Listen - Five Paul McCartney Deep Cuts

This year has seen the passing of quite a few rock greats - David Bowie, Prince, Lemmy - but why wait until a loved musician passes away before we celebrate their work? And who better for recognition than Paul McCartney who has written some of the most loved songs on the planet and is still releasing new material - including: the track, 'Cut Me Some Slack,' that he penned with the remaining members of Nirvana and which won a Grammy in 2014 (available on the Sound City soundtrack); and the hit song he wrote released with Rihanna and Kanye West (his second collab with the latter).

I find that there's always some fun to be had in unearthing some usually overlooked tracks by a well-loved artist, so let's take the opportunity to dig for some gold in Paul McCartney's solo career. Hopefully this will provide some further listening for all of you who've listened to all those Beatles tracks far too many times.

Fortunately, a new compilation - Pure McCartney - has just been released which re-examines McCartney's solo career with the intention of digging out a few different tracks that were missed on previous "Best Of" compilations (such as Wingspan). The standout track for me is 'Coming Up', which is one of Macca's solo efforts that John Lennon also admitted having some admiration for (some have even suggested that hearing it might've spurred him out of retirement).

The song originally featured on McCartney II (1980), which is a slightly patchy album, but does have a few other fun tracks like the weirdly synth-heavy, 'Temporary Secretary' (which shows how McCartney sounds when he's trying to embrace new wave!).

It also happens to have a wonderful video, in which McCartney and his wife/bandmate Linda dress up as other musicals stereotypes. Seeing Paul in 1980 portraying himself as a young Beatle is particularly entertaining.

The next album worth checking out, once you've got past the greatest hits is Band on the Run (1973). By this stage, McCartney had his own band - Wings - with Linda and Denny Laine. This album was a serious hit at the time and featured a number of his best solo tracks including 'Band On The Run,' 'Jet,' and 'Let Me Roll It.'

However, let's dig up one of the tracks that didn't make the hits compilation and yet which showcases some great piano and bluesy singing from Macca. Here's Paul playing it all on his lonesome back in 1974.

Less appreciated at the time was Paul and Linda's early effort, Ram (1971). The album track that's usually brought out into the light of day is 'Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey' (definitely one of his finest solo efforts) and the album also features the hits 'Another day' and 'Too Many People.'

However, I am more fascinated by the odd track at the centre of the album - 'Monkberry Moon Delight' - in which Paul blurts out many peculiar lines, such as 'well I know my banana is older than the rest...'

The obvious next step for any Beatles fan would be to go one album further back to the first release McCartney put out after leaving the fab four. He certainly surprised fans when his first release turned out to be a stripped-back recording - McCartney (1970) - which he recorded almost entirely alone (playing most of the instruments, etc). It felt like quite a comedown from the heights of The Beatles at the time, though listening to it now you get a real feeling of Paul just jamming alone in his house, getting some simple ideas down without all the clutter.

There's many great tracks on here - 'Maybe I'm Amazed', 'Teddy Boy', 'Every night' - but a more representative track is the acoustic riffing of 'That Would Be Something.' It's a track that's been covered by everyone from the Grateful Dead to Jack White, so you know it's a guitar line that is worthy of its salt.

It's usually McCartney's efforts in the eighties that are held up for the greatest derision. However, it's not like a great songwriter like him would just lose his talent for writing hooks overnight. The most catchy song on Tug of War (1982) is probably 'Ebony and Ivory' but it doesn't stand the test of time too well.

Therefore, let me instead point you towards the track, 'The Pound Is Sinking.' It seems particularly fitting given the recent drop in the pound's value following the Brexit decision. This song almost sounds like four-tracks-in-one, with sharp changes from section to section, but fortunately Paul has always been a master of the medley piece.

Reading about McCartney

If you also feel like reading about McCartney's full life, while discovering his latter output then the best starting point is Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney. And while you're at it, why not try his family cookbook - Meat Free Mondays (created to encourage people to try vegetarian recipes on Mondays for the good of both themselves and the environment).

So get some more McCartney in your life while this amazing songwriter is still amongst us!

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 16 and is filed under ,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

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