Paul McCartney – Complete Cold Cuts Collection (Secret Garden SGCD-02/03/04/05)

Complete Cold Cuts Collection (Secret Garden SGCD-02/03/04/05)

Paul McCartney has, over the past forty years, amassed an impressive amount of unreleased material.  Plans on releasing these songs had been discussed since the mid-seventies on an LP supposed to be titled Cold Cuts And Hot Hits.  Between the mid seventies to mid eighties this project was mentioned and assembled three times, only to be shelved again for many and various reasons. 

There have been several unofficial releases over the years.  The most comprehensive, and the one most similar to Secret Garden, is Complete Cold Cuts (Bell Bottom 028/029/030) issued in 1998.  This is a three disc set which arranges the tracks in together instead of sequentially as they were supposed to appear on the LP. 

The earliest it was mentioned was 1974.  Garry McGee writes, in his book about Wings Band On The Run:  “Although he was nowhere near completing an entire album of new songs, Paul had planned to release another Wings album at the end of 1974 entitled Cold Cuts.  The album was to include Wings hits like the recent ‘Junior’s Farm’ and non-album singles like ‘Hi, Hi, Hi’ as well as previously unreleased recordings, including ‘Mama’s Little Girl’ and ‘I Don’t Want To Smile.’  Paul also planned for Cold Cuts to retail for less than the standard rate the companies were charging for albums.  ‘The new album (Venus And Mars) wasn’t ready,’ Paul recalled, ‘so Cold Cuts was to fill in.'”  Because no copy of this exists, only the four tracks mentioned in this reference are known to have been included.

The next mention of the project was several years later after the release of London Town in 1978.  Linda was pregnant with their third child during these sessions and a planned tour was not planned.  Paul wanted to release Cold Cuts, but the record company EMI wanted a greatest hits collection, which would also include their biggest hit “Mull Of Kintyre,” instead of a collection of outtakes and leftovers.

It has been known that now, more than thirty years after its initial conception, there will be an official release in 2010.  Cold Cuts And Hot Hits will be a four disc set which will look radically different.  It will include many outtakes and extremely rare songs such as a version of “C Moon” with John Bonham of Led Zeppelin on the drums.   

Disc 1, 1978 version (69:29):  Mama’s Little Girl, I Would Only Smile, Tragedy, Night Out, Oriental Nightfish, Lunch Box / Odd Sox, My Carnival, Send Me The Heart, Hey Diddle, Wide Prairie, Tomorrow, Proud Mum, Proud Mum Reprise, Same Time Next Year, Did We Meet Somewhere Before?  Bonus tracks:  A Love For You (basic instrumental track), Hey Diddle (basic instrumental backing track), Best Friend (live in Antwerp, Belgium August 22nd, 1972 original soundboard, no overdub)

The original idea of the project at this time was to serve as a compromise between Paul and EMI.  The first side of the LP would have been called Hot Hits featuring Wings’ biggest sellers.  The second side would have been called Kold Kutz featuring B-sides and unreleased songs.  EMI had their way, however, and they released Wings Greatest in November 1978 to massive sales. 

The 1978 recension was the first release on bootleg CD, coming out in 1988 on Cold Cuts (Hot Hits Records sp12).  It lasts about an hour and contains songs from Paul, Linda and Denny Laine making it a true Wings release.  The first song is “Momma’s Little Girl,” taped in March 1972 during the Red Rose Speedway recording sessions and performed by Paul during the “James Paul McCartney” TV show in 1973.  It was finally officially released as the B-side to the “Put It There” single on February 5th, 1990.

“I Would Only Smile” is a Denny Laine composition which was recorded in March 1972 for Red Rose Speedway.  It was featured in the setlist on their European tour that year but never officially released until it appeared on Laine’s 1980 solo album Japanese Tears.  The 1978 recension is the only appearance in the Cold Cutscollection.  “Tragedy” was a hit for The Fleetwoods in 1961.  This cover was recorded in March 1972 during the Red Rose Speedway recording sessions.  It was included in every incarnation of the project and appears in this collection five times, but it is still unreleased.

“Night Out” is one of the songs that undergoes the most drastic changes in this collection.  Like the preceding tracks it was recorded in March 1972 and is a heavy, distorted, metal inspired track which Paul worked on for many years trying different tactics to make it more than just a studio-based experiment.  Disc one has what is referred to as the “Final Mix 1: 1978 Mix.”  The guitars are very rough and the vocals consisting of Paul shouting “night out” repeatedly.

“Oriental Nightfish” was written by Linda McCartney and was recorded October 5, 1973 during the sessions for Band on the Run and makes its sole appearance in this collection.  It’s a trippy narrative that would later be released with a strange animation in 1978 and again later in 1984 with animated shorts for “Seaside Woman” and “Rupert The Bear” and “The Frog Song.” 

This is followed by the instrumental “Lunch Box – Odd Sox.”  It was recorded in Los Angeles in 1975 during the Venus & Mars sessions, but it retains a Band On The Run feel with the emphasis upon the heavy grand piano and bright, sprightly keyboard melody on top.  1978 Cold Cuts is the only edit that includes this track.  It was officially released in 1980 as the B-side to “Coming Up.”

“My Carnival” is a Venus & Mars outtake recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London, in November 1974 and in Sea Saint Studios, New Orleans, January 1975.  Paul edited this song several times before officially releasing it in November 1985 at the B-side of “Spies Like Us.” 

Following is “Send Me The Heart,” a Laine/McCartney song.  It’s the most country sounding song and would be released on Denny Laine’s 1980 album Japanese Tears.  “Hey Diddle” is another country inspired number which underwent several different remixes.  The 1978 mix features the country fiddle carrying the melody. 

“Wide Prairie” is the second Linda song in the collection.  It was recorded by Wings on November 20, 1973 in Paris and in June 1974 in Nashville, Tennessee and the 1978 Cold Cuts contains the complete eleven minute – thirty-two second suite varying in styles from country and western, rock, jazz and prog rock.  It would later be edited down to less than half the length for Wide Prairie, the 1998 posthumous album of her songs.

“Tomorrow” is a three and a half minute instrumental with a catchy melody set to a reggae beat.  “Proud Mum” and “Proud Mum (reprise)” are two more instrumentals.  None of these three were included in future incarnations of the project and have never been released.  While the melodies are catchy and enjoyable, nothing is really gained with them and are easily forgotten. 

Cold Cuts 1978 closed with two film soundtrack tunes.  “Same Time Next Year” was written for the movie of the same name but not used.  “Did We Meet Somewhere Before?” was written for the 1978 film Heaven Can Wait but was rejected by Warren Beatty.  It can be heard in the film Rock And Roll High School but has never been officially released.  It is a beautiful song by McCartney who incorporates the alto saxophone into the melody since the instrument was important for the plot of the film.

Disc one ends with three bonus tracks.  “A Love For You” is one of the oldest songs in this collection since it’s a Ram outtake dating from sessions at A&R studios in New York, October 1970-February 1971.  It wasn’t included in the 1978 version, but is in the 1980 and mid-80’s versions of the project.  This track is the basic backing track with the vocals buried deep in the mix.  It is followed by the instrumental backing track for “Hey Diddle.”  “Best Friend” is a live recording from the August 22nd, 1972 concert in Belgium from a raw soundboard source.  This track would later be overdubbed and used for alter versions.

Disc 2, 1980 version (52:35):  A Love For You, Mama’s Little Girl, Night Out, Hey Diddle, Best Friend, Tragedy, Waterspout, Same Time Next Year, Cage, My Carnival, Did We Meet Somewhere Before?, Robber’s Ball.  Bonus tracks:  Night Out (basic backing track), Lunch Box / Odd Sox (basic track with count-in)

Two years later the project again surfaces.  This time it was called only Cold Cuts and the Denny Laine songs (“I Would Only Smile” and “Send Me The Heart”), Linda McCartney songs (“Oriental Nightfish” and “Wild Prairie”) and the instrumentals (“Tomorrow,” “Proud Mum”) were omitted.  It was worked on in October 1980 during their hiatus from touring but would be shelved in the wake of Lennon’s assassination.  1980 recension is nick-named the “no baloney” edition due to the photograph on the unofficial vinyl release Cold Cuts (Wilbur W-8-PM) and the CD issue Cold Cuts (Pegboy 1002) in 1986. 

“A Love For You,” which isn’t on the 1978 edit, starts off the 1980 and is complete with vocals, backing vocals and guitar overdubs.  This is one of the oldest tunes in the collection, having been written in the summer of 1971 for Ram.  It appears in all the other versions of Cold Cuts but was finally officially released in 2003 on The In-Laws soundtrack.

“Mama’s Little Girl,” identical to the 1978 edit, follows.  “Night Out” is the same basic track as recorded in 1972 but with added vocals.  Instead of McCartney repeating just “night out” there is also a McCartney chant about going out on the town and having a party.  “Hey Diddle” is the same as the other takes except with a heavier emphasis on the percussion, “Best Friend” is the same except with minor overdubs in the lead guitar and “Tragedy” is virtually the same as the 1978 version.

“Waterspout” makes its first appearance in the 1980 collection.  This is a Wings tune written during the London Town sessions in 1978.  The catchy beat, Caribbean rhythm and gorgeous orchestration make it one of McCartney’s best unreleased songs.  This mix has an emphasis upon the rhythm, but he would work on this further later in the decade.  “Same Time Next Year” follows and sounds virtually identical to the 1978 mix.

“Cage” is an outtake from the Back To The Eggsessions in 1979, recorded at Spirit Of Ranachan studios.  It is a strange song in several contrasting styles and tempi which has more in common with his McCartney II experimentation rather than the final Wings LP.  It is followed by versions of “My Carnival” and “Did We Meet Somewhere Before,” both also found on the 1978 collection and sound virtually identical.

“Robber’s Ball” is a McCartney II outtake recorded in the summer of 1979.  And like much from those sessions remain his most experimental, avant garde and plain strange compositions.  It sounds like chorus from an obscure Victorian era East End opera.  This mix contains a short introduction with Linda speaking to someone off-mic saying “fun city, Arizona Reggie.”  This strange tune is the song that closes out the album.  Two bonus tracks are tacked onto the disc.  “Night Out” is the instrumental track and “Lunch Box / Odd Sox” is a basic run-through of the tune.  Both are good to have but not terribly interesting.

Disc 3, mid-80’s version (55:54):  A Love For You, My Carnival, Waterspout, Mama’s Little Girl, Night Out, Robber’s Ball, Cage, Did We Meet Somewhere Before, Hey Diddle, Tragedy, Best Friend, Same Time Next Year.  Bonus tracks:  Waterspout, Cage

McCartney released Press To Play in 1986 and took a prolonged break afterwards.  Снова в СССР was released in the Soviet Union and something was needed to fill the interim.  Cold Cuts was again resurrected for possible release.  However, just like in 1978 the record company prevailed and a greatest hits album All The Best! came out instead.

The mid-80’s Cold Cuts has the same songs as the 1980 version but in a different sequence and with some of the songs reworked.  “A Love For You” starts off the collection and is the same track as before but with more backing vocals, bass and organs in the mix.  “My Carnival” is the same as it appears on the “Spies Like Us” single with more lead vocal and piano overdubs compared its earlier incarnations.

“Waterspout” is similar to the 1980 but with a horn overdubbed halfway in.  It’s buried deep into the mix and gives it a late eighties neon shade, but otherwise isn’t necessary nor intrusive.  “Mama’s Little Girl” is similar to the other mixes except for different clarinets.  The 1987 “Night Out” sounds virtually the same as the 1980 mix.

“Robber’s Ball” is the same mix as 1980 except the introduction is omitted and with different effects on the vocals.  This version sounds more manic and insane than the previous with even a bit of Queen-sounding guitars thrown into the mix.  “Cage,” “Did We Meet Somewhere” and “Hey Diddle” follow and sound virtually identical to the older mixes as is the final song on the album “Same Time Next Year.”

The insipid cover “Tragedy” makes another appearance in this collection.  This edition has a different mix in the vocals and harp overdubs.  “Best Friend,” another song appearing on all the versions, has more reverb on the vocals.  The disc ends with two bonus tracks.  The first is the basic backing track to “Waterspout.”  This take has a longer, “harpsichord” sounding coda which does not appear in any other mix.  “Cage” is a two minute amateur home demo with drum machine, keyboard and guitar.

Disc 4, extra version (54:40):  A Love For You, Hey Diddle, Mama’s Little Girl, Best Friend, Best Friend, Tragedy, Tragedy, Wide Prairie, Night Out, Mardi Gras In New Orleans, Waterspout, Cage, Cage

The fourth disc is dubbed “Extra Version” by Secret Garden, but is really more a collection of outtakes associated with the Cold Cuts project but isn’t another form of the project.  Furthermore the liner notes give misleading information on some of the descriptions of the individual songs. 

“A Love For You,” a song with many different versions, in this version lacks the backing vocals and has a slightly different guitar melody.  “Hey Diddle,” which is said to be the Nashville cut with country music instruments is in fact a stripped down acoustic version with Paul and Linda singing the song.  The country music instruments like the fiddle are missing from this recording.

“Mama’s Little Girl” is accurate, noted as an outtake from the Red Rose Speedway sessions in 1972.  “Best Friend” is the live cut from Antwerp but with acoustic, rhythm and percussion overdubs in the final mix and is followed with an alternate version of the same mix.  

There are two versions of “Tragedy.”  The first is the original outtake recorded in 1972 for Red Rose Speedway.  The second is the same track but with an interesting sitar overdub and as far as I can tell this is the only time Paul uses this instrument in any of his arrangements.  It’s not terribly important or effective, but is good to have for completeness.  These tracks are followed by “Wide Prairie” which the liner notes say is the shortened 1995 Oobu Joobu mix.  In reality it’s the same eleven minute track found on disc one.

“Night Out” is the original raw version from 1972 with McCartney shouting “night out” without the chanting and over dubs.  “Mardi Gras In New Orleans” is a cover of the Professor Longhair tune taken from an amateur recording.  This was the basis for “My Carnival” found many times in this collection, but was never considered for official release.  It is remarkable to hear just how close McCartney’s tune is to Longhair’s. 

“Waterspout” is a monitor mix recording with extra percussion.  And the final two songs in the collection are two demos for “Cage.”  The first is a very rough home demo which has guitar breaks which were omitted from the final version, and the second is a rough recording with the entire band in very good quality. 

Complete Cold Cuts Collection is produced by Special Garden, one of the family of labels from the one responsible for Misterclaudel.  It is packaged in a fatboy jewel case with an inserst with track listing and notes for each track.  Although McCartney finally will release a four disc Cold Cuts late in 2010, this release is still worth having for the unreleased songs in different states of arrangements and development.   

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  1. awesome review! despite it’s depth then this boot has a place in everyones collection although i’d maybe recommend one of the single release versions first ( are you listening Godfather? ) but if you’re hooked then Secret Garden can provide a fantastic bookend.


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