The Lost McCartney Album (Strange Apple SAR 010)
Disc 1 (40:23): Front Parlour, Frozen Jap, All You Horseriders, Blue Sway, Temporary Secretary, On The Way, Mr. H. Atom, Summer’s Day Song, You Know I’ll Get You Baby, Bogey Wobble
Disc 2 (42:06): Darkroom, One Of These Days, Secret Friend, Bogey Music, Check My Machine, Waterfalls (video mix), Nobody Knows, Coming Up
After Paul McCartney finished the sessions for the final Wings album Back To The Egg in April 1979 he retired to his farm in Scotland. That July he wrote and demoed about twenty new songs, recording the music directly into his Studer 16 track tape machine, laying down bass, drums, guitar and adding the vocals on later.
Although this material may have been used on future Wings releases, many of the songs were polished and released on his third solo album McCartney II, released in May 1980. In the eighties a two LP surfaced titled The Lost McCartney Album (Club Sandwich GTX-222) which claimed to be the original concept for the album before it was paired down to a single disc.
Given the sparse arrangements and raw quality of the music, any suggestions this was meant for official release are patently absurd and are to be dismissed. What this does offer though is an interesting glimpse into McCartney stretching his musical vocabulary by experimenting with the synthesizer driven new wave music popular in the late seventies and early eighties. The master tapes have never surfaced after the LP release so all compact disc releases utilize the original LP.
Previous CD releases include the incomplete The Lost McCartney Album (Not Guilty KSK – 7120) on one disc and on The Original McCartney II Double Album (Ram Records RAM 004). The complete tape can be found on The Lost McCartney II Album (Birthday Records BR 041) and on The Lost McCartney Album (VOXX 0007-01/02). This new release on Strange Apple is an exact duplicate of the VOXX release, including the lengthy liner notes and vinyl noise on the transfer so nothing is accomplished except making it available to those who missed out on the VOXX.
Two instrumental tracks begin the album, “Front Parlour” and “Frozen Jap.” Both would be issued on McCartney II, but in this form they are both longer and mixed differently than the commercial versions. The following two, “All You Horseriders” and “Blue Sway” remain unreleased to this day on any McCartney album.
The liner notes call “All You Horseriders” “perhaps McCartney’s very worst song, the absolute nadir of his available recording legacy.” It has a nice bouncy beat with McCartney shouting instructions over, but is a silly song that ultimately goes nowhere. It is featured in the MPL documentary “Blankit’s First Show” about Linda’s horses first shown on BBC2 on July 12th, 1986. And “Blue Sway” is an innocuous funk/new wave tune with faint vocals heard deep in the mix in the song’s latter half.
“Temporary Secretary” was featured on McCartney II and was a hit when released as a single but this demo is taken at a slightly quicker tempo. “On The Way” was also featured on the finished album but this demo runs slightly faster.
“Mr H. Atom” is an unreleased song with Linda repeating the phrase: “Mr. H Atom / lives in a flat on / the male side of town” with Paul reciting the commentary that men and women are different due to one hydrogen atom. The music sounds like a Back To The Egg outtake but the lyrics are pointless and silly. Still, it is good to hear this lost song.
“Summer Day’s Song” is the same as released on McCartney II but is instrumental only. The first disc ends with two more unreleased tunes, “You Know I’ll Get You Baby” and “Bogey Wobble.” The former is a synth heavy song with Paul and Linda repeating the title repeatedly. The latter “Bogey Wobble” is probably meant as a companion piece to “Bogey Music.” It is a heavily layered synthesizer track featuring all the latest special effects available at the time.
The second disc contains music that were all officially released in one for or another. It opens with a longer and alternate mix of “Darkroom” and a slightly longer version of the acoustic ballad “One Of These Days,” both of which appear on McCartney II. “Secret Friend” is the longest song Paul ever recorded and was officially released at the B-side of the “Temporary Secretary” single in England. “Bogey Music” is slightly shorter than the commercial mix.
“Check My Machine” was the first song recorded that summer and was left off of the album only to appear on the B-side of the “Waterfalls” single in a much shortened and remixed form. The “Hi George,” “Morning Terry” introduction is missing and replaced by a sample from The Flintstones. “Waterfalls” is identical to the released single except is slowed down a bit.
Nobody Knows” is basically unchanged from the commercial version and the session’s big hit “Coming Up” runs longer and has a slightly different mix. Overall this is a fascinating tape to hear McCartney experimenting in the privacy of his home studio and reveals his interpretation of the synth rock of the day that he would incorporate into his writing. Although Strange Apple is no advance over the Voxx release, it is a commendable effort for those who haven’t heard this material before.