Paul McCartney & Wings – Antique Chippendale (Misterclaudel MCCD-70)

Antique Chippendale (Misterclaudel MCCD-70)

The Theatre Antique, Arles, France – July 13th, 1972

(78:24) Bip Bop, Smile Away, Mumbo, Henry’s Blues, Give Ireland Back To The Irish, 1882, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, The Mess, Best Friend, Soily, I Am Your Singer, I Would Only Smile, Seaside Woman, My Love, Mary Had A Little Lamb, Maybe I’m Amazed, Help Me, Hi Hi Hi, Long Tall Sally, Closing (Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)

Wings began their first actually booked tour with five dates in France in July, 1972.  Antique Chippendale contains the complete third French concert in Arles.  Misterclaudel use the same audience recording that was used for Arles ’72  (Strawberry Records STR 023) but use the master tape posted online by the taper.  As such the sound quality is an improvement over the older release and contains an additional two minutes of material.  According to the taper, he used “an Hitachi portable cassette deck on my lap with the integrated microphone sitting one of the first rows right side.”  Proximity to the stage ensures a very good recording.  It is one of the most clear tapes from the era. 

There are small cuts after “The Mess,” “Best Friend,” eleven seconds in “Maybe I’m Amazed,” after “Help Me” and the final song of the main set “Hi Hi Hi.”  None of the cuts are serious.

At the beginning of Wings McCartney went into overdrive in composing different songs for both his first two solo albums and the first few Wings LPs.  But so many songs were either never officially recorded or were recorded but never released.  Many were played live and in no other format are so many rare and unreleased McCartney songs available.   

Initial recording for the second Wings album Red Rose Speedway was already completed but would not be released until the following year.  The only official releases in 1972 were the singles “Give Ireland Back To The Irish,” “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” “My Love” and “C Moon.”  The show begins with two songs from the first Wings album Wild Life “Bip Bop” and “Mumbo” sandwiching the Ram track “Smile Away.” 

“Henry’s Blues” is the first of several majestic blues numbers.  This is a showcase for Henry McCullough and since he technically joined the band after Wild Life represents his earliest contribution.  He takes on both vocals and slide guitar in the five and a half minute dirge which still has never been officially recorded and released. 

“1882” is another long and majestic blues written and sung by McCartney.  This was originally going to be included on Red Rose Speedwaywhen it was still planed on being a double LP, but was dropped and has never surfaced.  The tragic and reflective lyrics of the song make it an anomaly in the Wings catalogue.  “The Mess” closes the first half of the show. 

The second half begins with catchy unreleased tune “Best Friend.”  Denny Laine sings one of his screamers “Say You Don’t Mind” followed by Linda’s solo showcase “Seaside Woman.”  “My Love” was their biggest hit of the time but McCullough completely botches his famous solo.  Laine has another song later in the set “Help Me.”  A true rarity, it doesn’t appear in any other form and Arles is the only place to hear it.  It is a three minute long blues with Laine both singing the words and playing harmonica with Linda providing enthusiastic backing vocals. 

“Hi Hi Hi,” which closes the show, is played in a bizarre piano boogie style completely at odds with the insanity of the studio version.  The only encore is a cover of Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally.”  The tape ends with the venue playing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” over the PA. 

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