of interesting articles on various aspects of his life and career.

Written by Richard Havers, these cover off George Harrison in 20 Solos:george-in-20-solos-header George Harrison: Humanitarian:george-and-ravi-at-concert-for-bangladesh-press-conference

George Harrison: The B Sides:george-b-isdes

The Sweet Success of “My Sweet Lord”:george-my-sweet-lord

and George Harrison’s Beatle Songs:george-the_beatles_-_last_photo_session

Also, don’t forget Universal’s series of articles on Harrison album-by-album.

A Different Australian Pressing of the Beatles “From Liverpool” Box

In a previous post we mentioned an Australian pressing on the orange Parlophone label of The Beatles Box (or The Beatles From Liverpool as it is sometimes also known) eight-record box set. This was made available via The World Record Club to its members in March, 1981.the-beatles-liverpoolbeatles-from-liverpool-label

We already had a later version that EMI distributed in November, 1982 through the Reader’s Digest organisation in Australia. That one comes with custom black, white and red Reader’s Digest labels. For more images also see here.beatles-readers-digest-label

The Reader’s Digest set is further distinguished by different packaging. Instead of a flip-top lid it came in a two box arrangement, where an inner box containing the records slides into an outer casing.

In Australia there is a third variation. It is the same 1981 World Record Club release but instead of orange Parlophone labels it is on black and silver Parlophone labels. It’s this version we have just added to the collection. It comes in a lift-top hinged box: liverpool-box-frontliverpool-box-labelloverpool-box-lid

On top of the records there’s a large fold-out poster:

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Like the other releases each disc comes in a custom colour printed sleeve: liverpool-box-1

On the flip side of each is a track-listing and a short article about the songs and what was happening in Beatles history at the time of the recordings by Hugh Marshall:liverpool-box-1a

There are eight discs in all:liverpool-box-2 liverpool-box-3 liverpool-box-4 liverpool-box-5 liverpool-box-6 liverpool-box-7 liverpool-box-8

(Click on an image to see a larger version)

This set has the catalogue number WRC/Parlophone R91103-10.

 

McCartney and Costello – ‘Twenty Fine Fingers’ Demo

Like collectors across the globe, we’ve bemoaned the fact that there will be a whole CD’s worth of demos only available as digital downloads if you buy Paul McCartney’s forthcoming Flowers In The Dirt Deluxe Edition box set.

However, there will still be some good things in a physical form on CD and vinyl. One example has just gone up on McCartney’s YouTube page. He’s posted a preview of a previously unreleased song called ‘Twenty Fine Fingers (Original Demo)’, featuring Elvis Costello, that will be included with the 4-disc box set. It’s also to be included on the 2-disc “Special” edition, and on the re-issued double LP.

Got to admit, it’s a great little song: