Look what has just arrived from the UK:It’s the long-awaited 2019 re-issue of Mike McGear’s McGear LP.McGear was produced by Paul McCartney, and features him playing on various tracks too, along with the other members of Wings. It features songs co-written by McCartney and his brother Mike McGear, and was originally recorded in 1974. This 180 gram re-issue LP comes in a replica of the original UK and US gatefold cover:
Back in 1975 when Paul McCartney and Wings wanted to launch their new album Venus and Mars they did it in style. They threw a huge party on board the famous cruise liner, the Queen Mary at Long Beach in California. The ship was (and still is) permanently moored there as a floating hotel, museum, function centre and tourist attraction.
Among the 200 guests on board were George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Marvin Gaye, The Faces, an Everly Brother (Phil), The Jackson Five, Dean Martin, Tony Curtis, Cher, and Monkees Mickey Dolenz and Davey Jones. The party was the first time McCartney and Harrison had been seen in public since the Beatle break-up.
Much of the Venus and Mars album was recorded in New Orleans at Allen Toussaint’s Sea Saint Studios and clearly Paul and Linda had soaked up a lot of the atmosphere of that quintessentially musical town. The launch party therefore saw musical performances from some Crescent City greats like Lee Dorsey, Ernie K-Doe, and Chocolate Milk, as well as The Meters – and the amazing, legendary Professor Longhair.
McCartney had the forethought to have their gigs recorded, and in 1978 the Professor Longhair’s set was released as the album Live On The Queen Mary, co-produced by McCartney.
Now comes news that it is being officially reissued by McCartney’s MPL on the Harvest label across digital platforms, on CD and on newly remastered 180gram vinyl LP – in both standard and deluxe packaging:
The deluxe vinyl edition comes with a bonus double A-Side 7″ single featuring ‘Tipitina’ and ‘Mess Around’, and what appears to be a publicity folder featuring images of Professor Longhair and a facsimile letter signed by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney and Denny Laine. (As usual click on images to see larger versions).
Live On The Queen Mary will be released on April 5 and is now available for pre-order here.
(BTW – The Meters Queen Mary launch party set was also recorded, and has previously been released as Uptown Rulers: The Meters Live on the Queen Mary.)
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.
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.
“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.”
Capitol Records is following up last year’s coloured vinyl Paul McCartney releases with four more titles. These will be available on May 18 (fingers crossed, given the delays experienced last time!) and they are the albums NEW; Thrillington; Wings Greatest; and Chaos and Creation in the Backyard:
As you can see, NEW is to be on pink vinyl, Thrillington on what looks to be a marbled red/black, Wings Greatest is on blue, and Chaos will be on gold coloured vinyl.
As they were last time each title will also be issued on black vinyl, and as single CD’s in the digipak format. Every release is supervised by Paul himself, who oversees all aspects of each and every title. See the official McCartney site for more details.
When we were in the United States a while back we managed to pick up a nice copy of the standard edition of McCartney’s Wingspan – Hits and History two-CD retrospective compilation from 2001.
It was originally issued in a jewel case with an outer cardboard slipcase with a holographic front cover. Getting copies of this in good condition is difficult because the slipcase is often missing or damaged.
Then I learned that there was also a Limited Edition version of Wingspan – Hits and History released as well. It has the same two discs and running order of songs, but is packaged in a hard-back book that fits inside a similar but slightly larger outer slipcase, also with the hologram “hands” image on the front.
It’s the same 22-page booklet inside. However, it is produced specifically for this set as it’s in a larger format to the standard CD booklet:
The standard CD set in the UK has the barcode number 7243 5 32876 2 7, while this limited edition set was made in the USA and has the catalogue number 7243 5 32943 2 8. It caries the Capitol and MPL logos on the cover and on the CDs.
This set also had this sticker on the outside (which the previous owner very kindly kept and placed inside the book):
Following a very limited and mysterious white label vinyl issue in March of two re-mixed versions of the Paul McCartney and Wings song ‘Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five’, comes news of an official release on 12″ vinyl and digital download.
This puts ownership of these versions of the song within the realms of possibility for us mere mortals who couldn’t possibly have afforded the exorbitant prices the limited editions were fetching on auction sites like eBay.
The initial, white label releases had two remixes by German DJ/remixer Timo Maas and Canadian producer James Teej. The “official” release will have three. According to the track listings online, the 12″ will include a “radio edit” version of the song.
The vinyl is available for pre-order now and will be released on May 27 in Europe and Canada. No US listings for the physical product have yet appeared, but the US Amazon site is listing a digital download that’s available now.