London Town Sessions (Misterclaudel mccd-004)
London Town (promo edit stereo version), Cafe On The Left Bank (rough mix), I’m Carrying (rough mix), I’ve Had Enough (rough mix), With A Little Luck (rough mix), With A Little Luck (promotional edit stereo version), Famous Groupies (rough mix), Deliver Your Children (rough mix), Don’t Let It Bring You Down (rough mix), Morse Moose & Grey Goose (instrumental rough mix), Mull Of Kintyre (promotional edit version), Girl’s School (promo/commercial edit), Find A Way Somehow (unreleased recording), Waterspout (studio demo), Backward Traveller (studio demo), After You’ve Gone (studio demo), Boil Crisis (studio demo), Jamaican Hilite (studio demo), Mull Of Kintyre (instrumental studio demo), Mull Of Kintyre (studio demo)
London Town was the seventh studio album released by Wings and many consider it to be the very end of their commercial peak. The first single from the LP “With A Little Luck” reached number one on the US charts and the LP itself reached number four in the UK and number two in the US. It didn’t last long on the charts and has turned out to be one of their most neglected efforts. With the disintegration of the band during the sessions and with Paul and Linda’s new baby, there were no live appearances after its release. The only song ever to be played live from from the LP was “I’ve Had Enough” during the Back To The Egg tour in 1979. The material certainly sounded strange as a follow up to to Venus & Mars and At The Speed Of Sound. Wings traded their arena rock mentality for something more soft and mellow. There were six separate sessions throughout the year beginning in February at Abbey Road. The most famous of them are the sessions held in May 1977 aboard the yacht Fair Carol in the Virgin Islands and the August sessions in Campbelltown, Scotland that produced the single “Mull Of Kintyre.”
Earlier releases with this material includes London Town Roughs & Demos (Mistral Music MM 9105) issued in 1991 and Water Wings(VT500 X 2 BEAT) on three discs issued in 1999. Misterclaudel collect only the tracks directly associated with the album from both the yacht and from the farm. The first thirteen tracks on Misterclaudel date from the May sessions in the Caribbean and the final seven date from the summer sessions in Scotland. “London Town (promo edit stereo)” is a copy of the single sent to radio stations. The LP version of the song is 4:09 but this edit is 3:46 with the only discernable difference the length of the ending. The rough mix for “Cafe On The Left Bank” is the basis for the final version with some backing vocals left out. “I’m Carrying” is also the basis for the commercial version but with the string arrangement missing.
“I’ve Had Enough” is recorded with a drum machine keeping time and has the lyrics and basic melody down and Paul can be heard shouting “drum solo” in the middle, but no solo is heard. Perhaps that was an idea that was not utilized? “With A Little Luck” is a simple home demo with a rhythm box keeping time, and this demo is followed by the promo edit. The cut on the LP is 5:46 while this is only 3:11 with some of the extended passages omitted. “Famous Groupies” is a rough edit with the final vocals but with Paul shouting out instructions at the breaks (“pause”!) “Deliver Your Children” is the same as the final version except with more echo on Denny Laine’s vocals. “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” is the basis for the commercial version. This mix has a count-in and is missing the keyboard line. “Morse the Moose & Grey Goose” is similar to the final version except it lacks the “grey goose” parts in it.
The promo edit of “Mull Of Kintyre” is ninety seconds shorter than the version found on Greatest Hitsand the same is true for the promo edit of “Girl’s School.” A demo of an unreleased song called “Find A Way Somehow” follows. This is a five and a half minute long blues sung by Laine. “Waterspout” is a rough demo of a song that has yet to be officially released. “Backwards Traveller” is a simple home demo. The lyrics are complete, but this arrangement is simple with drums, bass, electric guitar. And at three minutes, it is three times the length of the final version without the segue into “Cuff Link.” The home demo of “After You’ve Gone” is a cover of the 1918 Creamer/Layton tune recorded by Sophie Tucker and Judy Garland (among others). “Boil Crisis” is the same version as that on “Rude Studio Demos” but with additional “guitar solo” noises by Paul that pan back and forth across the stereo field.
“Jamaican Hilite” is a minute and a half long instrumental and is followed by a ninety second long instrumental demo of “Mull Of Kintyre.” This consists of Paul on acoustic guitar and Linda playing the melody on keyboards. The final studio demo of “Mull Of Kintyre” is Paul singing the words accompanying himself on acoustic guitar and Linda playing the bagpipe melody on keyboards. London Town Sessionsis a competent, one disc collection of the essential alternate mixes and demos from the sessions for the LP. It isn’t as complete as the Vigotone Water Wings, but the sound quality is superior. It is packaged in a single jewel case with informative notes on the artwork and several photos from the sessions.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)