Summertime 1980 (Audiofön AF-13)
(55:42) Ballroom Dancing, Old Man Loving, Reggae Riff, Adieu, Crackin’ Up, Nature Calling, Don’t Go Foolin’, Happy Go Lucky, untitled jam, Taking On A Woman, Room Service, Summertime, Johnny B. Goode, Shake Rattle And Roll, Ballad Of Shortie. Bonus tracks: Daytime Nightime Suffering, Goodnight Tonight
Summertime 1980is a strange release by Audiofön. It seems to present one of the final Wings rehearsals complete. However, the material on most of this disc has been released before and come from two different sources. “Ballroom Dancing” to “Taking On A Woman” are from the July 4th, 1980 rehearsal that can be found on Ballroom Dancing (CD Yellow Dog Yellow Dog/Orange). “Room Service” to “Ballad Of Shortie” date from sessions on October 30th, 1980 and have been released before on When it Rains, It Pours (Vigotone -161-162). The session here are really two separate sessions with neither one complete. Nevertheless the tape is an improvement over the older releases with less obvious hiss.
1980 turned out to be quite the eventful year for Paul McCartney. It began with such optimism after a successful tour of England topped off with the Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea the previous December. Wings began the year rehearsing for their first tour of Japan scheduled to begin on January 21st in Budokan Hall in Tokyo and go for eleven dates. They were supposed to play Japan in 1975 but their visas were denied and the tour was cancelled.
The group departed from Heathrow on the 12th, and after a brief stay in New York, they landed at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport on the 16th. When customs officials came across 219 grams of marijuana tucked away in Paul’s luggage he was promptly jailed for eleven day before being deported.
The tapes themselves are interesting for documenting McCartney’s last ditch effort to hold Wings together as a group after the Tokyo drug bust and the cancellation of the Japanese tour in 1980. The July sessions were recorded at Finston Manor near Tottenham. McCartney’s first musical direction was to finish off the McCartney II project began the previous summer. With that out of the way and while revisiting the Cold Cuts project and working on the “Coming Up” video, Wings commenced rehearsals for a new project. In general they are rather unfocused. Several news songs are worked on but most of the time is spent on aimless jamming and playing cover tunes. Granted many rehearsals are like this before the true works begins, but that this is what appears on the tape is revealing of the state of the band at this point and Wings’ dissolution soon after is most obvious.
At this point the band was still composed of Denny Laine, Laurence Juber and Steve Holly. Linda’s contribution heard on these tapes is limited to providing harmonies. The tape begins with the earliest rehearsal for “Ballroom Dancing” which would be released on Tug Of War two years later. “Old Man Lovin'” is an unreleased tune with Denny Laine on vocals. “Reggae Riff” is also known as “Ranachan Rock,” and “Adieu” are two riff heavy exercises. “Crackin’ Up” is a cover of the Bo Diddley tune.
“Nature’s Calling” (aka “Nature Is Calling Me”) is a McCartney original clocking in at over three minutes. It’s a song about having to go pee. It is purely a studio creation which proves that McCartney could write a catchy melody about anything but thankfully this song was never released. “Happy Go Lucky” is a bass driven disco instrumental and is foll by “Untitled jam,” another reggae instrumental lead by the organ. “Takin’ On A Woman” is another song sung by Denny Laine and sounds quite nice. The balance of the sessions is occupied with the October session with rock and roll covers. There are many more interesting songs from that session (and found on When It Rains), but Audiofön chose the covers.
The bonus tracks have nothing to do really with the main tape. “Goodnight Tonight” and “Daytime Nightime Suffering” were recorded during the Back To The Egg sessions in early 1979 and were released as a single on March 29th. “Daytime Nightime Suffering” is a alternate mix of the track including the baby cry at two minutes in. The final song “Goodnight Tonight” is the long version of the song which is included as a bonus track for Back To The Egg on iTunes. Overall Summertime 1980 is a mixed bag. It could have been improved if it were more comprehensive in documenting the final days of Wings. But having what is here in improed sound quality, and the last bonus track on CD, makes it just about worth seeking for.