return to pepperland
s.a. has been on a paul mccartney kick lately. she brought all of her work cd's to new orleans (including her beloved macca stuff) so i have been rippin' and burnin' paul songs to keep her happy while she 'makes the doughnuts'.
in the course of digging thru the stack of macca cd's i came across a bunch of the hard to find and bootlegged discs, like 'the fireman', 'return to pepperland', 'liverpool sound collage' and 'the paul mccartney and elvis costello sessions' ... so here we go!
'return to pepperland' is a collection of tunes paul did during 1984-87. he was working with various producers (phil ramone, hugh padgham and david foster), and trying to find his way to a new musical direction. the songs vary from great beatlesque pop to silly disco dittys but as a whole it is a very satisfying assortment. the highlights include the title tune, which is a whimsical reminder of the summer of love 20 years on, the very mccartney sounding 'yvonne', a rousing tune called 'i love this house', a few outstanding instrumentals recalling the man early in his solo years and the grand 'the lovliest thing'. it's a shame that most of these cuts never were released to the world proper as it is a much better record than the last couple of wings albums of the late 70's. he may yet come around tho.
during the summer of 1987 paul and elvis costello got together to write and record an album of new songs. the collaborated record never happened but almost all the tunes ended up on a few of their solo albums, notably paul's 'flowers in the dirt' and elvis' 'spike'. the teaming also garnered a hit song for elvis, the wonderful 'veronica', written for his late grandmother (the video is still a big fave in the wreckroom). as mentioned above paul was searching to expand his musical horizon's and the demos from the sessions show a tightness that had never been in paul's music since the breakup of the beatles. the songwriting is concise and witty with harmonies that bring up the neck hairs. it is one of the strangest and most likey duos that never were. they just sound so natural together and one listen will convince anyone it was a missed opportunity for the world.
'the fireman' was a project of paul's (with help from 'youth') that spawned two albums of techno/trance music that is nothing like his beatle days or solo stuff. 'strawberries oceans ships forest' (released in '93) is a droning dancefloor affair. using tracks from 'wings' albums as a source the nine songs have a sameness that may work on ecstasy-laden ravers but make for a tedious listen as a whole. the second record, 1998's 'rushes' has a much lighter and ambient feel. it's dream-like momentum carries the listener along with lush production and flowing arrangements. it is actually the best of paul's experimental works and well worth a listen.
which brings us to 'liverpool sound collage'. released in 2000 the record is more like 'revolution 9' than anything macca has ever done. it's truly a collage in that paul uses loops from a 'rubber soul' vocal session (one where they were stoned and kept screwing up the george harrison song, 'think for yourself'), soundcheck snippets, pieces from his 'liverpool oratorio', 'man-on-the-street' tapes done in liverpool then all chopped and remixed by 'youth' and members of 'super furry animals'. a very strange, but enjoyable piece of experimentation and completely un-wings like. which some would say is a good thing. it rode in my cd walkman for a few months durning those bleak months in 2001 before i was whisked away from the lonely shores of jersey to the snow capped vista of the sierras. it was fun to listen to again after all these years.
... and as if that wasn't enuff macca shit. paul spent an afternoon last december in studio 2 of abbey road entertaining a select crowd of about 60 people playing with various instruments vital to the beatles and showing how a lot of songs were recorded. the situation was filmed for posterity and will be shown as chaos and creation live at abbey road on pbs feb 27th. (check yer local listings, it sez). the whole thing was up on the bbc site as an audio stream last month (thanks again a.g.). so, i ripped it, cleaned it up and i throw it out for all those willing to grab it (it's a 56 minute mp3 file, but worth every bit) see below...
a few dittys from those thingys mentioned above, in mp3 and delivered free of charge by way of yousendit, for a limited time only, enjoy!:
from 'the mccartney/costello sessions':
the lovers that never were
don't be careless love
my brave face
so like candy
playboy to a man
tommy's coming home
one after 909
from 'liverpool sound collage':
from 'the fireman' cd's:
strawberries oceans ships forest
from 'return to pepperland':
return to pepperland
back on my feet
the lovliest thing
and here's paul at abbey road:
chaos and creation live at abbey road studio 2