Paul McCartney “Gets Back To The BEEB” ( The Godfatherecords G.R. 954)
Eight Days A Week / Save Us / Jet / My Valentine / 1985 / Another Day / Everybody Out There / Things We Said Today / New / Queenie Eye / Lady Madonna / Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite / Band On The Run / Back In The USSR / Hey Jude / Interview / New* / Get Back* (76:15)
BBC Radio 2 in concert, Maida Vale Studios, London, UK, October 16, 2013 except (*) Later Live With Jools Holland, The Maidstone Studios, Kent, England, UK. October 22nd 2013.
Forward the flush of promotion for Paul McCartney’s sixteenth studio album, inconceivable as it might seem for a mast head who has been around for such a long time, 16 albums in, Paul had drawn more out of his career than most. His last studio album, as the liner notes here attest to, was a slow burner. A trick that most other singers of his generation and a few younger had performed, “Kisses On The Bottom”, seemed to announce the end of a pop career and have Macca hold up his hands and relinquish his hits making potential to the young.
However his “NEW” album, released in September 2013, turned out to be Macca re-duxe, a big hitter and announcing he was back to his poptastic ways. The first single, the self titled track from the album enlisted the production of uber-producer Mark Ronson and old surfing stalwarts the Beach Boys for a great big slice of ‘Penny Lane’ styled pop / rock.
Brows were mopped, sighs sighed. Paul was making up-tempo near-classic songs again and with the time spent with his new love, had found his spark again. Now it was time for putting out the word.
The Godfather records have released one of the more popular choices of bootlegged shows in Paul’s afternoon show at Maida Vale Studios in London recorded for BBC Radio 2 and BBC TV on their ‘red button’ interactive service (The morning show was broadcast live on the Lauren Laverne show for BBC 6 Music). Also released on silver disk by HMC, Piccadilly Circus and the No label group, on DVD by DAP and on DVDR by the no label group. A great succession of releases, then.
The Don’s release is, as is to be expected, a fantastic sounding document from the label, as it should be coming straight from broadcast material. Each instrument is very well balanced and catered for, voices are clear. A few fans have havered on the fact that Macca’s voice shows wear and while it’s much more present on this quality of recording it’s only when Paul sings the slower songs that it’s really recognisable. However, as these tracks are usually selected from his back catalogue, it’s an unfair comparison sometimes. It might aleo be the fact as we’re in an intimate setting and relentlessly promoting Paul won’t shut up. It might give him a little respite if he didn’t natter, chatter and gossip between songs but then it’s what he has to do.
The slightly slower paced “Eight Days A Week” shows up Paulie’s vocals firstly but then “Save Us”, one of the newies, sounds great, maybe because we’ve never heard it any other way.
However, “Jet”, is fantastic and so opens up Paul’s expressions vividly. He shows he can still peel out the big rockers without much effort. The romance heavy “My Valentine”, the only misstep of the set is better than I remember but performed by his heavy handed band isn’t given enough space to be gentle and so fails to be completely at ease with itself.
“Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five” however is rocky is the best way, classically Wingsian, allowing Paul to bust out again like he did with “Jet”. “Another Day” is cute but I would have liked to have heard Paul break out “Oh Woman, Oh Why” for his tours instead. However, it’s fine for what it is.
Another newie from the latest album, “Everybody Out There”, and it’s one of the b-side potboilers. It certainly wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the ‘Flaming Pie’ era B-Sides but it’s no hidden classic.
After “Things We Said Today” we’re treated to more “New” tracks – the self titled single and second ’single’, “Queenie Eye” – based around a play school chant is as infectious as a cold in the Northern hemispheres January but ruined by an attack of the overbaked – a little too much bass and extraneous guitar mess things up a little.
Back on track with an ever giddy “Lady Madonna”, there really isn’t much that could go wrong here and it doesn’t, thankfully. A recentish addition to his set list is a nice thought. Something sticks as Paul obviously hasn’t got John’s 26 year old voice but for curiosities sake, one doesn’t begrudge Macca for at least trying.
The end tail of his set mirrors the last part of his regular concert set list with “Band On The Run”, “Back In The USSR” (Featuring a spike in the volume at around 2:20) and “Hey Jude” staking their claims as show stoppers for the ages. “Hey Jude” also retaining it’s -radio-friendly-7-minute running time.
After the show we’re treated to a short interview between Sir Paul and magnolia boring DJ Jo Whiley. No “I’m bigger than the Beatles now” style questions or answers but a nice, cordial chat.
Bonus tracks come in the way of Paul’s appearance on Jools Holland’s “Later With ..” TV show. Another pass at “New” and an additional take on “Get Back” with Jools hamming up his part on piano as he does.
This compilation is for the casual fan or someone who is happy not paying Misterclaudel prices for an exhaustive 4 CD set or doesn’t even want to span as far as HMC’s 2 disk set. As a nice aside to sit alongside your “New” album, it’s a great, affordable choice if not as complete in choice as other packages.