Venus And Mars Sessions (Misterclaudel mccd-53/54)
Disc 1: Venus And Mars rough mixes – February, 1975: Venus And Mars, Rock Show, Love In Song, Letting Go, Medicine Jar, Venus And Mars (reprise), Listen To What The Man Said, Treat Her Gently / Lonely Old People, Crossroads Theme. Venus And Mars rough assembly – March, 1975: Venus And Mars, Rock Show, Love In Song, You Gave Me The Answer, Magneto And Titanium Man, Letting Go, Medicine Jar, Venus And Mars (Reprise), Spirits Of Ancient Egypt, Call Me Back Again, Listen To What The Man Said, Treat Her Gently / Lonely Old People, Crossroads Theme, Lunch Box / Odd Sox
Disc 2: Outtakes from Venus And Mars sessions: Venus And Mars (promotional version mono), Rock Show (alternate take), Love In Song (alternate take), You Gave Me The Answer (instrumental), Letting Go (promotional version mono), Medicine Jar (alternate take), Listen To What The Man Said (promotional version mono), Lunch Box / Odd Sox (basic tracks), Lunch Box / Odd Sox (rough mix), Mardi Gras In New Orleans (unreleased studio rendition), My Carnival (rough mix #1), My Carnival (rough mix #2), My Carnival (rough mix #3), My Carnival (alternate party mix), New Orleans (“Oobu Joobu” version). News Scene Eight – February 12th, 1975: piano instrumental, My Carnival. EMI sessions – 1975: Reverse (unreleased instrumental), Rudolph The Red Nosed Reggae. “Home recordings” – 1975: Ou Est Le Soleil (studio demo)
Misterclaudel have been issuing very nice sets of Beatles and solo-Beatles studio sessions material. Venus And Mars Sessions follows on the excellent Tug Of War And Pipes Of Peace release and collects all of the relevant documents in the most complete and best sounding title ever issued of Wings middle period. There are two sets of session material at various degrees of completeness. A high generation tape of the rough mixes, which is placed first in this collection, first surfaced in late 1989 and was released on vinyl by Starlight.
Venus And Mars Outtakes Are Alright Tonight Vols. 1 and 2 (NP1906-1/2) on No Pig International followed on compact disc soon after. Venus And Mars Unknown Mixes Master Of Orange (00003) surfaced in 1996 which is an improvement over the No Pig International. The “rough assembly”, which follows the demos on disc one, was released on Perth ’75 (MAMUNIA001) in 1996 and Venus And Mars – Paul’s Rough Sketch on Master of Orange (MOO-10008) in early 1997. Yellow Cat combined both on Venus And Mars Sessions (YC070) in October 2001 with much improved sound quality.
Venus And Mars Basic Trax (CD 49-016) and Venus And Mars Sessions (HEN 010) are two other releases that feature this material. The sound quality on Misterclaudel is as good as Yellow Cat and is an improvement by including the second disc full of newly found alternate takes, demos and hard-to-find versions of songs that came out of the New Orleans sessions. In The Solo Beatles Compendium: Eight Arms To Hold You, Chip Madinger and Mark Easter write: “Finally, on January 16th, after some problems with getting Denny Laine into the USA because of visa problems, Wings hit New Orleans for a series of recordings that would continue through February 24th. Alan O’Duffy was to be the engineer on these New Orleans tracks, with Paul producing.
During their trip, they enjoyed the native pleasures of traditions such as Mardi Gras, and even jammed one night at Sea Saint with legendary New Orleans musicians. dr. John, Professor Longhair, studio owner Toussaint and Traffic’s Dave Mason, but the varied musical flavors of the city did not rub off many of the songs included on the final LP.
“On February 13th, there was a press conference held on a steamboat traversing the Mississippi. Paul hired the famed Young Tuxedo Brass band to play on the quay prior to the press conference, after which a party on the riverboat was held. The unreleased (at the time) track ‘My Carnival’ was recorded the morning of the press conference. Also recorded during the Venus And Mars sessions was the unissued ‘Crawl Of The Wild’, which was recorded with Dave Mason. Presumably during the ‘Listen To What The Man Said’ sessions during which he added guitar.”
Early on in the New Orleans sessions drummer Geoff Britton was fired (or quit depending upon who you ask) and Joe English was hired. There is no evidence that Britton plays on any of the recordings in this set and remains the most obscure of all the drummers who played with Wings throughout the seventies. All of the tracks are in excellent quality and are self explanatory on the track list. Misterclaudel also include material that was released many years after the sessions like “Lunch Box/ Odd Sox”, released in 1980 and “My Carnival” released in 1985 as a b-side to “Spies Like Us”. This label has released many great titles and this one is worth having.