Monday, December 20, 2010

Year End Review: Paul McCartney & Wings - Band On The Run

November 2, we saw the re-mastered, re-release of Paul McCartney & Wings' classic hit album, Band on the Run. It's the first release from the Paul McCartney Archive Collection. The 2 CD/1 DVD special edition consists of the original album, a disc of bonus tracks plus a disc containing more than an hours worth of video footage all wrapped up in a tidy enhanced package.

Band on the Run, originally released in 1973, came after some hit and miss McCartney albums. There were some gems on those works but overall, they were just nice. Band on the Run however sparkled and shined with the well crafted pop goodies that McCartney was and is known for. It's a record that still holds up well.

I've been spinning this release. In listening to it, the first thing I noticed was, I needed better headphones! Once that was squared away, I plugged in and cranked the sound. The re-master is louder and more clean than previous releases of the record. I hear more little bits and bobs that I never noticed before.

I realized something while listening to the record. All of the songs that I as a child, first associated as being McCartney, came from this album. Yes, as a kid I knew The Beatles music. But that was The Beatles and Beatle Paul and Wings Paul may have been one and the same, but they were separate in my mind. Beatles Paul was in funny movies and was a cartoon, literally ... oh and he wrote some great songs. But, Wings Paul was a rock star that people could actually go and see. He wasn't the larger than life entity his earlier self had become. Hey, nobody ever said kids made sense! Anyway, two of my all time favorite Wings songs come from this record "Let Me Roll It" and "Bluebird." Even though I've heard the song many times over the years, "Mrs. Vandebilt" has jumped out at me. It just pops on this edition and has been getting repeated plays.

I was excited about the One Hand Clapping video footage. But, I have to say, I'm just a wee bit disappointed. Yes, I'm happy to have it but it doesn't look like it has had any work done to it at all. I realize the footage is old but I expected it to be cleaner. As it stands, it feels a bit like watching a second (maybe third) generation bootleg VHS recording.

In a way, you can consider Band on the Run a best of record. It's some of McCartney's best post Fab Four work to date. I can't imagine a McCartney fan who doesn't own the album. But, if you're one of those who has the album in its original release and never got around to buying it on CD or digitally, now's a good time to pick it up (vinyl lovers need not fear, it's available in that format as well), it's a good little package. Listening to this re-master reminded me just how much I like this record.

Since there are plans to release other records as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection, I'm hoping the next one will be Wings Over America with a bonus DVD of Rockshow in its entirety. That would make me one seriously happy chick.

Band on the Run (Special Edition)

Remastered Album
  • Band on the Run
  • Jet
  • Bluebird
  • Mrs Vandebilt
  • Let Me Roll It
  • Mamunia
  • No Words
  • Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me)
  • Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five
Bonus Audio Tracks
  • Helen Wheels
  • Country Dreamer
  • Bluebird [from One Hand Clapping]
  • Jet [from One Hand Clapping]
  • Let Me Roll It [from One Hand Clapping]
  • Band on the Run [from One Hand Clapping]
  • Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five [from One Hand Clapping]
  • Country Dreamer [from One Hand Clapping]
  • Zoo Gang
  • Band on the Run Music Video
  • Mamunia Music Video
  • Album Promo Featuring Band on the Run, Mrs Vandebilt, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five, Bluebird
  • Helen Wheels Music Video
  • Wings In Lagos
  • Osterley Park
  • One Hand Clapping