Paul McCartney – Comfort Of Love (Mighty Fishy MF01-108)

Comfort Of Love (Mighty Fishy MF01-108)

(80:37):  Maybe Baby, That’s Alright Mama, I’m Partial To Your Abracadabra, Vanilla Sky, A Love For You, Live And Let Die, A Friend Like You, Whole Life, Comfort Of Love, Growing Up Falling Down, I Want You To Fly, This Loving Game, Heal The Pain, The Very Thought Of You, Bring It On Home To Me, I Want To Walk You Home, My Soul, I’m In Love Again, (I Want To) Come Home, Walk With You, Best Love, It’s So Easy

Comfort Of Love is a one disc collection of Paul McCartney rarities from the last decade, 2001 through to 2011.  All of the tracks come from professional sources and are in excellent sound quality.  Like other Mighty Fishy releases, it fills a substantial niche in the artist’s catalogue by being a collection they ought to assemble and release but haven’t.

Many of the tracks are found on hard-to-find soundtracks.  His interest in soundtracks isn’t a surprise since he’s contributed to film dating back to the days of the Beatles (one of his biggest solo hits was written for a James Bond film).  But a majority of the tracks are found on tributes and other artists albums, a particular phenomena of this point of his career. 

The opening track is the Buddy Holly tune “Maybe Baby.”  Probably an outtake from the Run Devil Run sessions in 1999, he recorded the tune with Jeff Lynne and it was featured in the British comedy film Maybe Baby, released in 2000 and played over the opening credits.  The film is horrible but the tune is interesting. 

It’s followed by a cover of the Arthur Crudup tune “That’s Alright” for the tribute album Good Rockin’ Tonight: The Legacy of Sun Records released in October 2001.  McCartney is joined by guitarist Scottie Moore, who recorded the tune with Elvis on July 5th, 1955, and DJ Fontana, Elvis’ original drummer.  (Fontana didn’t play on the original session.  It was recorded without a drummer and Fontana didn’t join the group until October, 1954).  McCartney gives a good interpretation of the song and even includes a verse omitted from the original Elvis recording.

“I’m Partial  To Your Abracadabra” is a cover of the Ian Dury tune from his 1977 solo album New Boots and Panties!!  This recording is found on the Dury tribute album Brand New Boots And Panties released in April, 2001.  McCartney had always been a big supporter of Dury And The Blockheads, even giving them a prime spot in the final night of the Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea in 1979 and wanted to contribute to the tribute after Dury’s untimely death in May, 2000. 

“Vanilla Sky” is an original composition for the 2001 Cameron Crowe film Vanilla Sky.  The song stands as one of his very best, most intriguing and mysterious of the decade and was worthy of the Academy Award (and worthy to not be included in the dreadful film).

The next two tracks are also from a film soundtrack, this time from The In-Laws, the 2003 remake with Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks.  Like Vanilla Sky it is an awful film with an awesome soundtrack (but is at least fun to watch).  But unlike the other film, McCartney consented for older tunes to be used instead of an original film.  “A Love For You,” played over the closing credits, is a Ram era outtake included in two recensions of the still unreleased Cold Cuts project. 

“Live And Let Die” is an alternate take of the 1974 single.  It is similar to the original version but with less pyrotechnics. 

“A Friend Like You” is taken from the 2004 Brian Wilson album Gettin’ in Over My Head.  This is Wilson’s third solo release and also includes special performances with Eric Clapton on “City Blues” and Elton John on “How Can We Still Be Dancing.”  “A Friend Like You” was written by Wilson for McCartney and featuring guest vocals by Sir Paul himself!  It is ultimately a meandering mess of a song and easily forgettable. 

It is followed by “Whole Life” from the short One Year On 46664 tribute album for Nelson Mandela released in 2005.  McCartney wrote the song with David A. Stewart of the Eurythmics.  It is a good rock song with McCartney on lead vocals and is currently out of print. 

The next four songs are outtakes from McCartney’s thirteenth solo album Chaos And Creation In The Backyard, issued in 2005.  The first two were included on the “Fine Line” single CD released on August 29th, 2005.  “Comfort Of Love” is an up-tempo piano based number sounding similar to “Another Day” from his first solo album. 

“Growing Up Falling Down” is slower and more somber in theme.  McCartney plays Arabic-sounding scales in the song’s beginning, and the entire tune has a surreal feel to it.  The next two songs were included on the “Jenny Wren” CD, released on November 21st, 2005.  “I Want You To Fly” and “This Loving Game” are both mid-tempo piano based numbers.

“Heal The Pain” is a rearrangement of the George Michael tune included on the 2006 greatest hits release Twenty Five.  Michael wrote and recorded the song in 1990 for Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, his second solo album.  It was intentionally written in a style similar to The Beatles, so McCartney’s participation in the re-recording is appropriate and adds much to the tune.

“The Very Thought Of You” is taken from the 2006 Tony Bennett album Duets: An American Classic.  Bennett sings jazz standards as duets with a whole host of singers (Stevie Wonder, k d lang and Bono among many others).  He sings the Ray Noble standard with McCartney straight without any rock elaboration in the arrangement.

A cover of the Sam Cooke standard “Bring It On Home To Me” follows.  It’s found as the closing track on the George Benson and Al Jarreau 2006 release Givin’ It Up (For Love).  McCartney also recorded this tune in 1988 for the Soviet-only LP Снова в СССР.  This recording is much better, featuring Benson and Jarreau singing along and an up-tempo coda not present on his earlier recording. 

“I Want To Walk You Home” is a cover of the Fats Domino tune from Goin’ Home:  A Tribute To Fats Domino, released in 2007.  Although many of the covers on the tribute were re-workings of Domino’s tunes, McCartney, along with Allen Toussaint on piano, offer a rather faithful interpretation.     

“My Soul” is a song taken from Nitin Sawhney’s 2008 release London Undersound.   It is a tremendous overall work even though this tune is the most pop sounding of the bunch.   It’s followed by the Fats Domino cover “I’m In Love Again” from the 2009 work A Sideman’s Journey, an eleven song collection of songs played by Klaus Voorman and friends. 

“(I Want To) Come Home” was written by McCartney for the 2009 film Everybody’s Fine starring Robert DeNiro.  It wasn’t included on the soundtrack, but was sold through iTunes.  Of all the soundtrack tunes, this is the best.  The melody is catchy yet haunting and makes a profound impression.  It was nominated for an award but didn’t win (but should have).  It is the highlight of this particular collection.

“Walk With You” is a Ringo Starr original from his 2010 release Y Not.  Starr takes lead vocals, but McCartney sings a few lines and backing vocals.  Like much of Starr’s solo career it is good and non-offensive, but not particularly important.

It’s followed by the most unusual track of the entire disc.  “Best Love” is a song written by comedian Steve Martin for the 2011 bluegrass disc Rare Bird Alert.  McCartney’s vocals are most tender, Martin’s banjo picking is very melodic and the string arrangement is really beautiful.  The album was nominated for a Grammy award. 

Comfort Of Love closes with McCartney’s cover of Buddy Holly’s “It’s So Easy” from last summer’s Buddy Holly tribute album Rave On.  Two versions are included on the actual album, but Mighty Fishy include only the first one, lasting four minutes with two interludes in the song where McCartney is spasmodically shouting.

Because all of these were officially released (and only the Nelson Mandela tribute is out of print), this is technically a pirate release.  But it is a phenomenal compilation and an excellent way to have all of these McCartney tracks without having to hunt down all of these releases.      

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