Ageless Music Anthology 3 (Strange Apple SAR 019)
Disc 1 (1978-1979) (79:45): Goodnight Tonight (Rough Mix), Winter Rose (Instrumental) (Rough Mix), Love Awake (Outtake), Old Siam Sir (Rough Mix), Arrow Through Me (Rough Mix), Maisie (Outtake), Reception (Rough Mix), Cage (Outtake), Getting Closer (Rough Mix), Rockestra Theme (Piano Demonstration), Rockestra Theme (Rough Mix), So Glad To See You Here (Piano Demonstration), So Glad To See You Here (Rough Mix), Winter Rose (Rough Mix), Love Awake (Rough Mix), Front Parlour (Acetate), Frozen Jap (Acetate), All You Horseriders (Acetate), Blue Sway (Acetate), Mr. H. Atom (Acetate), Summer’s Day Song (Acetate), Coming Up (Acetate)
Disc 2 (79:50) (1980-1986), Take It Away (Studio Demo), Take It Away (Piano Demonstration), Take It Away (Rough Monitor Mix), The Pound Is Sinking (Studio Demo), Hear Me Lover (Studio Demo), Wanderlust (Studio Demo), Keep Under Cover (Studio Demo), Average Person (Studio Demo), Sweetest Little Show (Studio Demo), Ebony And Ivory (Studio Demo), Ebony And Ivory (Studio Rough Take), For No One (Outtake), Lindiana (Outtake), We Got Married (Outtake), Move Over Busker (Rough Mix), Good Times Comin’/Feel The Sun (Rough Mix), It’s Not True (Rough Mix), Press (Rough Mix), Tough On A Tightrope (Rough Mix), Yvonne’s The One (Outtake)
The third volume of Strange Apple’s Ageless Music Anthology focuses upon Paul McCartney outtakes covered over an eight year period. During this time he wrote and recorded Back To The Egg, McCartney II, Tug Of War, Pipes Of Peace, Give My Regards To Broadstreet and Press To Play. And like all older artists, it demonstrates very well how he adapted (or didn’t) his music to the current trends of the day.
In 1978, the music in vogue were punk and disco. Punk emphasized basic arrangements in short songs with an anti-establishment attitude towards both the music industry and government. While McCartney would never go that far, the rough mix of “Old Siam Sir” is about as punk as he became.
Disco was much more attuned to McCartney’s approach to music. Criticized for being soulless and mechanical, disco was really a return of music back to its roots in dance and rhythm. Many of the big bands took a stab at disco in one form of another, and McCartney’s wrote “Goodnight Tonight.”
But most of Back To The Egg was in the vein of mainstream corporate rock, and as good as the “Rockestra Theme” (which Paul calls a “Chuck Berry riff” on the tape) and “Arrow Through Me” are they are firmly committed to that genre.
It is after the Japan bust in early 1980 and the dissolution of Wings when McCartney experiments the most. The tracks from the McCartney IIsessions that summer are among his strangest and most difficult to understand and appreciate songs. Strange Apple include bizarre tracks such as “Frozen Jap” and “Mr. H Atom.” The disc ends with “Coming Up,” the best song from the sessions, taken from the same acetate source as the others.
Tug Of Warwas McCartney’s most successful album of the eighties because he returned to writing the catchy, high-energy songs that’s he’s best at doing. Disc two begins with three versions of the album’s second biggest hit “Take It Away” including the studio demo with the extra “bar stool” verse omitted from the final take. Two takes of the album’s biggest hit “Ebony And Ivory” are included as well as the unreleased track “Hear Me Lover.”
In the mid-eighties McCartney continued to experiment more with studio techniques. He worked with Hugh Padgham, the producer responsible for the famous “gated drum” sound and who worked extensively with Phil Collins on all his hit albums.
Press To Play is imbued with the eighties synthesized production which may have been a bold step for McCartney but it sucked the life out of his songs. There are rough mixes of “Press,” the album’s big single, “Tough On A Tightrope,” the b-side to “Only Love Remains,” and “It’s Not True” with Phil Collins on drums (and with the obligatory eighties saxophone solo). The final track is McCartney’s version of “Yvonne’s The One,” co-written with Eric Stewart of 10CC. Stewart would re-write and release the song in 1995.
Ageless Music Anthology 3 is a good compilation of previously released studio outtakes, taken from both the recent Trevor Jones tapes and other sources. Committed collectors would already have most of this material. But Strange Apple did a very good job in arranging and mastering the tape in a professional way.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)