Paul McCartney & Wings – Wings at The Speed Of Sound: Trevor Jones Collection Vol. 1 (Audiofon AF 017)

Wings at The Speed Of Sound:  Trevor Jones Collection Vol. 1 (Audiofon AF 017)

1. Let ‘Em In [ Take 1 ] / 2. The Note You Never Wrote [ No Strings ] / 3. She’s my Baby [ Take 1 ] / 4. Beware My Love / 5. Wino Junko / 6. Silly Love Songs [ No Strings Or Horns ] / 7. Time To Hide / 8. Must Do Something About It [ Paul Vocal ] / 9. Beware my Love [ Complete Instrumental from Acetate ] / 10. She’s My Baby [ Version 2 ] / 11. Let ‘Em In [ Live ] / 12. Time To Hide [ Live ] / 13. Silly Love Songs [ Live ] / 14. Beware my Love [ Live ] / 15. Must Do Something About It [ Same As Track 8, Different EQ ] / 16. Beware My Love ( Same As Track 4, Different EQ ]     

in Mid – April 2010 new MP3s surfaced on the internet from tapes that Trevor Jones – Paul McCartney’s one time roadie – had put to auction at Christies in 1998 entitled “She’s My Baby, 1976”. Other speculations were that these were working tapes for the McCartney remasters on Hearmusic or the long awaited rarities boxset that had been bubbling under ever since Paul had mentioned “Cold Cuts” his oft spurned  oddities & rarities LP. Most of the tracks were centered around the “Wings At The Speed Of Sound” album with a few live oddities & extra studio tracks from the early 1980’s complete with a few outtfakes that often besiege such projects. 

It was obvious that once released to the online community that these tracks would be pressed up by sliver disk labels indeed rumours were floating in from the Far East only 4 hours after the leek that someone was preparing such a project & already had a title!

Not too long after the initial pressings Audiofon had their release on the streets. This collection, as the title suggests, rounds up the best of the Trevor Jones tapes from the ” .. Speed Of Sound” album presenting a few new band demos, early takes & live tracks from the erroneously titles “Wings Over America” tour that had only been released before as audience recordings. 

The fidelity, dubs of cassette tapes that had been closeted away without the utmost care from the person that was holding on to them, can sometimes be a little trying. Hiss & air plagues this set but as this the way the tapes were presented over the internet then there’s no other way of obtaining these tapes without at the moment with out resorting to seeking downloads that have been polished up & compiling your own CDR .. that is indeed if these tapes are still available when you get there .. 

1. Let ‘Em In [ Take 1 ] – A rough rehearsal that begins with Paul playing the piano part, a few stray bass notes until they finally get it together enough to break in to the rendition complete. As to be expected with a “Take 1” then it’s little more than a silly rehearsal through the track rather than a serious shot at it. Paul fumbles with his words, the band shout instructions to each other. There is a gamely try out at a weedy horn section but it’s nothing earth shattering, although the track does last a lot longer than it’s commercial brother. The fidelity as the track starts is awful but it does get better as they get further in. There are also a few other glitches along the rest of the tape.  

2. The Note You Never Wrote [ No Strings ] – Much better sounds than track 1 – a lot bassier & guitar led than it’s CV. A damn sight moodier. 

3. She’s my Baby [ Take 1 ] – Slowly gets louder from the start ( which is clipped ) although this sounds like it could be due to the age of the tape rather than a manufactured or thought out ‘accident’.  

4. Beware My Love – Fades in from the beginning pretty much the same as the B-side version of the “Let ‘Em In” single. 

5. Wino Junko – Replete with count in from Jimmy Mc this track is quite similar to the CV missing some of the spooky echo on the chorus & a lot of the all round polish. 

6. Silly Love Songs [ No Strings Or Horns ] – Something different in that the track does what it says. It’s just specifically no horns or strings. period. Nice to hear with out the schmaltz for a change. Only longer than the CV for the lead out silence.  

7. Time To Hide – An instrumental version of the Denny Laine track. 

8. Must Do Something About It [ Paul Vocal ] – The backing track laid down then this was the original way this track was recorded but it was decided to give it to Joe English instead. Certainly not one of Macca’s strongest lyrics & he’s not even trying very hard on the vocal either ( not the song commands it otherwise .. ) but it’s nice to hear it being given a twist by a familiar voice. 

9. Beware my Love [ Complete Instrumental from Acetate ] – From Acetate & then to tape then this backing track was always going to suffer. Unfortunately very bright on the high end when the synth is being played. A curiosity in it’s own right though.   

10. She’s My Baby [ Version 2 ] – Without most of the guitar flourishes added on later. It’s a cleaner track altogether. Obviously unmixed with the following track goes on for a few seconds longer this time. 

11. Let ‘Em In [ Live ] – This & the following 3 tracks are superb soundboard quality tracks from Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada from the 9th of May, 1976 from which we’ve only had audience quality recordings before. There is a little more audience participation than your regular audience recording. These are feisty, resilient performances from, by now, a rockin’ little band who have obviously earned their touring chops. “Let ‘Em In” is introduced with the legend “We’d like to do some tunes now from our latest LP, ‘Speed Of Sound'” It would become the big single off of the album & rightly so as it’s a great clap – along, stomper that only someone like McCartney could write.  

12. Time To Hide [ Live ] – Denny sings a line from an unidentified track before launching in to this deep rocker. It handles itself very well live & Denny is in fantastic voice. The track suffers from digital noise & tape chew from 2:06 – 2:32. 

13. Silly Love Songs [ Live ] – Starts with thanks to the crowd from Linda, a spoken introduction from Denny (?) & a crashed piano chord. It’s faithful to it’s recorded brother but with a little more pronouncement on the drums. 

14. Beware my Love [ Live ] – Another lively rendition of this track with Paul’s excitable vocal  

15. Must Do Something About It [ Same As Track 8, Different EQ ] – Not much difference but sounds a little duller & the stereo effect is reined in making it sound a little closer with some of the high end nipped off.

16. Beware My Love ( Same As Track 4, Different EQ ] – The vocals seem to mixed a little lower on this version or are a little softer. Again, not a great deal of difference just uses the same kind of EQ used on the previous track. 

So, what can i say about this CD? On a personal note I’ve never been a big fan of “Speed Of Sound” but knowing others may love it I’ve been as subjective as possible. Of course pretty much everything off of this CD will be new to your collection & in better quality than you’ve had it before. Sure, it’s no “Unsurpassed Masters” or “Cold Cuts” but is, quite simply, core to your McCartney / Wings collection as I doubt a few of these wil ever appear on an official release.

The artwork is a disappointment though – Audiofon had done really well with their “Helter Skelter & 18 Other Songs Release but here chose to superimpose a “Speed Of Sound” style grid over an out of focus photo of Wings but the grid on a yellow background rear is fairly easy to read if not that attractive. The liner notes utilise an oft used photo of 1980’s Paul with Trevor Jones & a brief history of the “Speed Of Sound” album once again written by Viktor Paedia.    

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