Paul McCartney “2010 Jools Rehearsals” (Audiofön Music AF 022)
The Rehearsals; Warming Up / Band On The Run / Jam / Matchbox / Let Me Roll It / Jet / Jet / Jam / 1985 / Band On The Run / Jet synthesiser / 1985 instrumental / Jam / Let Me Roll It / 1985 from the middle part
The TV Show; Introduction by Jools / Jet / 1985 / Let Me Roll It / Band On The Run (77:41)
Promoting the re-issue of the 1973 album, ‘Band On The Run’ in 2010, Paul McCartney took his place on the BBC’s prime music vehicle hosted by Jools Holland – Pop punk pianist turned televisual presenter and budget supermarket mouthpiece – broadcast on a Tuesday evening with a shortened version and as an extended compendium later a Friday night.
Joined on that specific show by a clutch of his younger contemporaries Aloe Black and the Black Keys along with previous collaborator Elvis Costello and the Jazz Singer himself, Neil Diamond. Obviously the band that played on this seminal 70’s album are not around to play any longer, Denny Laine becoming incommunicado with McCartney somewhere along the line, Linda’s unfortunate demise in 1998 proving that a full Wings reunion would be impossible. Macca instead took his long standing touring band with him, the collective of Rusty Anderson, Brian Ray, Abe Laborial .Jr and longstanding friend and keyboardist, Brian ‘Wix’ Wickens – 5 members to deal with the sound of 3.
Audiofon have managed to procure the tapes, not only for the broadcast itself but for an hours worth of of rehearsals too.
listening to the warm ups to a Macca gig should certainly be high on the list a lot of fans would like to do as Macca usually spins through a handful of rarely performed oldies and oddities, things that he wouldn’t usually put out through his tightly scripted shows begging the question, “Why doesn’t he drop a few more surprises in to the set if he knows them?” Despite the rigid playability of his band, he’s not about to do a Jack White or 1990’s Bob Dylan so we get what we have.
The rehearsals here are proceeded by a little warm up as the band test levels – various bits of band humour float around the studio as the band spar with each other making silly references about nothing and anything. The first run-through of ‘Band On The Run’ is as placid as a sloth with a hangover, technically it’s great ‘cos it should be – the band have been playing this for an age anyway, McCartney for much longer – it’s such a staple but as Macca puts in a heavy vocal performance, the rest of the track is slow burning.
This is flowed by a little tempering by the band warming up, playing about, doing a lot of nothing again before the tape cuts and we’re lead through an angry sounding jam, the band showing off for the rest of the attended that day I can only assume. As good as it is, it’s hardly the type of thing that would bother Macca’s songwriting credits and wouldn’t be out of place leading a jam band in a regular bar on any night, it is effectively a loosener for them but the best thing is that it eventually morphs in to an enthusiastic version of ‘Matchbox’ – another track that’s ever popular at sound checks but seems to see less time out on the stage nowadays – obviously a Macca favourite the band use this for a little more shape throwing and showing off – Which musician wouldn’t like to join Macca in the rehearsal studio playing ‘Matchbox’ or ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’. There follows what appears to be a discussion between Paul and Jools over which track might be their opener, Paul mentions that it might be the producers decision this time.
A take on ‘Let Me Roll It’ next. Straightforward, neat and solid, the band will return to it later for another go but it needs no additions, it’s a hit straight through – The only thing that might marr it is the glitch at 1:20 which seems to appear in the recording – it’s certainly on the source that I have.
Now two takes on ‘Jet’ – The first is a storming run through, a lot more enthusiastic than that first take on ‘BOTR’, it’s followed by a little stretch of noodling before Paul counts in for another take. Here, Paul goes top notch action, rolling his ‘R’s’ scat singing and ramping the excitement up to full. To say you’ll have heard the song a thousand times, this take will still be effecting.
Another high paced jam follows and it’s quite close to the jams that were played at the ‘Get Back’ sessions, albeit with a little more technicality and technology to hand. It really storms and is very listenable.
The first take of ‘1985’ comes next and Paul brings out the rawk again, It’s a fully fleshed starter rather than taking it’s time to build and Paul keeps it that way, skipping over words, hollering the lyrics, the brutal force of it all is invigorating. Theres a glitch or a clip at 2:42 again but ’s none too annoying, the ‘BOTR’ jam at the end is also quite fun to hear too.
The band now seem to be quite happy with their sound levels and instruments so go for a re-take of ‘BOTR’ with additional hand claps and synth swashes. A success, all done, so now with the heavy lifting out of the way, where to next?
The first thing that Wix does is work on his synth parts for ‘Jet’, so far, so good. It’s actually a little boring to listen to as the rest of the band seem to have walked off for a coffee and a Veggie burger but make the most of what you can and Audiofon have left this snippet in.
Next up a rough around the edges, bare bones instrumental take on “1985, it really is just spare parts and extras by now but nothing too interesting. Paul and Wix have a joke between themselves before the band fall in to a country styled jam for amusement. Paul drops in a few lines from ‘BOTR’ again before the track ultimately breaks down again.
‘Let Me Roll It’ delivered in a ‘You Know My Name’ kind of style afterwards, Paul seems to be off of vocal duty and it’s Abe, Brian and Rusty that take the helm on this mess about take on the track. The song is fully formed as an instrumental it’s more the case that Macca is now saving his voice and is giving the others a little more fun.
It’s then decided that ‘1985’ needs a little more more work but only from the middle part of the song it seems and so the band play it from there, Macca’s still in the background however, he’s just keeping inconspicuous. The track ends, there is then a little noodling about while there’s a bit of downtime while the band wonder what they’re waking for – someone plays ‘Jingle Bells’ on the guitar, theres a little bored meandering and the rehearsals are done.
Audiofon have topped off the time for the CD with the 4 tracks that were played by the band that evening but the set also includes the pre-show jam that features all of the acts that were playing that evening. It’s Macca’s band that kick off proceedings and with with Paul’s bass notes leading the fray – Paul adds a little in the way of vocalising but it is a generally instrumental jam that ebbs along – if you’ve heard it once on the show, you’ve heard it a few times.
The packaging is a nice if thin oversized paper cover adorned with a few photos from the session, the usual ‘go veggie’ blurb, an ad for the official “Later ..” DVD release. The cover is a nice alternate to the usual HMC gazette but doesn’t always seem to fit itself properly. It takes a little working out!
This release will come as a surprise to many and even though we’ve been treated with a few Macca soundboards from the last year, it’s always nice to hear something a little less of the ordinary. This is certainly one of those times. A great CD for your Macca collection and something rather new.